Archives For Xbox

redring.jpgI was shipping a few packages at the UPS Store and noticed two unrelated individuals in the store with XBox 360s on their way to be repaired. I asked them about it and they both said their XBox 360 quit working and they were experiencing the “Red Ring of Death.” Then the UPS guy behind the desk said there had already been four others that day sending in their 360s with the same problem.

This surprises me because I thought Microsoft had worked out the issues. For those of you who haven’t heard of the Red Ring of Death, check out this wiki article. It says the red lights on the indicator “ring” represent “general hardware failure” and is known by gamers as the infamous “Red Ring of Death.”

Anyone else seen this problem on their XBox 360? Is it only with the older units?

Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Brent Evans Geek Tonic.

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Speaking of media extenders, I’m digging the Xbox 360 Dashboard refresh in conjunction with the updated Connect360. By utilizing UPnP on Mac OS X, Connect360 mimics PC Windows Media Player functionality in streaming content to the Xbox. I’ve played with it before to send pics and music to my 360, but this is the first time I’ve streamed video (Xvid) – it worked very well with the SD .avi content. I’m not sure if I’ll pony up the $20 license fee, as my MacBook Pro usually sits on the coffee table just a few feet away from the entertainment center… I’ve got plenty of USB sticks and I usually close the MBP when watching the plasma.

I had assumed Canada would be the first non-US country licensed for Xbox 360 movie downloads, but it turns out the larger European market (starting with Britain, France, and Germany) are getting video rentals on their console about a year after the American launch. Initially, only Warner Brother movies will be offered – though they intend to make over 40 titles available this month. The Hollywood Reporter writes:

The Xbox Live Marketplace Video Store will provide both standard movies and high-definition versions for rent at the estimated retail price of 3 euros ($4.42) and 4.50 euros ($6.64), respectively. The European rollout of the Xbox Live Marketplace service has been staggered because of the complex licensing issues for video content in different regions and to allow time to make deals with local content providers.

It’s no secret I’m a fan of Xbox Live Marketplace… at least until Amazon and TiVo get onboard with HD content. Quality has always been excellent, even if selection hasn’t. Ordering is painless, though they’re still insisting on the “Microsoft Points” over dollars. I wonder how they’ll be handling those Euros?

Update: Canada is getting video downloads, as well, on December 10th. Current SD movie rentals will cost 460 Microsoft Points ($7.36 CAD) and HD flicks will be 610 Points ($9.75 CAD)

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The rumors (and Davis Freeberg) were right… Microsoft has confirmed next week’s Xbox 360 update will include DivX and Xvid support. However, as Chris Lanier points out, playback is limited to the Dashboard — there’ll be no media extender streaming from Vista or XP. Meaning, we’ll most likely be sneakernetting our compatible video on USB storage. Check out FAQ 10. for the inconsistent playback options.

Additional Fall Update features include Xbox Originals, enhanced online profile and friends list, plus:

several noteworthy changes in the Xbox LIVE Dashboard, from the new Game Store button to the Video Store button to enhanced visuals and descriptions in the video library

Click here for a complete listing of additions and improvements. (How come TiVo doesn’t provide a changelog like this?)

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Yet more details of Microsoft’s December 4th Xbox 360 update have been revealed… In addition to the “family timer” (yawn), we now get word that select classic Xbox game titles will be available for download. Initially, there’ll be seven “Xbox Originals” available for purchase, including Halo 1. However, given the large list of backwards compatible Xbox games it’s safe to assume more Originals will be on tap. At fifteen bucks a pop, I could see myself buying a game or two that I may have missed – though Major Nelson indicates these won’t offer Achievements and obviously the resolutions are old school 480p.

Speaking of the Fall Dashboard update, there’s no official word on additional media format support – though Xvid has been rumored for some time (and DivX is coming to the competing PS3). While we’re talking updates, I’d like to see a better organization of the video download area with more good content. And how about making the controller keyboard accessory useful by letting me type in titles to search for.

(Thanks for the tip, Hatter!)

DivX followed their earnings report with a JP Morgan conference presentation. Having just undergone their quarterly confessional, I didn’t expect to hear any new information.

Luckily, I was rewarded midway through the Q&A session. JP Morgan analyst Paul Coster coyly probed Kevin Hell regarding DivX support on the Xbox 360. The question seemed to catch Hell off guard and, while his initial reaction was enthusiasm, there was something in his tone suggesting that Coster was on target.

Below is the exchange verbatim. However, to fully appreciate the awkwardness of the exchange, I suggest listening in at the 24 minute mark and determine for yourself if you hear a sense of urgency in Hell’s response.

Just a minor point here, but there was a recent Microsoft conference where I believe their media extender now incorporates the DivX codec on it, is that correct? Can you confirm that and does that mean we’re soon going to see Xboxes with DivX on them?

Yes! that, uh, we’re in discussions with Microsoft on that at this point in time, so I can’t go into any great detail on that. Um that is not a certified, that is not a certified or licensed product at this time.

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ESPN Content Lands on Xbox

Dave Zatz —  November 6, 2007

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ESPN and Microsoft have announced Xbox LIVE downloads:

Effective immediately, fans of all ages can access a growing catalog of marquee sporting events and timely programming, including full-length NCAA college football and basketball games, Summer X Games 13, “World Series of Poker,” “The Contender,” “Madden Nation” and much more on Xbox LIVE Marketplace, the leading high-definition video download service.

I obviously support additional partners and digital downloads, but I wonder how many will pay for a game 48 hours after broadcast? As a college football fan, I know the outcomes of all the meaningful games and have no interest in watching old sports programming… for a fee. Especially, since the first batch of games (above) are SD only. However, what I might pay for is something like DirecTV’s Superfan “Short Cuts” — an entire game condensed into 30 minutes or less. Get creative, people!

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The Darker Side of Xbox Live

Dave Zatz —  October 31, 2007

Major Nelson, the voice of Xbox LIVE, is taking a hard line and reminding folks not to share accounts or tamper with acheivements:

As you can imagine, we know how to find out if you do this and we do take action. Even worse, you might have your account and/or console banned from Xbox Live.

I’m all for fair play but, in the grander scheme of things, who really cares how Achievements are met? Especially in light of Microsoft’s much bigger Xbox LIVE problem… I’m talking about the profanity. It’s primarily a verbal problem, but I’ve also encountered questionable Gamertags. Dropping F-bombs in the heat of battle doesn’t bother me (parents may feel differently) and I know I’m guilty of the occasional curse word slip, but hearing tweens/teens repeatedly using the N word or from others wanting to kill Jews and homosexuals is just unpleasant. Regardless of intent (No, Junior. You’re not funny.), it takes away from my gaming enjoyment. I wish I could say these incidents were unusual but, in a casual calculation, 1/4 – 1/3 of Shadowrun Live rounds contained a notable amount of adult language and/or verbal unpleasantries. In fact, if I had children, I wouldn’t let them anywhere near Xbox LIVE with a headset.

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