Entries Filed Under "Xbox 360"

June 11, 2011

Comparing the Big Three

Filed under Gadgets, Software, Web, Xbox 360

Apple, Google and Microsoft are the the only companies that have the products and services to go head-to-head. There are many components to consider for this next-gen battle. I threw together a table to see how they match up. There is no clear winner: this is going to be fun to watch over the next few years.





Smart Phone OS


Android 2.X

Windows Phone

Smart Phone OS Market Share




Number of Apps for Smart Phone




Tablet OS


Android 3.X

Windows 8

Tablet OS Market Share




Number of Apps for Tablet




Phone/Tablet Programming Language



C#/Visual Basic/any .NET Language

Phone/Tablet Programming Language Owner




Phone/Tablet Programming Language is "write once, run anywhere"




Desktop/Laptop OS


Chrome OS


Desktop/Laptop OS's market share




Number of Apps for Desktop/Laptop





Apple TV

Google TV

Xbox 360

TV OS's sold

2 million

? (sales are lower than expected)

55 million

Number of Apps for TV




Web Browser



Internet Explorer

Web Browser Market Share

(from Wikipedia)




Search Engine




Search Engine market share




Instant Messaging


Google Talk

Windows Live Messenger/Skype

Instant Messaging market share




Web Mail (includes calendar and contacts)




Web Mail Market Share




Desktop Word Processor

Pages for Mac



Desktop Word Processor Market Share (not based on  data)




Desktop Spreadsheet

Numbers for Mac



Desktop Spreadsheet Market Share (not based on data)




Desktop Presentations

Keynote for Mac



Desktop Presentations Market Share (not based on data)




Web Word Processor


Google docs

Word Web App

Web Spreadsheet


Google docs

Excel Web App

Web Presentations


Google docs

PowerPoint Web App

Mobile Word Processor

Pages for iOS

Google docs for Android

Word Mobile

Mobile Spreadsheet

Numbers for iOS

Google docs for Android

Excel Mobile

Mobile Presentations

Keynote for iOS

Google docs for Android

PowerPoint Mobile

Music/Video Store




Music/Video Store Market Share (not based on data)




Music Subscription



Zune Pass



Google Maps

Bing Maps

Cloud Storage


Google Docs





  • Competitive Advantage
  • Competitive Disadvantage


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August 10, 2010

Comic-Con 2010 Day 1 – part 1

Filed under Gadgets, Movies, Video Games, Xbox 360

I went to my first Comic-Con this year and had a really good time. Comic-Con is HUGE…over 140,000 people this year. Getting a ticket is tough. All passes were sold out in November 2009 (9 months before the show!). Luckily, I’m considered a “professional” and got a free pass just 2 months before Comic-Con.


I am not into comic books, so I was not sure how much there would be that interested me.

I arrived on Friday morning. On my way to the convention center, I noticed all the gas lamps in the Gaslamp Quarter were decorated with TRON posters for the new movie.

IMAG0034I am a big fan of TRON. If there was one thing I wanted to see at Comic-Con, it would be anything TRON related.

And look what I happen to walk past on the way to the convention center…

IMAG0035 Flynn’s Arcade!

I asked the people in line what was happening. “Press event.” Dang! I really wanted to see what was inside.

I continued to the convention center and saw the “Black Beauty” from the upcoming movie “The Green Hornet.”



Once inside, I saw a huge “recognizer” from a distance. First stop: find out what is going on with TRON.P1030480 There were were a couple dressed up in TRON garb working the booth.


They were giving away a light cycle toy if you waited in line. I decided to pass on that one due to line length.

There are going to be a TON of product tie-ins with this movie. Some of the products were on display. I may have to get the Xbox 360 controller.

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They also had the Lightcycle from last year’s Comic-Con on display.

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I asked about access to Flynn’s Arcade. I was told Flynn’s Arcade would be open to the public after lunch. You could get tickets later in the day at the booth, or just go to the Flynn’s Arcade directly.

Some neat new Star Wars Lego kits coming out.


Slave 1 with frozen Han Solo


TIE Defender


Imperial Shuttle

I stopped by the Xbox 360 setup at the Hard Rock Hotel so I could try out Kinect.


I tried out “Dance Central” in front of a group of people. It was fun, but you can’t help but feel like a big dork…especially as you learn the moves. I’m definitely getting this when it comes out.

Here is a clip I took of a guy playing Dance Central. There is a kid that is running around and it doesn’t mess up the tracking.

P1030496 The other game that really stood out was LIMBO. It looks like no other game I’ve seen. I picked it up as soon as I got home and have already finished it. Read my review here.

Next up: Heading to Flynn’s Arcade.

August 5, 2010

Game Review: LIMBO

Filed under Reviews, Video Games, Xbox 360


LIMBO is a new game for Xbox 360.

This is a special game. It reminds me of the original Prince of Persia in terms of the fluid animation and puzzles.

What I liked:

  • Unique look
  • Looks as if the game was filmed with an old black and white camera
  • Impressive puzzles
  • Great sound and effects
  • Dark theme
  • Not 3D for a change

Check out this video to see what LIMBO looks like.

I really enjoyed this one.

Highly recommended. 5/5 stars.

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January 4, 2009

Getting Rid of My Crap

Filed under Gadgets, Video Games, Web, Xbox 360


I have a closet full of electronics that I don’t use anymore. I am going to get rid of them via eBay and make some cash doing it.

I updated my website so I have a link to my current eBay items on the right (only shows on my home page, not individual posts).

Here is my first item: my old Xbox 360…

Xbox 360 w/ 20 GB, 11 games, HD DVD player w/ 4 movies


September 28, 2008

TFU Launch At Best Buy

Filed under Events, Video Games, Work, Xbox 360


We had a fun event at Best Buy for the launch of TFU. The game didn't go on sale until Tuesday, September 16th. The party started at 8pm on Monday the 15th and went until midnight when the game could be distributed. It really felt like a mini-Star Wars convention with all the costumes.

George was there...which is always fun for any Star Wars geek.

I took a picture with the cutest Hoth soldier I've ever seen...

P1010865 P1010866


My favorite part of the launch party were the droids. These guys are part of the Astromech club...and their work will blow you away! They built their own R2-D2's from scratch...and the attention to detail is amazing! I took a bunch of video:

Here are a bunch of photos of R2...

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They also had a mouse droid running around and I got some video of that.


The mouse droid and its operator


Tie Fighter Pilot and Obi Wan catching up


Playing TFU before it is released


My Mom...Unleashed!


Mom (wearing a very cool and unique Javva the Hutt shirt), Speeder Bike Storm Trooper, Imperial Officer, and my buddy Myra at the entrance to Best Buy.


