In light of this weeks announcement about the new XBOX Elite, I thought I’d post about my recent XBOX 360 experience. I picked up a used XBOX 360 on Craig’s list about three weeks ago. It was a bundle with tons of accessories and I have been extremely pleased with the system.
The system is a Core with a hard disk added. It included component cables, a wireless adapter (though I have the box wired to my network), a plug-and-play adapter for the wireless controller, an extra wired controller, a Microsoft wireless headset, 2 64mb memory cards, a Microsoft Driving Wheel, about 9 months left in a Gold Live account, an extra 1-year subscription to Live, a Gears of War branded hard carrying case, and 5 games (Gears of War, Rainbow Six Las Vegas, Need for Speed Carbon, Tiger Woods Golf, Tony Hawk’s Project 8).
I was unable to get the component cables working to my HD TV for a while. My first calls to Microsoft and Samsung, did not result in a solution, though access to their Tech support was good and the technicians were friendly. After buying a component cable for my DVD player to rule out any problem with the TV, I called Microsoft for a second time. Again, I was pleased with the access and this time they were able to solve the problem. My TV was saying the signal from the component was unrecognized. I was unable to try changing the HD setting on the XBOX because no picture would appear, and if I used a different connection from the XBOX, the HD settings were disabled! Seems the key was to plugin the component but ALSO plugin the yellow composite cable so the XBOX detected component, enabling the HD settings, and I could get a video signal to the TV using the yellow composite cable. After changing the HD setting to 720p or higher it worked.
I always said I wouldn’t buy an XBOX 360 until I could hook it up to a HD TV. Boy, was I right. HD gaming is beautiful and the only way to go.
Gears of War has been a blast. Again, playing the campaign co-op with David is a huge bonding experience and the game is terrific. BTW, there is a setting to turn off Extreme Content. It earns it’s M rating with extreme violence (what do you expect with a chainsaw attached to you rifle?) and mature language (several F-bombs). We also hook up with Ed in the evening. Being able to play co-op with a friend online using headsets is a great experience as well since there is no split-screen. Co-op only works with two people. I wish it supported more.
So the XBOX Elite has been officially announced. I think the price is great if you’re buying new. For an extra $80 above the price of the premium you get the bigger hard drive ($179 sold separately), you get new HDMI cables (not that big a deal, though there is disagreement from some, consensus is that it is equivalent to component), and you get a transfer cable to move your content between the old and new HD. The console itself is black and I’m sure it is sweet. There is really no new features, it’s all packaging and accessories which I could get for my 360 so in that respect, current owners shouldn’t feel left out. It’s silly to whine about being left behind. There is ALWAYS something better around the corner in every electronic device you buy. The fact they did not lower the price, but make the new skew a great bargain makes this announcement a win win for old and new fans alike.