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Author Topic: XBox 360 for Dummies  (Read 1550 times)
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JCC
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« on: October 23, 2007, 12:03:23 AM »

In this post, I would be the dummy.

With the PS3 still overpriced at $400, and its list of upcoming games not appealing to me, I am considering a 360 now. I have some questions I would like answers for that I haven't found definitive answers for on the xbox.com website. (Or just want confirmation from owners.)

1. Is it true that I can NOT connect the 360 to my receiver via digital coaxial cable? (Only Optical or HDMI)

2. Does the 360 do any upscaling of DVDs? Does it with the HD-DVD drive? Without the HD-DVD Drive? Will it upscale over component cables?

3. Is the 360 remote control an IR remote? (I am pretty sure the answer is "yes".)

4. Does the Elite come with anything extra besides a larger hard drive, a darker color, and an HDMI cable?

5. Is it pretty much accepted that ALL of the HDMI enabled "Pro" models have the updated Zephyr motherboards with enhanced heat sinks?

6. Is it true that virtually ANY ethernet wireless access point will work with the 360 for wireless access?

7. Poking around the games on xbox.com I noticed that Conan is "hard drive required". Are lots of games like this, or is this a fairly new thing? (They should discontinue the core if more games are going to require the HD.)

8. Is it true that the only difference between X-Box Silver and Gold Live memberships is that I have to have Gold to play multi-player online? I still get all the demos, achievements, etc. through a silver account, correct?

If I think of more questions, I'll ask them. Thanks for the knowledge, all!  icon_biggrin
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-John

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CSL
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2007, 12:16:22 AM »

Quote from: JCC on October 23, 2007, 12:03:23 AM

7. Poking around the games on xbox.com I noticed that Conan is "hard drive required". Are lots of games like this, or is this a fairly new thing? (They should discontinue the core if more games are going to require the HD.)

8. Is it true that the only difference between X-Box Silver and Gold Live memberships is that I have to have Gold to play multi-player online? I still get all the demos, achievements, etc. through a silver account, correct?

If I think of more questions, I'll ask them. Thanks for the knowledge, all!  icon_biggrin

7. I think most games can do without the hard drive technically, but getting a harddrive is almost required and no sane person would buy the regular non-Pro bundle.

8. Yes thats the only real difference if I remember correctly, everything else should work.
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kronovan
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2007, 12:23:55 AM »

I don't know all of the answers to your questions JCC, but I'll answer the ones I do.

1. Is it true that I can NOT connect the 360 to my receiver via digital coaxial cable? (Only Optical or HDMI)
A: This is correct for the Pro model. I'm not sure about the Elite model.

2. Does the 360 do any upscaling of DVDs? Does it with the HD-DVD drive? Without the HD-DVD Drive? Will it upscale over component cables?
A: Sorry, I know little or nothing about the 360 Pro's DVD capabilities

3. Is the 360 remote control an IR remote? (I am pretty sure the answer is "yes".)
A: IR

4. Does the Elite come with anything extra besides a larger hard drive, a darker color, and an HDMI cable?
A: Nope. However, I'm certain of the Elite DVD drives' ability to upscale whereas, as I said in question 2, I'm not sure about the Pro's.

5. Is it pretty much accepted that ALL of the HDMI enabled "Pro" models have the updated Zephyr motherboards with enhanced heat sinks?
A: Yes, I've been told by the designated Xbox sales reps at retailers in my area that this is true. However, there are apparently some Elite's available that don't have the improved heat sink

6. Is it true that virtually ANY ethernet wireless access point will work with the 360 for wireless access?
A: I'm not certain about this.

7. Poking around the games on xbox.com I noticed that Conan is "hard drive required". Are lots of games like this, or is this a fairly new thing? (They should discontinue the core if more games are going to require the HD.)
A: If you're referring to the Conan from Funcom, the harddrive is required because, since it's an MMORPG, it will have constant downloadable updates.

