XBOX 360

My 360 arrived last night. We have been having a lot of power failures here in Cape Town recently, and wouldn’t you know, there was no power last night for entire night. It came back on at about 6am, and went off again at 7am. VERY FRUSTRATING. Anyway, they seemed to have sorted something out at the power company, and we’ve had uninterupted power since mid morning. (Touching wood!)

The box it comes in is surprisingly small. Everything is packed really well. Setting everything up was disappointingly easy. I like settings, so having everything just basically work straight out the box was a bit boring, for me anyway. The first time you plug it in, it downloads a dashboard update, and then you’re ready to go. It also came with a 1 month free XBOX Live Gold membership.
I have it hooked up to a 19″ flat screen running at 1280×1024 via the VGA cable. The only game I have right now is Dead or Alive 4, and at 1280×1024 with all the Anti-Aliasing and everything else that cool graphics chip does, it looks eye-poppingly good. Especially the African Safari arena. The blades of grass and the texture detail is fantastic, The game is really hard though, but I’m not really a fighting game man. I can’t wait for PGR3 to arrive!!!! That is going to be cool.

I also loaded up Halo 2, which required the compatibility download before it could be played. This happened very quickly, and the game launched. When trying to sign onto XBOX Live though, it kept telling me I had to get a game update. When I clicked Ok, it would take me back to the dashboard saying that the game did not support my display settings. I tried dropping the resolution, but this made no difference. I looked on some forums, and discovered that the Halo 2 content downloader doesn’t support progressive scan, and this is what causes this error when it is connected to a progressive display. I carted the entire thing downstairs and plugged it into a standard TV, and it worked perfectly. I also had to download all the new Halo 2 Map Packs before I could play online. Once this was done, I happily got my butt kicked over and over again on Live. Very cool. Not the butt kick part but….. you know.

The Media Center extender is fantastic. It required a 20MB download on your Media Center to enable it, then it works. It is brilliant. Every transition and effect is there. It’s really great. Trying to navigate around with the controller is a bit difficult. I have ordered the 360 remote, and it will arrive soon. I discovered however that my standard Mediacenter remote works with the 360. Everything works except the volume controls. Not sure if this is by design or not.

I have heard all about these overheating rumors, but everything went fine for me. The unit does get warm, and the air coming out the back is quite warm, but nothing too bad. The power brick (which is surprisingly big to behold) didn’t get much above room temperature either during a good 3 hour session.

It comes with some HD videos on the Hard Drive. One is a trailer for a Snow boarding video, and the other is an Adidas advert, which is pretty good.

DVD playback is acceptable rather than fantastic. The DVD picture quality played on my PC on that 19″ screen is a bit better.

The standard visualizations that come with the built in media player are very nice. Streaming music from my PC via Windows Media Connect works very well. The pictures don’t work so well though. All the music’s album art gets picked up as pictures, which is a bit annoying. This might be a configuration issue on my PC though.

Overall, this is a great piece of kit. Just can’t wait for Project Gotham Racing 3!!!!

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