I am now the owner of an Xbox 360. I can hear you going “WTF?” just about…now. Rest assured that I, too, share your sentiments.
Actually, I won it at an IT competition for schools along with a copy of Windows Vista Home Premium and Adobe Creative Suite 2. Ergo, It’s free! And it’s a Premium bundle!
Now I was actually intending on selling it away to add to my DRNANC (DM Really Needs A New Camera) fund but after since I already own a Dell 24″ LCD monitor that accepts component video input, I thought what the heck and gave this a try. As you may or may not know, I am not entirely fond of Microsoft’s console, but there’s no harm in free stuff.
The first thing I noticed after plugging in the power was the sound…or rather the lack of. I’ve been hearing everywhere about how the 360 sounds like the spawn of a vacuum machine and a jackhammer, so it’s pretty surprising how little sound it makes even when the disc is spinning. Or maybe I’m just used to being aurally raped by the 4 hard disks and 2 graphics cards running at full speed less than half a metre to my left. Either way, I have nothing to complain about the 360 with regards to noise.
Sadly, another reason why it was so soothingly silent was because there was no audio output. At all. Since the console is meant to be used with a TV and not a LCD monitor, there isn’t a regular audio jack that can be used with PC speakers. It would suck a ton to play without sound but luckily I dug out a previously-useless purchase I made off Ebay some time ago: the Adaptec GameBridge AVC-1440. Impulse buying is a useful skill to have sometimes.
Basically GameBridge is a little USB device that has composite video and audio connectors which allow you to play console games on your PC using the included software. Since the Xbox AV cable contains both composite and component jacks, I plugged the component ones into the LCD and the composite ones into the GameBridge.
Thus, the video signal is sent via the higher quality component cables, while the audio signal is sent through the composite cables into the GameBridge which then passes it to a program running on my desktop which finally outputs the audio through the PC speakers… Overly complicated, but it works. Better than having to buy a new stereo system. LOL.
And now everything works! Although the LCD monitor appears to support component input up to 1080i, the refresh timing is a little off and it can be a huge distraction for your eyes. I guess the LCD monitor wasn’t designed to handle interlaced signals. 720p gives uniform picture quality and is much more suitable. Don’t even try 1080p.
And of course with the Dell 2407WFP monitor, you get to play around with the Picture-By-Picture and Picture-In-Picture options. They look pretty cool.
But I have to admit that they are generally useless. Picture-By-Picture mode is useless for web-surfing so the only use would be if I wanted to play a 360 game while watching anime. Then again, I have my secondary LCD screen for that… Picture-In-Picture mode is even more useless since the box is too small to play games with. It would probably work better with CNN or something.
All in all I’m pretty happy with the Xbox. Sadly, the only included game was a budget copy of Kameo (one of the original launch titles for the 360). Well, it’s not a bad game, but I’m getting a little tired of 3rd person platformers. I need to get my hands on Gears of War and IDOLM@STER. It’s a good thing that Singapore shares the same Xbox region code as Japan. That said, I think I’ll still be selling away the 360 because I really need money for my DRNANC fund. Well, maybe after I’m done with GoW. :P
On another note, I will probably be returning to the world of Azeroth to fight the Burning Crusade this weekend…
Goodbye school grades? LOL. Possibly. ＿|￣|O But at least I’ll have fun.
P.S. Since implementing the image verification script almost a week ago, only about 300 spam comments have been caught by Akismet. Much more manageable than 1000 a day, but I’ll continue to keep an eye out to see if any further changes are necessary.