Mom, Chewbacca (center), and Ben (worked on TFU)

They had a stage setup up in the back of Best Buy with various celebrities talking to the crowd...

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Crowd favorite Bobba Fett begged me for a photo with him. How can you say no to a bounty hunter...


Autographs! They had the cast and developers on hand for autographs...



Very cute Adrienne Wilkinson as "Maris Brood"


Cully Fredricksen as "Master Kota"


Lead Engineer Cedrick Coullomb (also author of the must-have utility "unlocker")


David Collins (voice of Proxy, Audio Lead) on left and Art Director Matt Omernick on right.

I got got a bunch of autographs from my co-workers. Amy Beth Christenson (Senior Concept Artist...she is simply amazing) asked me for *my* autograph, which was very cool!

tfu autographs 

Of course they had everything TFU on sale at Best Buy...


The whole point of the party was for people that wanted to get the game as soon as it went on sale at midnight. I got pictures of the front of the line...and almost the last guy (#998). They only gave out 1000 tickets...then there were people waiting after position 1000 hoping to get the game without a ticket. Wow!

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Sony provided an 18 wheeler loaded with PS3's for the event...

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We had nice press coverage...

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The Gas Unleashed...to the right you can almost see the storm trooper blasted off his feet.

July 3, 2008

Coolest Achievement EVAR!

Filed under Video Games, Xbox 360


A buddy of mine (Chris Franka) asked me how I got the "Rockstar" achievement in GTA4.

I didn't know what he was talking about so I looked it up on the Internets.

Apparently, you get this achievement when you kill a Rockstar developer (creators of GTA4) in a multiplayer game!

It's actually not as impressive as it sounds, since it is a viral achievement. Once you kill a Rockstar developer, you are added to the Rockstar developer list and anybody that kills you also gets the achievement and is added to the list.

It is very likely that I killed someone that killed someone that killed someone that killed someone that killed a Rockstar developer.

I am a self-confessed achievement whore. I *love* getting achievements...this is one of the best/most creative.

June 2, 2008

Blu-ray Player/PLAYSTATION 3

Filed under Gadgets, HDTV, Movies, Video Games, Xbox 360


I made the plunge yesterday and picked up a PS3 to use as a Blu-ray player. From what I've read, it is the best player out there and it is relatively cheap ($400).

There are some things I really about the PS3 when compared to an Xbox 360:

  • Quiet operation! I don't notice the PS3 at all...and that is my #1 issue with the 360.
  • Web browser...I can watch glorious 320x240 youtube videos stretched out on my HDTV
  • Slot loading drive...no tray
  • Solid unit...360 feels cheap in comparison
  • No power brick like the 360 has...just a cable to the wall outlet

I picked up the remote for the PS3 and figured I would use it to program my universal remote.

But you can't do that.

The PS3 does not have an IR port...it does its communications via bluetooth!

The cool thing about bluetooth is you don't have to do line-of-sight like you do with IR...which is nice.

The *bad* thing about bluetooth is...no other universal remote can send out those signals! So now I'm stuck with two remotes....grrrrr!

Help is on the way, though. There is a product called IR2BT that will take IR codes from your universal remote and convert them into bluetooth signals that the PS3 can understand! The product is out of stock, but I'm getting one as soon as they are available.

Now that the format war is over, I am switching to Blu-ray as my primary format. I picked up several discs this weekend including:

I am going to continue to use my 360 for gaming. The PS3 doesn't have anything that I'm really interested in with their current line-up.

In October, Little Big Planet comes out for the PS3 exclusively...and I *will* get that. It looks amazing...

May 4, 2008


Filed under Reviews, Video Games, Xbox 360

imageI picked up Grand Theft Auto IV this week.

This is reported to be the most expensive video game ever made...$100 million...and I'd believe it based on what I've seen. You can tell a lot of work went into this game.

When I started playing, it brought back memories of playing the previous versions...but with much better graphics in HD and more attention to detail.

And that's a good thing...because the previous versions were already well done.

One of the most fun things to do in GTA 4 is just explore and see what you can do and the consequences for your actions.

One new feature I really like...if you are trying to get to a location in town and you steal a luxury car, the car's GPS voice instructions will let you keep your eyes on the road instead of looking at the map.

I'm going to be playing this one for a while.

April 28, 2008

Half Life 2

Filed under Reviews, Video Games, Xbox 360

image I finished Half Life 2 this weekend.

This game is old by video game standards (it came out in Nov 2004).

It is one of 5 games on "The Orange Box."

The first game I played on "The Orange Box" was "Portal," and I loved it. It is one of the best games I've played in the past 5 years.

HL2 is huge. I spent much of my time in awe over the expansive environments and the effort involved creating props that you sometimes just fly by. The attention to detail is amazing.

I certainly enjoyed it...but it may have been too easy. I never felt like any part was really challenging using the default settings. In some ways that is good...because I never got too frustrated...but when I finished the game, I didn't feel any sense of accomplishment that I normally feel when I beat a difficult game.

I'm guessing most people have played this already...but if you haven't, it is worth checking out...it holds up well for an "old" game. This game feels like an interactive movie.

Now I'm on to playing HL2 Episode 1.

The Orange Box is a great value and full of great games...definitely a must have (and I still have 3 more games to try).


April 13, 2008

More TFU Video Clips

Filed under Video Games, Work, Xbox 360


Here is some new HD footage (run this full screen) of the The Force Unleashed in action.

The whole show is 21 minutes with lots of great video and reveals about the game. There is also talk about the voice of Darth Vader by "Chad Vader", the new TFU toys coming out, and the Wiimote lightsaber addition. Definitely worth watching the whole program.


February 22, 2008

GDC: Friday

Filed under Video Games, Xbox 360

At Microsoft's lobby bar today, Microsoft showed a "teaser" trailer for the previously unannounced Xbox 720.

There were no specifics, just a lot of canned animations showing off "movie-like special effects," photo-realistic people, and real-time soft body dynamics.

I know it is way early (no release date), but the 720 can't get here fast enough! It's hard not to get excited about the nextgen consoles.

Check out the trailer here.

February 21, 2008

Gears of War II

Filed under Video Games, Xbox 360

Gears of War II was announced yesterday at GDC. It will be coming out in November of this year. Here is the trailer...


And here is a demo of what the new game engine for GOW2 will be capable of...meat cubes!

November 30, 2007


Filed under Reviews, Video Games, Xbox 360

I bought the Orange Box recently for the Xbox 360. The Orange Box consists of 5 games. The first game I tried is called "Portal." The video above gives you an idea of the concept behind Portal and what game-play looks like. This video was also shown at the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater in 2007.

