Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Xbox 360 Accessories - What They Are and Why You Need Them

Welcome to the world of Xbox 360--the gaming world's most powerful, innovative, and advanced platform ever! Since its unveiling on MTV on May 12, 2005, Xbox 360 has taken the world by storm. Preceded by the much-hyped Xbox, this phenomenal gaming platform is the second video game console produced by Microsoft The console completely sold out when it was released in all regions except for Japan. The Xbox 360 platform was developed in cooperation with IBM, ATI, and SIS, and according to Microsoft, has sold over 22 million units worldwide as of September 30, 2008.
The Xbox 360 is available in three console configurations: the "Arcade", the "Pro or Premium", and the "Elite." Each of these consoles comes complete with its own collection of Xbox 360 accessories, including wired and wireless controllers, faceplates for customization, headsets for chatting, webcams for video chatting, Gamercize and dance mats for exercise, three different sizes of memory cards, as well as three sizes of hard drives--120GB, 60GB, and 20GB--each of which are designed to match the console. There are now so many different peripherals in different configurations, colors, styles and technological capabilities, that hard-core Xbox 360 gamers now pride themselves on building their own custom systems.
Here are a few of the major Xbox 360 accessory categories and descriptions of each:
1. Consoles
At the heart of the Xbox gaming system, the console is the "heart, soul and brains" of the platform. It's sleek, ergonomic desktop design looks great in either horizontal or vertical placement. The Xbox 360 console is the component into which nearly all other accessories are attached. The unit measures 3.3 by 12.2 by 10.2 inches and weighs a mere 7.7 lbs. It's power comes from a custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU with three symmetrical cores each running at 3.2 GHz. Furthermore, the console contains a custom ATI graphics processor having 10 MB of embedded DRAM, 48-way parallel floating-point dynamically scheduled shader pipelines and Unified shader architecture. As a point of reference, this is enough power to enable the system to draw 500 million triangles per second....more than needed for great looking games in standard TV definition, which is made even more awesome thanks to built-in support for HDTV 1080i televisions. The console even supports the widescreen 16:9 format. Out of the box, the Xbox 360 console employs a 12x dual-layer DVD-ROM drive, which plays both games and progressive-scan DVD movies. For game-save and media storage, users can select between the detachable and upgradeable 20GB hard drive, or a 64MB flash Memory Unit (sold separately). In addition to storing files, the hard drive makes the Xbox 360 backward-compatible with part of the existing Xbox game library.
2. Controllers
As the name implies, the Xbox 360 Controller is the hand-held device used for navigating and accessing all on-screen activities. It's boomerang-shape--reminiscent of Batman's iconic symbol--fits comfortably in the palm of both hands. The ergonomic design includes left and right shoulder buttons, two analog pressure-point triggers, two vibration feedback motors, and an eight-way directional pad. Controllers come in wired and wireless models. The wired model includes a nine-foot break-away controller cable. The glowing Xbox Guide Button at the center of the controller provides quick access to digital movies, music, and your game libraries. You can even contact your friends on Xbox live as well as customize your gaming experiences. The controller even includes a port for your Xbox 360 headset. Many users consider the standard Xbox 360 controller to be the best gaming controller ever made.
3. Adapters
Wireless network adapters let you configure your Xbox 360 system to your home wireless network to quickly get online and into the game. These adapters are easily configured, seamlessly synchronizing with the Xbox 360 system. Once connected, you can easily transfer videos and music to your system from your Media Center PC, chat with friends, play games via Xbox Live and more, all without the clutter of wires.
4. Batteries & Charge Kits
Rechargeable battery packs and charge kits are recommended for use with wireless controllers. With these packs, you rarely need to buy batteries. With a normal rechargeable life, the packs last a year or two and can be charged while the unit is being used. While the Xbox 360 off, the unit can simply be charged from your computer's USB port.
