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I've got several windows 7 machines now, and an xbox 360. I've noticed that sometimes the "play to" option is available, and sometimes it's not. If I open up media player on one machine, and I've got the streaming options set with the proper permissions for that machine to allow from the other, it seems to show up and work (but only sometimes)

The 360 shows up in the permissions list, but I'm unable to stream to it (play to). Do I need to have the 360 running in media center extender mode?

Does windows media player have to be open already on the machine that I'm trying to "play to"? Can it work with a guest account (client or server)? Does the account need to be logged in, on the client?

Any other reasons a machine might not show up in the play to list (like if you're already playing something maybe?)

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The PlayTo menu will not be available if there are no Digital Media Renderer devices available to your network. The menu becomes available to you sometimes becuase you had probably turned on a Windows Media Player somewhere in your network and this one was configured to act as a DMR. WMP on the other side does not act a service. It is just a player so you have to instatiate the application before being able to control it over the wire. XBOX360 it is not a standlone DMR. It becomes a DMR only when it is in the media extender mode. Otherwise it is just a player that it can pull content from a Windows server (this is why you can see it in the permisions list). However, outside of the extender mode it does not exposes the UPnP services required to be controlled over the wire.

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The 360 shows up in the permissions list, but I'm unable to stream to it (play to). Do I need to have the 360 running in media center extender mode?

360 must be in media extender mode.

Does windows media player have to be open already on the machine that I'm trying to "play to"? Can it work with a guest account (client or server)? Does the account need to be logged in, on the client?

Windows Media Player must already be running on the target machine. I’m pretty sure it runs on the guest account.

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