It took me about two sittings to finish Portal. Some people will be annoyed with how short it is. I love that it didn't take forever since I don't spend a lot of time playing video games.

Portal is an amazing game and unlike anything you have played. It seems like a first person shooter...but you don't have a gun and nobody is trying to kill you. It is actually a mind-bending puzzle game.

The game's sense of humor is part of the charm. It is so well done.

I can't stress this enough...you *must* try this game! It may be my favorite game since I first tried "The Sims." This is a fun and very satisfying game!

Portal (part of "The Orange Box") is available now on the Xbox 360 and PC and coming soon to the PS3.

October 9, 2007

Halo 3

Filed under Video Games, Xbox 360

image I started my next Xbox 360 adventure this week: Halo 3.

This is a *big* game for the 360...it made $170 million on opening day in the US. That makes Halo 3 the highest grossing entertainment product in history...and that includes movies! Amazing.

I've never played any of the previous Halo games, so I'm curious to see what all the hype is about.

I understand that multi-player is a big part of Halo's draw...so if you have an account on the 360, add me as a friend (and send my your real name so I know who I'm dealing with). My Xbox gamertag is "rgba."


September 24, 2007

Scene It? Xbox 360 Edition

Filed under Movies, Video Games, Xbox 360

I'm a big fan of the DVD board game Scene It?. I found out that Scene It? is coming to Xbox 360.


But what is more interesting are the 4 wireless controllers that come with it...The Big Button Pads.

The 4 colors make it obvious which player you are. The big button makes buzzing in simple.

A controller with a big button doesn't seem very useful beyond trivia games...but there's more going on here.

The big button is actually a 4 way direction pad. Since this controller is wireless, you can rotate it so that you have the A, B, X, Y buttons on your left or right...an ambidextrous game pad.

I bet this controller will be used for the simpler games available on Xbox Live Arcade that don't use the shoulder buttons, triggers, or 2 joysticks. It should make the 360 more approachable for the less hardcore gaming crowd.

September 5, 2007

BioShock Review

Filed under Reviews, Video Games, Xbox 360


I finished BioShock yesterday. I don't want to give anything away in case you might play this game...there are a lot of fun surprises.

In short...I loved it.

The story line was incredibly deep. Probably the thing that sets this game apart the most is the art direction and the architecture...it is beautiful to just look around the very detailed buildings of this underwater city from the 1940's.

The game is very dark in its mood and disturbing in its images and sounds. It's very creepy. It's rated "M"...so don't play this game around kids...you might scar them for life! There are scenes that remind me of some of the more gruesome parts of the movie "Seven."

This game reminded me of several movies I've seen. I already mentioned "Seven." Others include...

This is the first game I've played where you are judged by your actions. You can be a good guy or a bad guy...and each choice will give you a different experience.

I chose to be bad my first time through. I'm going to play the game again, but this time I'm going to be good.

I played on the easy level first...and it was virtually impossible to die. I was more interested in the story, so I'm not disappointed with the lack of a challenge. Now I'm going to replay on the hardest level (which gives you 40 achievement points if you can do it).

This game is certainly discussion worthy. Several of my friends and co-workers are playing it and I hear conversations daily about the game.

I'd put this game up with Gears of War as a must own 360 game (also available on the PC). Go get it!


August 22, 2007


Filed under Video Games, Xbox 360

Bioshock came out yesterday for the Xbox 360. I played the demo and it looks/sounds amazing. There is quite a buzz about this game. I ordered it online and should have it by Friday.

August 15, 2007

PS3 vs. Xbox 360: Madden NFL 08 Frame Rate

Filed under Video Games, Xbox 360


I heard about this today...Madden NFL 08 (which was released today) runs at 60 fps on the Xbox 360 and 30 fps on the PS3.

You can really see the difference in the HD video (WMV or Quicktime) when it shows them running side-by-side at 25% speed.

This is *HUGE* because the PS3 was supposed to be superior to the 360, and thus was worth the high cost.

I've read that EA's NCAA Football 08 as well as 2K Sports' All-Pro Football 2K8 both run at 60 fps on the 360 verses 30 fps on the PS3.

It will be interesting to see if this trend holds up with games by other developers coming to both platforms at the same time:

June 15, 2007

Who knew? Hitler is a gamer!

Filed under Funny, Not Safe for Work (NSFW), Video Games, Xbox 360

Big ups to E-dog for sending this in. It has some cuss words in the captions, so it may not be work appropriate.

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January 4, 2007

My Xbox 360 Started Its Own Blog!

Filed under Blogging, Xbox 360

My Xbox 360 has started writing its own blog. It only has one post as of this writing, but more will follow. My 360 refers to me by my Xbox Live gamertag, "RGBA."

Read my Xbox 360's blog here.

The 360 keeps track of a lot of information. As long as you don't keep it private, this data is used to generate all sorts of crazy things...my gamercard on the top right of this page, gaming statistics, rankings, and, apparently, a blog! This blog is computer-generated using actual information about how I've used my Xbox 360.

To have your Xbox 360 start its own blog, register here. It takes about two days for the first post to show up.

December 22, 2006

PS3 Thoughts

Filed under Gadgets, Reviews, Xbox 360

I owned a PS1 and I still have a PS2. I decided to switch camps for this generation of consoles and move to the Xbox 360.

I have no doubt that I made the right decision.

I tried out a PS3 demo unit at a GameStop. The controller is almost exactly like the PS2 version, which is not a bad thing. I like that the controller is now wireless and the shoulder buttons are analog triggers (like the 360's). I couldn't try out the tilt feature because the games I played did not support it. The PS3 no longer has support for "rumble", which is disappointing.

The games looked like Xbox 360 games, which is underwhelming considering the price difference, extra year of development time, and bold claims by Sony. Here's a website that compared games that are released on both the 360 and PS3...they look almost identical!

One of the selling points for the PS3 is its new Cell microprocessor. It has been called a "supercomputer on a chip."

Both the PS3 and the 360 get much of their processing power from multiple chips processing in parallel. The PS3 can process 8 threads at a time compared to the Xbox 360's 6. A *big* difference is the PS3 is asymmetric, which means the processors have different abilities and the software developer must take care in deciding which processors runs which thread. This is not an issue for the 360, because each processor has identical properties. Writing multi-threaded software is *really* hard. With the PS3, you also have to manage which processor is doing what and try to make sure the best processor for the job is always finished doing its previous work to avoid bottlenecks. The home user will not notice this issue, but software developers will.

