Showing posts with label Xbox 360. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Xbox 360. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Xbox 360 Dashboard

I have played with the updated Xbox 360 dashboard for a few weeks, and really am enjoying several of the new features.  The new additions that I like are better support for using an Xbox Live account on multiple Xboxes and improved support for  new video content sources.

Multi-Xbox support


We have two Xboxes in our house.  The second Xbox is upstairs, and has been used mainly as a Windows Media Extender and as a way to watch Netflix and Hulu content.  We haven't used it to play games because it was too much of a pain to either recover our Gamertags or copy the profile and saved games to a USB thumb stick.

With the new Dashboard update, Microsoft added two features that help with users with multiple Xboxes.

Roaming Profile


Microsoft renamed "recovering" profiles to "downloading" profiles.  With this you can "download" a profile on multiple consoles, with specifying the live.com password.  This allows you to use the same Xbox Live account on multiple consoles (though not at the same time.)  With this functionality, I am able to play a game on the upstairs Xbox while my wife or kids are watching something else on the downstairs TV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRrJ7pVInqI

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3 Xbox Announcements

Microsoft announced several things at the opening keynote for the 2011 E3 conference and in a release.  Personally, I am interested in some of the announcements:

  1. Xbox Live Cloud Storage

  2. Integrated search

  3. Live TV features


Xbox Live Cloud Storage


With Xbox Live Cloud Storage, you should be able to keep your profile, and some game saves on the Xbox Live servers.  This should allow you to go to any network connected Xbox, and log into your profile.  This is better than the Gamertag recovery that you have to go through now.  For users that choose to keep their profile online, I wonder what happens if the user tries to use the account when they aren't online.

Integrated Search


I have mentioned before that it is hard to find a particular piece of content that you are interested in, especially with the  various content provider.  For example, if my kids wants to watch a movie, I currently look on Netflix, then Hulu, then in the Zune Marketplace.  The new integrated search should make this easier.

Live TV


Microsoft is supposed to be providing access to live TV content. I don't know which content partner they will be working with, but I am more interested in how open they allow this to be.  For example, I want to be able to plug in the following sources into my Xbox



  • UPnP ATSC tuners

  • Windows Media Centers


Microsoft was promoting Kinect control of the Live TV experience.  I hope that they also improve the experience when using an Xbox media remote control.  This would reduce the barrier for switching to the Xbox in our house.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Parental Controls in Windows 7 Media Center

Our kids are getting old enough to be able to use our Media Center, so I have enabled parental controls to prevent them from seeing content that is inappropriate for them.  When we had used a TiVo DVR, we had used the parental control and were pretty pleased.  The Windows Media Center implementation of parental controls has several peculiarities:

  • With parental controls enabled, every time you start playing content, that has a rating higher than the specified threshold, you will get prompted for the PIN.  This happens even if you press stop, and then play on the same show.  (I like TiVo's implementation, where once you enter the PIN, parental controls will be disabled for a time, or until the DVR is turned off.)

  • While in the PIN entry screen, content is playing in the background.  So if you take a while to enter the PIN, you will have to rewind to not miss any of the content.

  • The parental controls setting is not applied to playing Netflix streaming content, even though Windows Media Center has had support for Netflix content for a while.  So it is possible that inappropriate content could be view through Windows Media Center's Netflix interface.  (One interesting thing is that the Xbox 360's Netflix streaming implementation respects the Xbox's parental controls setting.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Interesting Kinect features/behaviors

We got a Kinect a few weeks ago, and have really been enjoying it.  There are some interesting features/behavior of the implementation:

  • You can sign into your Xbox Live account with facial recognition, but if you have a PIN on your profile, you will only be logged into your local profile, but not logged in online.

  • While some games let use your avatar while playing, and some will use facial recognition to log into your account, I haven't seen any game that will correctly choose a show more than one avatar, when two people are playing.

  • You are not able to use voice or hand controls to do everything in the dashboard.  For example:

    • You can't use voice or use your body to control Netflix playback

    • You can't open the DVD tray with your voice.



  • You should definitely plan on redoing the KinectID calibration multiple times, to make the facial recognition work well.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Xbox 360 in bedroom

A while ago, I mentioned that my wife bought me the new slim Xbox 360. I was trying to decide where I wanted to set up the old Xbox.  We have been using Linksys Media Center Extenders on each of the other TVs around the house, to give them access to the content on the Media Center.  But the Linksys extenders do not support other content like Netflix streaming.

I decided to set up the Xbox in our bedroom.  (And got the OK from my wife too.)  I have configured it to automatically start up in Media Center Extender mode when the Xbox starts up.  Since I want to access our Netflix streaming account from the Xbox, I created a Xbox Live Gold account for the Xbox, and associated my Netflix account to this Xbox account.

With this setup, I can access:

  • Live and Recorded TV from the Media Center

  • Netflix streaming content

  • DVD content

  • Content from the Zune Video marketplace

  • Hulu, Youtube, and other internet streaming content through the PlayOn server running on the Media Center


Also, we will be able to play games on this Xbox.  (Most likely only when my wife has her woman's group over)

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.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Xbox 360 video games on demand

This post talks about the Video Games downloads that Microsoft announced at this past E3.  With what they are planning, any one who has an Xbox 360 connected to the network, can download full games directly to the console's hard drive.

I think that this is great, especially if you can save money over buying a game on disc.

http://www.viddler.com/simple_on_site/acbebd42

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