Monday, May 16, 2005

Xbox 360: Part 1

I was unfortunate enough to spend a half-hour on Thursday night watching the Xbox 360 unveiling on MTV. It was just as bad as I expected it to be, but being a huge console system fanboy, I couldn’t resist seeing any little tidbit about the next generation of consoles.

More interesting I thought were all the articles that got released after the NDA was lifted that night. Like these two articles at Team Xbox talking about the hardware and features of the new console.

After thinking about it for a while, I’ve decided that the thing that excites me the most about the new console is not the possibility of new games, but the built-in media center functionality. That seems pretty odd, but it’s true.

First off, if you look at the games I play, I spend a lot of my game-playing time on previous generation games, re-releases of old RPGs, and only rarely the latest shiniest games.

But more importantly, I love being able to stream videos and music from the computer downstairs to the TV/stereo. Combined with a PVR to record the shows, the ability to sit on the couch and choose from seasons worth of TV to watch is just amazing. The same goes for being able to queue up 13 hours of music for a party, all using playlists of MP3s from the computer.

The problem is that all the current set-top boxes are frustratingly complicated and unreliable (DLink DSM-320), overly expensive (Windows Media Center), or moderately illegal (Xbox Media Center). Having a supported, (hopefully) relatively inexpensive media center sounds terrific to me.

I can see how this could be a good thing for Microsoft too, because it helps them sell copies of Media Center. Using the Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender will likely provide better media functionality, on top of all the functionality the Media Center software has (like a PVR and TV Guide). Plus it helps them get their software into the living room, which is very important if you buy into the theory that the living room will be the next big expansion area for computers.

[ This continues in XBox 360: Part 2. ]

1 comment:

Brenden Johnson said...

Sweet, sweet convergence.
Not to be confused with CONvergence.