I've also read that the PS3's Cell processor is crippled because of a design defect. If true, it could be another headache for software developers.

But forget the processors...they are not as important as the media would have you believe. For 3D video games, the biggest bottleneck is the graphics card. A game can only run as fast as its slowest component, and that will usually be the graphics card. PS3 has a custom Nvidia card and the 360 has a custom ATI card. These cards are very close in terms of specs and performance. I believe this is the most important reason why you will not see much difference between what a PS3 can do and what a 360 can do.

I see the hardware as essentially equal between the PS3 and the 360...which is bad news for Sony. Sony is a hardware company, Microsoft is a software company. If the hardware is equal, then this battle is going to play to Microsoft's favor. Examples of 360 software that make the platform shine are achievements (like the coins you collect in Mario, but available across all games), Xbox Live (networked gaming; game, video, music downloads), Xbox Live Arcade (retro/casual games), plus tools and libraries to make software developers happy.

I've heard the magic number is 10 million: first console to reach 10 million sales becomes the dominate platform for that generation. The 360 is expected to reach 10 million before the end of the year.

December 18, 2006

Gears of War

Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

There was a lot of buzz surrounding the launch of Gears of War, so I picked it up when it came out to see if it lived up to the hype. Without question this is the game to have if you want to show off what next-generation games look like.

I played the single player game off and on when I had time and was progressing very slowly. Then I visited my buddy Chris Franka in San Antonio this past weekend. Chris also has an Xbox 360 and Gear of War. We ended up playing in cooperative mode on his 60 inch screen...my view was the bottom half of the screen and his was the top half. Playing single player is a lot of fun, but cooperative is even better! We played for four hours, took a break to watch the Cowboy game and watch Borat, then continued playing until we finished the game. In all, it took us about 8 hours on the easy level.

I was able to transfer my "gamertag" from my home Xbox 360 to Chris' over Xbox Live using the "Recover Gamertag" option. I had to type in my Xbox Live email address and password to complete the transfer. The main reason I did this is so that any achievements or progress I unlocked in the game would be stored in my account, so I could take it home with me. FYI: Typing email/passwords via the Xbox controller is painful...just plug in a USB keyboard instead.

The game has several familiar elements from Sci-Fi/Adventure films: Aliens (troop transport), Starship Troopers (the Locusts), The Matrix (The Reavers), Star Wars (Jack the robot, some of the theme music), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (mine cars), Escape From New York (traveling deserted city at night), and more.

Probably the most amazing aspect of this game for me is the attention to detail. You can literally spend hours just looking around at all the background/unimportant architecture. I am replaying the game on medium difficulty and it doesn't get old because there is so much to look at.

The game play has some unique features that make this game shine. There is no jumping up and down to avoid getting shot like in most shooters. You can't "orbit" an enemy. Instead you spend much of your time hiding behind cover trying to get headshots to kill your enemies. It feels more realistic than other shooters I've played.

The sound effects and music are great and really help set the mood.

This is definitely my favorite Xbox 360 game. There is a lot of hype behind this game, but I think it is well deserving. Highly recommended.

Here is the ad for the game...

December 8, 2006

HD DVD vs. DVD...Fight!

Filed under HDTV, Xbox 360

I received "Superman Returns" from Netflix yesterday. This disc is a HD DVD/DVD combo...HD DVD on one side and a regular DVD on the other. I figured this would be a good disc to test the difference between HD DVD and DVD.

I used my 5 MP Sony CyperShot to capture the images. I captured two scenes from 8 feet away (my normal viewing distance) and the same two scenes from 1 foot away (to better show the detail from HD). My TV set is 46". I did not use zoom for any of the shots. The images were captured in jpeg, so there may be some compression artifacts from my camera that are not in the source material.

The first shot I captured is of a newspaper clipping. I captured this one because of all the small text. Click on these images to see the full resolution...make sure you aren't zoomed out (i.e. should be viewed at 100%) or you won't get the full effect.

This image is from the Superman Returns HD DVD (1080p) on a 46" TV from 8 feet away.




This image is from the Superman Returns DVD (480p) on a 46" TV from 8 feet away.




I am a bit surprised by the results...the images are not that different! HD DVD is a bit sharper, but not significantly.

The next shot is of Lex Luthor in front of a elaborate model train setup. I chose this shot because it has a lot of detail.

This image is from the Superman Returns HD DVD (1080p) on a 46" TV from 8 feet away.




This image is from the Superman Returns DVD (480p) on a 46" TV from 8 feet away.




Same results...the HD DVD is sharper...but not dramatically.

These results are specific to my situation...a 46" TV from 8 feet away. The further you sit or the smaller your set, the less advantage HD DVD has over DVD. The converse is also true...a bigger set or sitting closer will accentuate HD DVD's better image quality. I can't get a bigger TV for quite some time, but I can sit closer. So these next shots are from the same scenes as before, but are from one foot away. At one foot, my camera could only frame a portion of the TV screen. Using the chart at the end of this post, I estimate I would need an 85" TV at my current viewing distance to get the same results as the 1 foot viewing distance with a 46" TV.

These results are from a camera, which does not have the same ability to capture images as the human eye. I can see more of a distinction between HD and SD with my eye than I can with the camera, but these results are at least in the ballpark.

This image is from the Superman Returns HD DVD (1080p) on a 46" TV from 1 foot away.







This image is from the Superman Returns DVD (480p) on a 46" TV from 1 foot away.







At one foot, you can actually see the individual pixels on the LCD display and the black around them (a.k.a. the screen door effect). I can make out some of the article text in the HD DVD, but you can't even read the date/web address in the upper right on the DVD ("Tuesday, February 13th, 2005 www.dailyplanet.com"). Also note the color of the newspaper is more yellow in the DVD and more natural in the HD DVD. Resolution is certainly an important aspect of HD, but the better color reproduction is impressive as well.


This image is from the Superman Returns HD DVD (1080p) on a 46" TV from 1 foot away.







This image is from the Superman Returns DVD (480p) on a 46" TV from 1 foot away.







Look at the lit up windows in the background. There is a clear on/off pattern on the HD DVD, but the windows are just a blur on the DVD.

These photos show how important screen size *AND* viewing distance are for HD content. Here is a good article about this issue. The best part of the article is a viewing distance/TV size/resolution graph, reproduced here because I know I will refer to this quite a bit...


December 5, 2006

Wii Thoughts

Filed under Xbox 360

I've owned a PlayStation, PS2 and a Super Nintendo. I did *not* own an Xbox. I *do* own a Xbox 360. I am not partial to any one platform...I just want to have the best gaming platform.

