Sunday, June 27, 2010

Xbox 360 "slim"

My wife and kids bought me  a new Xbox 360 "slim" for Father's Day.  So far, I like the hardware, especially how much quieter it is when compared to my older Xbox 360.

The setup/transfer went pretty easy, especially since the software to transfer data from the old hard drive is included on the new Xbox.  (You do need to purchase the Xbox 360 transfer cable.)  All content was transferred, except for the games that had been installed on the hard drive.  Even though the content was transferred, it was still licensed to my old Xbox.  (The DRM on the Xbox licenses content to the Xbox where the content was purchased, and the Xbox Live account.)

Since I want the content to be playable when my Xbox Live account is not logged in, I needed to transfer the licenses to the new Xbox.  Microsoft has a tool where you can transfer the licenses for your content to a different Xbox.  Unfortunately, after you transfer the licenses, you need to redownload the content.  The download manager on the Xbox only allows 30 items to be added to the queue.  So I re-downloaded the games, but haven't redownloaded the Rock Band tracks that I had purchased.

I do like the hardware on the new Xbox, for reasons other than how silent it runs.  Since HDMI and toslink optical are on board, I can now use HDMI and digital audio.  (There wasn't room with the placement of the ports to use both before.)



Since the Xbox 360 is so quiet, I have been thinking about using the Xbox as our main media viewing interface.  The Xbox is significantly quieter than the computer that we have running Windows Media Center, so I could move the Media Center PC to a closet, and improve the viewing experience in the living room. Since we use Media Center as our DVR, I would configure the Xbox to start up in Media Center Extender mode. This would allow us to watch live TV or any recorded content. The Xbox natively supports Netflix, so we would have easy access to movies and kids shows, and Zune integration would give us access to newer movies.

The one thing that is preventing me from making the switch is that I need to find a solution for watching the movies that I have ripped and are on our server at home. The Xbox 360 can not play video from VIDEO_TS folders. (It doesn't parse the index and it doesn't play across a trasition across multiple VOB files. I could rip the DVD content into single Windows Media files, but I would loose DVD menu navigation.

My ideal solution would be to get the MyMovies interface and functionality through the Xbox 360, including DVD menu navigation.