On November 22, 2005, Microsoft released the long awaited XBox 360, the next generation of its popular XBox gaming console. The XBox 360, however, goes farther than any game system that users are currently accustomed to. The XBox 360 is more like a fully functional, broadband connected entertainment gadget that appeals to gamers but is equipped to entertain the whole family.
Although smaller than the original XBox (The 360 weighs in at a mere 7.7 lbs), this version packs so many nifty features in a small package. If you also happen to own a HDTV, you will truly be able to appreciate the advanced graphics features and support for windscreen (16:9) format. Of course, the console will work on regular television as well, but the depth of the graphics will be particularly stunning on more advanced televisions. The XBOx 360 carries a ATI graphics processor and 10MB of embedded DRAM. This setup allows the XBox 360 to draw up to 500 million triangles per second for the ultimate in realistic graphics.
The XBox 360 unit also has a 12x dual layer DVD Rom drive that serves the dual purpose of playing XBox games as well as ordinary DVDs. There is also additional support for surround sound audio for the ultimate home theater experience and realistic gaming.
For game save and other media storage, you can optionally purchase a 20GB external harddrive which also serves to make the XBox 360 backwards compatible with original XBox games.
The XBox 360 goes well beyond the range of gaming and video with its built-in Ethernet port that allows users to connect via their broadband connection to XBox live (available in various flavors). XBox live will allow you to play live over the Internet, use voice and even video chat and, of course, purchase additional goodies for your XBOx. In addition to ethernet connectivity, you can optionally purchase wireless adapters that comply with the standard wireless 802.11 protocol for integration into your existing wireless network. For other data transfer tasks, such as uploading of your digital photos, digital home movies, and music, you can use the integrated USB 2.0 port. With all of these features, it is a piece of cake to stream all of your digital files.
As you can see, the XBox 360 offers a little something for everyone. Kids can enjoy the futuristic gaming capabilities (check game ratings for age appropriateness), and Mom and Dad can enjoy the file sharing, music and video streaming, and home theater features.
By Amber Lowery