I've played all three "next gen" consoles: Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's Wii. I have already written plenty about the 360 (I think it is awesome), so I wanted to post my thoughts on PS3 and Wii.

First up, the Nintendo Wii...

I can't believe the marketing Nintendo has done with the Wii. I have read several times, and had several people regurgitate that the Wii is going to attract a new group to video games: the non-gamer. I've heard people say that older people will gravitate to the Wii because it is not intimidating and it is designed for people that are new to gaming.

Older people are not going to become a large market for the Wii. One of the first things some (all?) Wii games require you to do is to move a pointer to the center of the screen and click a button to calibrate the Wiimote. This requires a bit of hand eye/coordination...something older people will be frustrated with very quickly. I've taught older people to use a mouse, and for someone like that...clicking and pointing at the same time is a game itself...the Wiimote is the enemy for these people.

Then there are kids and a Wii...I wonder how many TV's are going to be damaged by Wiimotes launched by Jr. during boxing. I played with 4 adults and we moved furniture out of the way, and one guy (a Wii owner) still hit the coffee table pretty hard with the Wiimote while doing a golf swing. I can only imagine that the younger the kids, the more collateral damage you should expect from a Wii.

Cost...it seems like everybody thinks the Wii is super-cheap and the Xbox 360 is expensive. But the 360 is only $299 verses $249 for a Wii...a $50 difference.

The commercials make it look like you just grab the Wiimote and you know what to do...swing at golf balls, or punch at a boxer. But knowing exactly what motion the Wii cares about is not obvious and not intuitive. You can (and will) spend a lot of time moving the Wiimote in a special way only to find out the Wii only cares when you start your motion and when you finish, for example.

I said this in a previous comment...the Wiimote reminds me of a slot machine. The first time you use it, you want to pull the lever. But eventually, everybody gets sick of the lever and just presses the "spin" button. I predict the Wiimote will be a fad...I don't expect it to become a new gaming paradigm.

The Wii looks like it has GameCube graphics to me...nothing special. The 360's Kameo looks much better in standard definition than Zelda does.

Next up...I bash the PS3!

Xbox 360 HD DVD Player

Filed under HDTV, Reviews, Xbox 360

I got an Xbox 360 HD DVD Player this weekend.

The external drive plugs into a USB port. Initially, I was not excited about a console with two drives. However, now I like the idea.

One of my main gripes about the 360 is how loud the DVD drive is. You better crank up the volume if you don't want to be distracted by the DVD drive. The HD DVD is quiet. I never noticed it, even during low volume scenes.

Another nice benefit of two drives: I can leave my games in the 360 while changing out movies in the HD DVD tray and vice versa. It means less trips to the console if you want to play some "Gears of War" in between episodes of "24", like I'm doing now.

The HD DVD disk themselves feel much more sturdy than a standard DVD. I read a while back that HD DVD would have a special "scratch-proof" coating. It is really hard to gauge if it is working at this point. But if it does, it certainly will make renting HD DVD a more pleasant experience than renting DVD's.

Speaking of renting, Netflix has both a HD DVD & Blu-ray "genre." You can setup Netflix to send you HD DVD or Blu-ray if they are available. I loaded up my rental queue with 50 HD DVD's. There is no extra cost to rent HD DVD or Blu-ray.

The video quality is excellent. I didn't see any video issues whatsoever. In fact, I could watch the movie from just 1 foot away on my 46" TV and *NOT* see any compression artifacts! Even the best OTA HD broadcast has compression artifacts that are easy to see from that distance. I could see the film grain ("Happy Gilmore"), but that is an issue with the source material, and not the HD DVD drive. From 9 feet away, the film grain was not noticeable. I didn't see any film grain issues with "King Kong."

Sound was the same as a standard DVD as far as I could tell...which is really good.

DVD's still look good on my set, but HD DVD looks even better...mainly sharper and better color output.

HD DVD has the ability to keep running the movie while interactive menus play on top of the film. It is useful for changing the audio track or jumping to a particular scene. Certainly not ground breaking, but DVD's can't do this. On a DVD, every time you select a different menu, the audio/video for the current menu abruptly stop and start on the new menu. With HD DVD, the transitions are flawless...it just makes the disk feel more polished.

HD DVD does not pause midway through a movie like a DVD does when going to the second layer of a dual layer disk. That pause was more annoying than anything, but I'm glad it's gone.

If you have a 360 and an HDTV, this is a no brainer...get this drive!

December 1, 2006

1080p on Xbox 360!

Filed under HDTV, Xbox 360

Yesterday, Microsoft's Major Nelson announced a new update for the 360 fixes issues with 1080p over VGA. If you want 1080p, then you have two choices currently: component or VGA. My TV (a 46" Sony XBR3 LCD) will only accept 1080p over VGA or HDMI.

Well the fix is here, so I ran to Best Buy today to get a VGA cable (I was using component).

And guess what? It works! I have full 1080p now!

To tell the difference between 1080i and 1080p, you need content that is running at 60 frames-per-second. I don't currently have any, so my visual quality hasn't improved...yet.

I recently found out that I could generate my own HD content on a PC and burn it to a DVD and the 360 will play it back. When I get some good test videos, I'll post my results. 

November 26, 2006

Xbox Live Video Marketplace

Filed under HDTV, Reviews, Xbox 360

The Xbox Live Video Marketplace went live on November 22, 2006...one year after the Xbox 360 launched. Here's another review with some nice pics.

The video marketplace lets you rent/buy movies and TV shows. The biggest news is that some of the content is offered in HD...and I'm all about HD now. For more details on the video marketplace see the FAQ (part 1 and part 2).

So on the 22nd, I found an HD movie to test out, "V for Vendetta".  I rented it for 480 Microsoft Points or $6 (80 MP = $1). I started the download before I went to work. The movie was a 6 GB download. In 30 minutes I had about 7% downloaded. I went to work and figured the whole movie would be finished by the time I got home.

Wrong! When I got home, the download was at 36% complete. I let it run for the rest of the night and I only got to 40% before the download ended in an error message. I was charged for the movie even though I never finished downloading it. 

I tried to download the movie again before I left for Thanksgiving. I was charged a second time for the download. When I came back, the movie was downloaded. Since I was gone for a few days, I have no idea how long it took to download.

Apparently Microsoft was having some growing pains with the video marketplace. Many people were reporting slow and failed downloads. Microsoft's Major Nelson acknowledged the problem and gave a number to call (800-4MYXBOX) to get credit for failed downloads.