5. Hard Drives
With the Xbox 360 Hard Drive, you can expand your Xbox 360 experience with downloadable content. These devices let you save your games, Xbox Live gamer profile, game demos, and custom soundtracks from your own music collection. The device also lets you play an assortment of original Xbox games and even comes preloaded with an Xbox Live Arcade game, music, and videos.
6. Headsets
Many different types of headsets designed specifically to work seamlessly on Xbox 360 system are available for the Xbox 360 platform. From the Xbox 360 wireless headset to the over the ear headset, to headset earbuds, each style lets Xbox 360 gamers choose the perfect fit for them. Regardless of the style you choose, you're guaranteed enhanced clarity and performance, stylish ergonomic design for comfort, and state-of-the-art radio technology for crisp, clear reception and audio delivery.
7. Remotes
Remotes for the Xbox 360 range from the Universal Media Remote to the Light Up Wireless Remote to the Intelligent Report, among an assortment of others. The Universal Media Remote, for example, functions as an integrated control center for the entire Xbox 360 experience, all with the touch of a single button. You can play DVD movies and music, control your TV and Media Center PC, all with this single remote. The Intelligent Remote 360, on the other hand, is a self-programming remote that learns the functions for other remotes.
8. Faceplates & Skins
Faceplates and console skins are sticker graphics that allow the Xbox 360 gamer to customize their hardware components towards their own personality traits and characteristics. The typical faceplate and skin designs range from the psychedelic to iconic representations of favorite Xbox 360 games like Halo and Guitar Hero II.
9. Cables & Wiring
Having the right cables and wiring enhances the Xbox 360 gaming experience. As users upgrade their TVs, they may also need to upgrade their cables in order to retain the sharp, crisp details they've come to expect from the Xbox 360. One user describes how he converted from a CRT television to a 60-inch plasma and lost a tremendous amount of resolution in the process. By upgrading to Xbox 360 VGA HD AV cables, he suddenly notices that game images became intense and crisp. The details seemed sharper and fonts displayed during character's conversations became clear and legible. In short, he was blown away at the quality difference he obtained through something as simple as an upgrade in wiring.
As you can see, the Xbox 360 system is hardly a generic, one-size-fits all platform. Rather, it is a highly sophisticated, multi-component gaming system allowing users to customize their game play based upon style, preferences, and performance needs.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The NEW Xbox 360 Slim Review

Xbox 360 Slim Review
UK RRP (as reviewed): £199.99 (incl. VAT)
US RRP (as reviewed): $299.99 (excl. Tax)
UK Release Date: July 16th, 2010
The first noticable change about the 'Xbox 360 S' Is the new impressive design totally different to the premium Xbox 360 design which involved an overall bulky and unattractive body. The 'S' console is the total opposite in every physical aspect of the premium; It's every gamers dream. A lightweight, attractive console which takes the best bits from it's father console the premium Xbox 360 and adds on-top new innovative features such as touch sensitive eject and power buttons which require you to hover your finger over them to eject or turn your console the console all comes in two versions the glossy and the plain version both of which you can find on the internet. there is also other features such as a built-in wireless scanner instead of buying the Ethernet Network adapter which you have to admit... Was ugly, it kinda' turned your 360 into a radio with that big antenna sticking out the back of your console. The 'S' has none of that since Microsoft have finally addressed the 360's lack of WiFi, integrating 802.11 b/g/n wireless networking. Hooray! Do you remember that ridiculously oversized hard-drive stuck on the side of your 360? Yes you do, well there's no more of that the 'S' Hard-drive is hidden behind a pull-away panel on the side of the console and slots right in and out of there and is much smaller than the premiums and it is also 250GB in size, much bigger than the Xbox 360 Elites 120GB Although the 'S' isn't much slimmer than the original Xbox 360 it is most defiantly shorter when stood on it's end personally, I think this console should be renamed 'Xbox 360 Shorter' however; the name isn't a big deal since the console is still slimmer by the tiniest bit and shorter by a larger amount here are the dimensions of the Premium Xbox 360 and the 'S'
Xbox 360 Premium 305 x 260 x 82mm (H x D x W)
Xbox 360 'S' 270 x 260 x 78mm (H x D x W)
As you can see, the change isn't remarkable however it is still quite a lot to knock of the overall size of the 360 So, it's roughly half a centimetre slimmer and three and a half centimetres shorter when you buy the Xbox 360 Slim you also get a single black, wireless controller, a wired headset and a composite video cable. While there's no HDMI Cable in the box, the Slim does have HDMI output. On the other hand, the Xbox 360 Slim has lost some features too. The old useless in my opinion memory card ports have been swapped for two extra USB 2.0 ports, which begins to make sense when you realize that a recent Xbox 360 Firmware update added USB storage to the console.