8. Is it true that the only difference between X-Box Silver and Gold Live memberships is that I have to have Gold to play multi-player online? I still get all the demos, achievements, etc. through a silver account, correct?
A: That's correct. A gold level account also lets you spectate on online games and there's apprently some exclusive programming -whatever that is- that's only available to gold account members.
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disarm
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2007, 02:58:31 AM »

1. Is it true that I can NOT connect the 360 to my receiver via digital coaxial cable? (Only Optical or HDMI)
A: there are no digital coaxial audio connections on any version of the 360

2. Does the 360 do any upscaling of DVDs? Does it with the HD-DVD drive? Without the HD-DVD Drive? Will it upscale over component cables?
A: the 360, whether you have the HD-DVD drive or not, will upscale DVD over HDMI and VGA outputs.  there is no upscaling over component.  this is not unique to the 360 though...you'll have a hard time finding any quality upconverting DVD that works over component.

3. Is the 360 remote control an IR remote? (I am pretty sure the answer is "yes".)
A: the dedicated remote is IR, but you can easily use the wireless controller as a non-IR method of controlling playback

4. Does the Elite come with anything extra besides a larger hard drive, a darker color, and an HDMI cable?
A: nope...that's pretty much it, and it's unnecessary unless you plan on downloading a lot of video content off the the marketplace

7. Poking around the games on xbox.com I noticed that Conan is "hard drive required". Are lots of games like this, or is this a fairly new thing? (They should discontinue the core if more games are going to require the HD.)
A: it's a relatively new thing for games to require the hard drive...but owning the 360 without a HD is a huge mistake.  the ability to save games without worrying about space on a memory card, downloadable demos, Live Arcade games, themes, gamerpics, marketplace content...skip the HD and miss out on a ton of the 360s capabilities

8. Is it true that the only difference between X-Box Silver and Gold Live memberships is that I have to have Gold to play multi-player online? I still get all the demos, achievements, etc. through a silver account, correct?
A: that is correct...unless you care that Gold access also gives earlier access to demos from time to time
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JCC
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2007, 01:29:15 PM »

Quote from: disarm on October 23, 2007, 02:58:31 AM

  this is not unique to the 360 though...you'll have a hard time finding any quality upconverting DVD that works over component.

Heh. My DVD player will upconvert over component! (albeit with some hacking)  Tongue

Thanks to disarm, CSL, and kronovan for the answers! Very helpful.  icon_biggrin
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2007, 02:08:14 PM »

FWIW, evidently the 360 is a pretty crappy DVD player, upconverting or no. 
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2007, 02:16:09 PM »

I've had no problems with it. "Crappy" is a subjective term. It plays movies. I have the original "free" remote from launch day; I don't normally use my controller, but it can be controlled with that rather than having YARCLAIMB. (Yet another Remote Control Lying Around In My Basement)
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2007, 02:21:12 PM »

Quote from: Purge on October 23, 2007, 02:16:09 PM

I've had no problems with it. "Crappy" is a subjective term. It plays movies. I have the original "free" remote from launch day; I don't normally use my controller, but it can be controlled with that rather than having YARCLAIMB. (Yet another Remote Control Lying Around In My Basement)

Here is a more "objective" report:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2088531,00.asp

Xbox 360 scored an awful 20 out of 130 on the standard tests that the industry uses to evaluate DVD playback. 
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denoginizer
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2007, 02:26:26 PM »

FWIW I have been very happy with my 360's upscaling through the VGA port on a Viewsonic 32" LCD TV.

 I think alot depends on the movie you watch.  For example I thought Band of Brothers and Children of Men looked amazing.  While Saving Private Ryan and 300 looked crappy upscaled both on a 360 and a PS3.

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JCC
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2007, 03:10:36 PM »

BTW, still looking for an answer to #6!

One more.

9. I remember reading reports about some 360's eating discs. Is it still not a good idea to have the 360 stand on its side? (like the Wii) Is there any cooling benefit/detriment to doing so?
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2007, 03:25:50 PM »

I think the PS3 is severely underpriced at 400.  That's a damn cheap Blu-Ray player.   Isn't Sony eating a huge loss at that price point?  I still wouldn't recommend it as a gaming platform (yet).