I finished watching the movie this morning. The video quality was beautiful. However, I did notice a jerkiness during scenes with motion, like when the credits moved up the screen. I saw a similar issue when I first watched a DVD on my 360, but it was cleared up with a patch...hopefully this issue will be fixed as well.

The controls are fairly limited. The remote control works much better than using the 360 controller since you can access functions directly without having to go to an on screen menu. There are not a lot of control options:

  • Play/pause
  • Fast forward/Rewind (2x, 4x, 8x). At the fastest speed, it takes ~7 seconds to skip a minute. This makes skipping to a particular part of a movie *very* frustrating.
  • Chapter Skip. Normally a chapter skip moves to the beginning of scenes in a movie. This *could* work that way, but in this movie it did not. The movie was divided into "chapters" by creating a chapter every 8 seconds. The chapter skip will move you to the next or previous chapter. This is pretty useless without some logic behind the chapter locations.
  • Info. This shows the time elapsed and a countdown to the end of the movie.
  • Format. You can switch from the default view (which looks good) to a "letterbox" view which adds black bars to the left and right as well as top and bottom...effectively turning your HDTV into a SD TV. I guess you might use this feature if you are watching HD content on a SD TV.

The video is 720p, which looks great. The sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1.

What is missing? You don't get the chapter search that you get with a DVD. Also, there is no visual scene selection like most DVD's have. There is no way to do slow motion. There are no DVD extras, like director's commentaries or behind the scenes features. There is no support for subtitles, which I use a lot when I have trouble understanding what an actor says.

I called 800-4MYXBOX to fix the issue with the double charge on the one movie I downloaded. I spent at least 10 minutes on hold until I got to talk to somebody. The person I talked to would ask me a question and then would interrupt me every time I tried to answer her which meant she would have to ask me for the information again...it almost made me wish Microsoft would outsource their call center. After 30+ minutes on the phone, I finally got my credit...but I don't think I should have ever had to call. Microsoft knew there was a problem. They know what I've downloaded and when I've watched it. I would have expected them to correct the issue without any need for me to call in. Oh well.

You have 24 hours to finish watching a rental from when you start watching. When you look at the movie in your downloaded movie area, it indicates how much time is left in the 24 hour window. After my 24 hour window expired, I wondered what would happen if I tried to play the movie again. I just tried it and the movie started playing...no "Do you want to rent this movie again?" dialog. It doesn't look like I was charged for it, but after all the troubles they are having and since they have given me a credit for multiple charges on "V for Vendetta", who knows if this is the normal behavior.

I'm excited about the future of Xbox Live Video Marketplace. If I have the choice between watching an HD-DVD (my player is shipping this week!) or an HD video from the marketplace, I'd choose the HD-DVD every time. But, I do see utility in the Video Marketplace. Video Marketplace will eventually allow me to watch TV shows that I may have missed that are not yet available on DVD or HD movies that are not yet available on HD-DVD (or are instead on Blu-ray). I hope more and more content providers jump on the Video Marketplace.

November 16, 2006

1080p vs. 1080i

Filed under HDTV, Xbox 360

For movie and TV content, there is no difference between 1080p or 1080i for a progressive TV (LCD, plasma, DLP, LCoS, but not typically a CRT).

Just six months ago I would have argued with this statement. 1080i has half the lines of resolution as 1080p, right?

Wrong! This article does a nice job of explaining how 1080i content can be converted to 1080p perfectly.

Even though film/TV content received at 1080i can be converted back to the original 1080p content, it is contingent on your TV doing reverse 3:2 pulldown correctly. If you drop 1080i and use 1080p throughout the journey from source material to your TV set, then you don't have to worry if your TV is converting 1080i correctly. 1080p removes one level of complexity from an already convoluted process.

According to a recent test of sixty-one 2006 model year sets, more than half did *not* recover 1080p from 1080i correctly. My TV (Sony 46" XBR3) was one of the sets that failed. However, changing Sony's terrible default settings (why would they do that?) fixes the problem.

Another reason you want 1080p...when we start receiving 1080 content at frame rates higher than 30fps. Both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 are capable of 1080p content at higher frame rates than film or TV use. For these HD sources running games at 1080p 60fps, converting 1080i to 1080p will result in loss of image data. Most 360 games are designed for 720p because of the performance hit of moving to 1080p. I suspect the same will be true for the PS3. I have no doubt games will move to 1080p eventually, but currently we are not there.

I have my Xbox 360 hooked up as 1080i. Microsoft added a patch recently that gives the Xbox 360 1080p support. Unfortunately, it does not work with my TV due to a bug in their update, which Microsoft is going fix.

I am going to pickup the $200 HD DVD player for the Xbox 360. There is a lot of chatter on the internets about how Microsoft has to get the 1080p output working for the HD DVD player to compare to Sony's PS3/Blu-ray player. However, it really doesn't matter. Film is at 24 fps, and my set does 3:2 pulldown correctly now. So I will get the same 1080p output that the PS3 does, even if I am doing it via 1080i.

Who's Winning?

Filed under Gadgets, HDTV, Xbox 360

You can argue and speculate all you want, but why not check the facts? This website uses data from amazon.com to figure out who has the most popular video game console, next generation DVD format, and satellite radio service. Very cool!

October 6, 2006

Place Your Bets

Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

This is the beginning of the next-generation console war. The contenders are:

We've talked a lot about this contest at work. Who is going to win? Sony has been the leader for the last two contests with the PS1 and PS2. Here is your chance to make your prediction before the battle begins.

I believe that the Xbox 360 will dominate the market. Nintendo Wii will be a distant 2nd. Last place goes to PS3.

I've had my Xbox 360 for almost a year. This is the most I've played a console since I was in college. Microsoft has done a lot right.

Probably the best thing about the Xbox has nothing to do with its graphics or CPU power...it is Xbox Live Arcade. These are small games that are purchased online and stored on your hard drive. This means you can quickly switch between games without having to get up and change out the DVD. So in a single gaming session on my 360, I may play 3 or 4 games. Previously on my PS2, I'd only play one game per session. 

Another cool concept Microsoft has is "Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays." Every Wednesday, a new game is released for Xbox Live Arcade. It is similar to NBC's "Must See TV" Thursdays, Wednesday has become the day to find out what new game has come out on Xbox Live Arcade. Some of the games released over the past few weeks include Doom, Frogger, Time Pilot, Pac-Man, Street Fighter, Galaga, and Scramble.

Achievement Points! I have become an achievement point whore! You can see see my gamerscore (sum of achievement points) on my Xbox 360 gamercard to the right. Achievement points *make* you want to play more...especially when you find out your friends have more than you. Microsoft has done a great job making achievement points a required component of every Xbox 360 game.