Therefore you now have five USB 2.0 ports on the Xbox 360 Slim in total (two more than previous console versions); three on the back, two on the front under a hinged panel just like the previous console versions.
You may think 'what the hell is that' when you look at the rear of the 'S' That my friend is the new port especially for the Kinect, Microsofts camera-based motion sensor controller similar to that of the WII's except you need no controller! This port will provide power to the Kinect sensor if you decide to buy it meaning that 'S' owners won't have to use a separate power source for Kinect; the owners of the older xbox 360 console models will still be able to use Kinect, but will have to use a separate power lead.
I'm guessing your all waiting too hear the good news the chances of getting the infamous 'RROD' (Red Ring Of Death) Have been reduced by far the 'S' has one large fan which operates way better than the others 360 models two small fans. The heating is exhausted out of the back of the 'S' console however the older models
My conclusion to the Xbox 360 Slim is an improvement rather than an entirely new machine. It doesn't offer any new features which will blow you away, nor will it provide faster or better looking games. It's hard to feel short-changed - you are still getting an Xbox 360 for a penny under £200 - Although we are impressed. It's good to see that Microsoft have appeared to have solved the design flaws at last but it has taken them quite some time.
The new Xbox 360 doesn't massively update the platform in any real way, so we can't see why anyone who already owns an Xbox would upgrade. If you're planning on picking up an Xbox then it's definitely worth opting for a Slim over any other models unless you are on a tighter budget, thanks to the WiFi, improved storage and the re-thinking of the cooling design.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Xbox 360 Controller Repair - Do it Yourself

Repairing your Xbox 360 controller yourself, is it possible? of course it's possible, a little discipline, accompanied by a controlled approach and yes, you can save heaps of money and get your Xbox 360 controller back on line fast with little or no expense, just follow along.
Firstly, make sure that it is no longer under warranty, if it is just return it to the store you purchased it from and let them fix it. If it is out of warranty, and you return it for repair, they will charge you heaps, so better look into repairing it yourself, it really is no big deal.
If your buttons are sticking or even dead there is a good chance that you can repair it yourself. You only need basic tools such as a small Philips head screwdriver and a long nose pair of pliers.
Start by removing the 7 screws underneath that hold the controller together, turn it over and remove the top cover. Carefully lift out all the buttons and rubber pads. To remember how to reassemble correctly it is a good idea to make a drawing of the layout of the colors, etc.
Carefully clean everything in rubbing alcohol using cotton swabs and soft lint-free cloth. Make sure buttons and pads are very clean.
When you are sure that everything is clean and dry, you can begin replacing the buttons, pay attention as to how they seat, they will only go in one way, do not force. Replace pads, re-install cover and screws. Make sure all buttons move freely with no stickiness. Power it up and see how your repair worked.
Xbox 360 repairs are easy if you are careful, if you do not possess basic technical skills, better enlist a buddy, who has them.