PS.  My launch 360 is still going strong!  And it hasn't eaten any disks or caused any problems.   Not that you concerns aren't warranted, just saying smile
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2007, 03:34:20 PM »

Quote from: JCC on October 23, 2007, 03:10:36 PM

BTW, still looking for an answer to #6!

One more.

9. I remember reading reports about some 360's eating discs. Is it still not a good idea to have the 360 stand on its side? (like the Wii) Is there any cooling benefit/detriment to doing so?


I am not sure what you mean by 6.  If you have a wired connection to the Xbox, it should work just fine.  The only wireless adapter you can use is the MS one, but it's rather expensive. 

As for 9, I lay mine down flat, but not because of disc eating fears, but because when you stand it upright, you completely block off an entire side of vents.  For a machine that's prone to overheating, it seems foolish to even think about standing it upright and blocking off more ventilation.
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JCC
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2007, 03:39:21 PM »

For #6 I have heard that you can get around the expensive official wireless adaptor by using any normal ethernet wireless access point. I have read that USB wireless access points do NOT work with the 360. I am wanting to confirm that the accepted truth is that any ethernet wireless access point will work.
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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2007, 03:41:56 PM »

The 360 wireless adapter (which can be had off ebay for a decent price) is one of two recognized USB devices for the 360; the other is the original Xbox wireless adapter. Beyond that you can still use an access point ..
( Xbox360 <---Cat5+---> Wireless Access Point <-----Wireless home network ---> internet etc ).

Oh, and if you have it set up on your home network you can get it to stream music, photos (for backgrounds) and movies... although with video use 802.11A or a wired connection.
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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2007, 03:50:49 PM »

I believe any wireless access point should work or any wireless bridge.  I have always used the original xbox wireless bridge (that I got at Goodwill!)  and it works fine.  Please it matches the color of my Elite.  (Now if only I could get a black HD-DVD drive.....)
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« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2007, 03:51:44 PM »

To clarify, a wireless bridge would work that would plug in the ethernet port not the USB.
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JCC
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« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2007, 10:12:55 PM »

Hmm. I have only been able to find one cheap wireless access point locally, but it's gotten bad reviews. I guess I could see if they'll let me return it if it doesn't work.

More troubling is my Costco doesn't have any of the new Pro's with HDMI in stock (which I want more for reliability than the port at this point). Punks. I am tempted to pick one up at Best Buy and take my chances on the new ones being more reliable. Decisions....
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2007, 12:24:45 AM »

I'd wait for costco. Who knows, maybe black friday may see a price drop (however unlikely).
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« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2007, 04:57:39 PM »

I went back and checked again, and Costco does have the HDMI enabled Pro's. I think I was looking for a marker on the front that indicated the HDMI port was included, which wasn't there. But I could see it labeled on the side of the box. I think I am going to wait anyway. Unless I make an impulse buy next month, it'll probably be after X-Mas. And, there's still a tiny part of me that wants a PS3 too, so I want to be sure since I know I won't buy both.
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2007, 05:21:33 PM »

Well my 360 purchase is definitely on hold as we had a vet bill for (ironically enough) $400 yesterday. (I swear it's cheaper to have a kid than to own a cat - let alone two.)

On a lighter note and one that shows how dim I can be: With all my worrying about how to get a wireless access point in my living room, I remembered that I ALREADY HAVE ONE. I have an Airport Express for streaming iTunes to my stereo. Well duh... At least that's one expense eliminated!  icon_biggrin
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2007, 08:26:34 PM »

Quote from: leo8877 on October 23, 2007, 03:34:20 PM

As for 9, I lay mine down flat, but not because of disc eating fears, but because when you stand it upright, you completely block off an entire side of vents.  For a machine that's prone to overheating, it seems foolish to even think about standing it upright and blocking off more ventilation.

I am confused. All the photos I see of the 360 show the side that would be facing down if the 360 is tilted on its side doesn't have any vents. Are these photos misleading?