Microsoft already owns the desktop. Get ready for them to own the living room.

September 10, 2006


Filed under Programming, Reviews, Software, Xbox 360

XNA (which stands for "XNA is Not Acronymed") is a new moniker from Microsoft for tools to make video games for Windows and the Xbox 360. The tools are designed to make developing games easier and accessible to more people. This FAQ is helpful to understand what XNA is all about. The home page for XNA is here

About a week ago, Microsoft released a beta of the XNA Game Studio Express (GSE). I downloaded GSE this weekend to find out what it is about.

GSE appears to just be a plug-in to Visual C# Express (VCSE). Since GSE is a plug-in, it requires VCSE in order to install. After you install GSE and restart VCSE, everything looks the same. I had to do some digging to find out where exactly GSE "enhances" VCSE. I found 3 places:

  1. Documentation. The help system has tutorials, a programming guide, and reference for XNA.
  2. New XNA framework. This framework is built on top of the .NET framework. It adds the following libraries:
    • Application Model - game loop, how to pause/exit
    • Graphics - 2D, 3D
    • Math - vectors, matrices, collision detection
    • Input - read the mouse, keyboard, and Xbox 360 controller
    • Audio - associate sounds with events, like a gun shot when a player presses a button on the controller
    • Storage - generalizes where game data is read from and where game save data goes to so the same code will work on a 360 and a PC without modification
  3. Templates. When you start a project in VCSE (File->New Project...), you are given some choices about what type of project you want to create (e.g. Windows Application, Console Application, Empty Project, etc.). GSE adds three more options: Windows Game, Windows Library, and Spacewar Starter Kit. The Spacewar Starter Kit is a rewrite of the classic Spacewar game using XNA. All the code is available so you can see how an actual game is using the XNA framework.

I followed a tutorial in the help called "Your First XNA Game." Basically you just create a project based on the "Windows Game" template, add some code to the update and draw functions, and you have quite possibly the worst video game of all time. To see for yourself, download this and extract it to a folder and run "shadowtest.exe." Granted, the point of the exercise is not to make a game, but to show you how to get started making a game, which it does well. It took me about 10 minutes to go through the tutorial.

Final thoughts...

  • C# has a lot of buzz and is growing in importance in the game industry. I'm going to do my home programming projects in C# from now on.
  • .NET/XNA can/will be used for video games. If you asked me about .NET use for video games 2 years ago, I would have said it is too slow. That appears to be changing.
  • .NET/XNA development is more efficient than STL/OpenGL/OpenAL/etc. Instead of using many isolated libraries, .NET/XNA appears to be a single well organized library with a *ton* of functionality. STL has data types (like a list of strings) that OpenGL does not understand. In order for these libraries to inter-operate, the programmer is required to "massage" data to get it into the proper format. The incompatibilities in data types in .NET/XNA are largely removed since they are built on top of the same data types. Plus, all of the .NET/XNA library is documented in a consistent way, which lowers the learning curve.
  • 360 controller is the only controller supported by XNA. This makes sense since the idea is you use XNA to make games that work on both Windows and Xbox 360. It sucks to make games for a PC and not know what controller to target. Now Microsoft is saying the 360 controller *is* the game controller for the PC. This may be bad news for choice and input device manufacturers, but it is great news for PC game development and ease-of-use. XNA-based PC games will "just work" with a 360 controller.
  • XNA games will work on an Xbox (PowerPC-based) and a PC (x86-based) *without* recompiling. This is a side effect of using .NET. Just like a Java app can be "write once, run anywhere," same goes for .NET. 

There are several forums that discuss XNA. This one is about the XNA framework. This one is about the GSE. This is the parent page that lists forums for different game technologies. I've found a lot of good information browsing through these forums.

Another good place for XNA info is their blog.

XNA is a work in progress and they have a bunch of things coming. This is a technology that I'm going to be watching closely.

June 28, 2006

The Microsoft PC

Filed under Computers, Gadgets, Software, Xbox 360

Here is an article about the new Microsoft 22 inch wide-screen LCD. This monitor should be release to go with Windows Vista (probably early next year) and is designed to support some of the new functionality in the OS.

There are two big features I've heard of in Vista that this monitor will probably support:

  • High DPI Support - Should give you a better looking display using more densely packed pixels.
  • Support for HDCP - HD Movies from HD-DVD may require monitors with HDCP in order to play at their highest resolution. Vista is probably going to be the first OS to support playback of HD DVD's that require HDCP.

I knew I'd need to upgrade my monitor to get the best Vista experience. If the monitor is any good, I'll probably get it when it comes out.

There has been a clear line between Microsoft and PC companies like Dell and HP: Microsoft does the software (Windows, Office, etc.) and Dell/HP make the hardware. But with this announcement, Microsoft makes all the hardware components necessary for a full computer: monitor, mouse, keyboard and CPU (Xbox 360). Watch for this, the Xbox 360 could be a very interesting competitor to the PC if Microsoft wants a bigger chunk of the pie. All they need to do is port Office and Internet Explorer to Xbox 360 and you have a very slick PC. And since it is not open like a PC (you can't get Xbox 360 software from just anybody...only from Microsoft), it doesn't have the security problems that you find in Windows, Mac, and Linux (no need to run a virus checker on Xbox 360).

June 23, 2006

Xbox 360 as a DVD Player (Part II)

Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

I previously wrote that I would not use my Xbox 360 as a DVD player due to some motion artifacts I could see.

I did a test again after loading the the Xbox 360 Spring Update. One of the features in the list is improved video quality for DVD playback.

It looks like this update did the trick. I don't see any of the motion artifacts any more. I watched the credits of a movie and they slid up the screen smooth this time (before the Spring Update, the credits would have a slight jerk every second or so). So *now* I will use my Xbox 360 for watching DVD movies.

May 12, 2006

Game Console Genealogy

Filed under Gadgets, Lists, Xbox 360

Here is a list of video game consoles I've owned throughout my life. The first one (Radio Shack TV Scoreboard) took a lot of googling in order to find a picture of it. Apparently I've had a console from every generation except the 3rd generation. My guess is that I was busy playing on computers at that time. I'll do my computer genealogy next.

May 10, 2006

New Xbox 360 Toys!

Filed under Gadgets, HDTV, Xbox 360

E3 is going on this week. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo made some big announcements concerning their next generation consoles. Even though I was a PlayStation guy (I had a PS1 and PS2), I decided to switch to the Microsoft camp and get an Xbox 360 because I thought they had a better game plan than Sony.