As you no doubt will be getting a lot of use out of your Xbox 360 it's probably a good idea to invest in a repair manual, it will save you loads of money in the long run and when you become proficient at repairing them, you may be able to fix them for your friends for a small fee.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Evolution of the Xbox Kinect

Microsoft's Kinect, the latest in a long of line of Xbox 360 accessories, has met with overwhelming success in the months since its release. With 8 millions units sold in the first two months, it trumped the iPad as the fastest-selling electronic gadget of all time. Despite this, it has met with something of a mixed reception from the critical community... not because of any flaw in the device itself, but because of its somewhat limited game library. The original Xbox saw huge success because of its "killer app" Halo. So what is Kinect's killer app? What's going to convince the average gamer that this device is more than just an expensive EyeToy?
The answer is coming from a surprising source: the homebrew geek community, who have hacked Kinect and put it to all sorts of creative and revolutionary uses. By hooking up the Kinect to desktop PCs, netbooks and a variety of other computing devices via USB, they've found new and exciting ways to use Microsoft's 3D camera. For example, one enterprising geek created a 3D version of Tetris, where you manipulate the pieces with your hands and the camera perspective with your head. Other video games that have been adapted for Kinect by geeks are Minecraft, Mario Kart, and even Super Mario Brothers.
But it's not just classic video games that are receiving the royal treatment. One guy used Kinect to create an actual working air guitar! Just imagine a future version of Rock Band without the cheesy plastic instruments. Another used Kinect to add real-time lightsaber effects to his wooden sword, the dream of every Star Wars nerd. And the Kinect's infrared sensors make it a true three-dimensional camera, able to take pictures of an object or person at multiple angles. Geeks have used this ability to create 3D computer models of their rooms, furniture and everything.
But what about more practical applications? With a simple Kinect hack and a little bit of video editing magic, one geek used Kinect to erase himself from video footage in real-time... like he had become entirely invisible! Another used it as a sensory eye for his flying robot, giving it 3D vision far greater than that of any normal human. Could this seemingly innocuous video gaming device usher in a whole new era of robotics?
Microsoft has realized that the Kinect has endless potential, beyond anything they envisioned when they first created it. That's why there are rumors that they'll be adding official Kinect support to PCs and Macs in the upcoming months. And the geek community will be ready, with a whole new stable of impressive hacks that will change the way we interact with computers forever.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reasons Why Xbox Live Is Becoming Increasingly Popular

Since the introduction of Xbox live, many players have become drawn to it and prefer using it when playing. This is where the player signs up for a membership and they can be able to have the time of their lives when playing. Here one can either choose the silver or gold options to have a good time. These can be bought for a period of one year, three months or a month depending on the one that the player prefers to use. The good thing about this is that beginners can pick the shortest time and use it up to find out if they want to continue using it or not. Some of the reasons why it is liked by many people include:
Allows one to interact with different players from all over the world, this is very important as one does not have to get bored playing alone. Here you can set up competitions to find out who is better at the game, which is a very good step if one wants to be a better player. The players can also form teams to make the games more interesting. Here they can chat with one another as they play and who knows maybe good friendships can be cultivated through this.
The players are also allowed to download the content they want straight from Microsoft, which makes the process much easier and fun. It also reduces tremendously the chances of getting fake content that could be bad for the system since one is getting it from a trusted supplier. The players also get very many demos from Xbox live membership of the games they want so that they do not have a hard time playing and instead enjoy the process since they get the instructions and how it is played without a problem. This also allows one to enjoy online multiplayer.
This also helps one to buy the games that they will have fun with since they access the demos thus knowing what the games are all about. One is also able to get updates of the games to know what is going on in the gaming industry. Armed with this information, one is able to know the latest game in the market as well as the player's favorites so that a lot of time is not wasted choosing the one to play.
It is also very easy to use and can be used by everyone without many complications. One also gets fixes for the games enabling one to avoid any glitches or improving and fixing the existing ones. This is also a great avenue where players can get money and other prizes when they join competitions set up by the gamers and win them enabling one to have an unforgettable time and giving them morale to play more games. This can also be used to chat with friends and loved ones to keep in touch.