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/viewer.aspx?productId=1082&assetTypeId=1&shotId=3
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« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2007, 08:55:49 PM »

Quote from: JCC on October 25, 2007, 08:26:34 PM

Quote from: leo8877 on October 23, 2007, 03:34:20 PM

As for 9, I lay mine down flat, but not because of disc eating fears, but because when you stand it upright, you completely block off an entire side of vents.  For a machine that's prone to overheating, it seems foolish to even think about standing it upright and blocking off more ventilation.

I am confused. All the photos I see of the 360 show the side that would be facing down if the 360 is tilted on its side doesn't have any vents. Are these photos misleading?

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/viewer.aspx?productId=1082&assetTypeId=1&shotId=3

That must be a picture of an older design. My 360, which is one of the newer HDMI equipped pro's, has vents on what's the bottom in your linked picture. Mine was manufactured in Sept 07, so that might be 1 of new design changes. I originally stood mine vertically upright ala Wii style. I've since turned it on it's side since I wanted the bottom vertical vent exposed and I was afraid 1 of my kids or their friends might knock it over. I wish they came with a stand like the Wii, but with an added feature that slightly raised the bottom of the unit so the bottom vent would be able to function.
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JCC
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« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2007, 09:01:08 PM »

Thanks for clearing that up, kronovan. smile
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« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2007, 03:04:07 AM »

If you want it vertical, you can actually get one of those little vertical stands that has fans in it.  I'm not talking about that cooler that plugs into the back of the unit, just go to Amazon and type in "Xbox 360 fan stand" and it should show you a couple different models.

I'd prefer to always have a disc-tray media player sitting flat, but some people don't have the room for that. 
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2007, 03:05:59 AM »

If you want a 360 for dummies then you should probably get a Core or an Arcade version.
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2007, 03:48:35 AM »

What? The 360 upscales the resolution of standard DVDs over HDMI? I didn't notice that...
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JCC
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« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2007, 05:06:27 AM »

Apparently I am a dummy who likes to stay in debt. I bought a 360 Pro today. I haven't checked everything out, but I *may* have one of the Pro's with the Falcon in it per what I remember reading online about it from the AVS Forums somewhere. I will maybe look again tomorrow to see if it's for sure.

Anyway, my first day with my 360.... sucked. This was due to no fault of the 360, but due to my assuming using my Airport express as a wireless access point would be easy. Well, it would have been with no security, and maybe easy with WEP security, but I've been using WPA, and let's say after several hours, a lot of googling, some painful installation of 3rd party firmware for my router, and lots of banging my head against the wall, I have determined that the Airport express, the Linksys v6 WRT54g router, WDS, and WPA DO NOT MIX. So, to get on to Live tonight, I disabled my wireless security temporarily (this finally happened at midnight). Anyway, signing on to Live was actually pretty painful. I was waiting for them to ask for my blood type when they finally finished. I don't plan at this point to have a gold membership, but my id is "JCC Davros".

I did manage to play a little bit of Forza 2. It seems fun, a little too sim-ish and not arcadeish enough for my tastes. I must confess the graphics didn't blow me away. Certainly playing at a higher resolution is nice, but I was hoping to be more blown away at my first HD game on my new toy. Certainly my mood wasn't the best. I hope there is a PGR demo to download somewhere. Speaking of which I am downloading The Darkness overnight. We'll see if I can acclimate myself to FPS controls on a gamepad - which I have never been able to do before. I did not get to play Ultimate Alliance yet. I also plan to download Dead Rising's demo ASAP.

And while seeing how much space the 1.2G download would leave me with, I only have 10.2G free on my hard drive!!! WTF?! Even with the preloaded demos, videos, my Forza save, etc. I can't account for about 4G or so. Holy crap! Maybe the elite isn't such a bad idea! Tomorrow I will need to weed out all the Halo 3 videos and other junk.

For now I am going to bed. Tomorrow, I have to figure out if I am going to try the cheapish access point a local parts shop sells so I don't have to give up my precious wireless security. Also I will need to order a 25 ft. optical cable. (my stereo isn't close to my tv - thank goodness for monoprice!!!) Hopefully tomorrow night I will get a bit more fun with the new toy.
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