Here are some of the Xbox 360 announcements that I'm excited about:

  • HD DVD player
  • Wireless Steering Wheel with Force Feedback
  • Xbox Live Vision Camera - For video conferencing and as an input device for games using "gestures"
  • Wireless Headset
  • Grand Theft Auto IV and download-able episodes
  • Retro games for Xbox Live Arcade: Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, Rally X, Defender, Paperboy, Root Beer Tapper, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Frogger, Contra, Super Contra, Track & Field, Time Pilot and Scramble. Portrait style games like Pac Man (as opposed to normal TV in landscape mode) don't fit on standard TV. To fit on the screen, either the game has to be redrawn at a lower resolution or it is zoomed in. If you want the closest reproduction of a retro game, these solutions are not acceptable. But since the Xbox 360 can do HD, this should no longer be a problem!
  • Live Anywhere - Play online via Xbox 360, PC, PDA, or cell phone in this seamless network
  • PC RF Receiver - use wireless Xbox controller, steering wheel, headset, etc. on your PC
  • Halo 3 - I've never played Halo, but I've heard good things about it

April 22, 2006

HD DVD for Xbox 360

Filed under Gadgets, HDTV, Xbox 360

Xbox 360 and HD DVDA Microsoft executive said in an interview that Microsoft would announce details of HD DVD support for the Xbox 360 at E3 (May 9-12).

I read a rumor that the add-on would be $100! That would be amazing if it is true...and it would change my current HD DVD buying plans.

Currently, component (which is analog) is the the best HD output you can get for an Xbox 360. Support for HD DVD implies that HDMI (which is digital) will be coming. To watch some HD DVD's with content protection, you will need a digital interface like HDMI.

How do you add another optical drive to a system that already has one? Adding another box that needs its own power and will be almost as big as the Xbox 360 seems like the wrong way to do it. Plus, how will it connect to the Xbox 360? A quick check of the back of my Xbox 360 shows that the only open connector is for ethernet. The USB port is in use by my Wi-Fi network adapter.

My guess on how the add-on will work is in keeping with Microsoft's true agenda with the Xbox 360: to connect your TV to your computer. I currently can stream MP3's and photos to my Xbox 360 from my computer. If I had Windows Media Center or Windows Vista, I could also stream video to my Xbox 360. And with a fast enough network connection, I could stream HD video, even wirelessly.

So here is my prediction: Microsoft will release an external HD DVD player for a PC that connects via USB and has HDMI cables for the Xbox 360. Then the PC will stream the HD DVD to the Xbox 360. The first HD DVD player is currently selling for $499. An external HD DVD player for a PC should be cheaper since it doesn't have to worry about a user interface (done in software by Microsoft), a remote, networking, or power (might be able to get it from the USB port). Considering that I found a place offering the first HD DVD player for $399, I would not be surprised to see an external PC HD DVD player for $199.

So there's my prediction...what is yours? Post your thoughts as comments (click on the comments link below) and we'll see who gets the Amazing Kreskin award in early May!



February 25, 2006

Scratching Xbox 360 Discs

Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

If you are looking for a way to ruin your Xbox 360 games…I have found it! It is very simple…
  • Put a game in the unit.
  • Start the game.
  • Switch the orientation of the Xbox 360 (from vertical to horizontal or vice versa).
  • Note extremely loud buzz saw noise.
And that is it! You have destroyed your $60 game. You will notice scratch marks all around the outer edge of your game disc.
Normally I would never switch the orientation of the unit while it is in use. However, I heard a really loud fan noise at one point in a game and I wondered if the noise would be quieter if I put the Xbox flat.
I called Dell about this and they are going to replace the disc Actually, they are replacing everything, since they only have an order number for the Xbox 360 bundle and not the disc. No questions asked! I like Dell.
It sounds like I’m not the only one to run into this. These guys ran into the problem and did a thorough investigation into the cause and how to modify your Xbox so it won’t scratch any more discs. They even have a video that shows how it works (in case you don’t want to try it on your own discs).
Dell did not have any Xbox 360 bundles in stock, so they could not replace my scratched disk. They contacted me about the issue and gave me two choices: a full refund and I return the whole system or they would give me a credit of $50. I took the credit (of course). The game actually cost $50 so it worked out well..I promptly went to Best Buy and bought a new copy of Kameo. I like Dell.

February 13, 2006

XBOX 360 as a DVD player

Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

I watched a couple of movies on my Xbox 360 this weekend. I noticed some motion artifacts that do not show up on my Sony DVD player.  For example, the credits at the end of a movie seem to jerk slightly every second or so. I watched the credits with my Sony DVD player and I did not see any issues. My guess is that the Xbox 360 is taking an interlaced signal and converting it into progressive. This might work better if I had an HDTV, but I don’t.

I’ll try this again when I eventually get an HDTV, but until then I won’t be using my Xbox 360 for watching movies.

February 3, 2006

Xbox 360 Arrived!!!

Filed under Xbox 360

I got my Xbox 360 last night.  Very cool.  I’m anxious to play online against my friends…so add me to your friend list…I’m RGBA . The graphic to the right is my “gamer card.”  It is updated in real time.  My profile name is “RGBA.”  The “Rep” is my reputation.  You start with 3 stars and gain stars when people want to play with you.  When people avoid playing with you, your Rep goes down.  The G is for “Gamer score.”  Every game has tasks you can complete that add to your Gamer score.  Zone is what type of player I am (Recreation = just for fun, not super competitive).  The bottom shows the last 5 games I’ve played.

I used this website to find out who had Xbox 360’s available.  I wanted an Xbox 360 standard system (the one with a hard drive).  Many of the bundles include lots of games and books that I didn’t care about.  I found that Dell had a bundle that was pretty close to what I wanted, for $680 (no mark up on price).  Their bundle included:

  • Xbox 360 (Console with chrome DVD tray, Hard Drive, Wireless Controller, Xbox Live Headset, Ethernet Cable, Component (HD)/Composite (RCA) video cable)
  • 2nd Wireless Controller
  • Play and Charge Kit (cable and rechargeable battery for wireless controller)
  • 13 Month Xbox Live Subscription Card
  • 3 Games (Madden Football 2006, Project Gotham Racing, Kameo)

I found I needed a few more things to get my setup just right, so I ran to Best Buy to get:

  • Wireless Network Adapter
  • S Video cable (don’t have HD TV yet, and wanted a better picture than you get from RCA cables)
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack (so both controllers are now rechargeable)
  • Remote Control (In case I start using my Xbox to watch DVD’s)

I ordered from dell.com on Monday and it arrived on Thursday using their free shipping option…not bad!


About Xbox 360

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to David's Blog in the Xbox 360 category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

WTF is the previous category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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