I’ve been thinking about buying a Wii or an Xbox360 for a while now (Sorry, Sony) but I think about it and a couple problems keep stopping me.
First off, I think to really appreciate a 360 I’d have to have an HDTV. I know that there have been some technical problems with certain games (Dead Rising notably) on regular analog sets, and I know that the Wii really doesn’t require HD for fun. But my 27″ Symphonic from Wal Mart’s blitz circa 2002 is old and kind of crusty, and I think I am prepared to make the HD leap.
Secondly, Xbox Media Center. If anyone out there has used it, they know what I mean. There is nothing more satisfying to me than using my remote and the Xbox to watch some old TV shows or movies from my file server. It starts up relatively quickly (longer than a DVD player, shorter than an HTPC), and is nicely customizable. I can still use the Xbox to play games (single player only), I can run emulators for old games, I can listen to MP3s on it. I use it every day. It eventually usurped all TV time, because it’s so convenient to be able to pause stuff, watch stuff in just about any format, set bookmarks if I want to stop and start up later. It’s one of the most perfectly designed hardware/software solutions I’ve ever used.
However, despite the fact that everyone I’ve talked to that uses XBMC sees the genius of the package, and overlooks some pretty significant problems with it (inability to turn device on from the remote, technical knowledge and bullshit required to get working in the first place), no commercial company has taken any fucking notice. Brad correctly stated “seems like there should be a $50 chinese thing that would connect to my network and play divx”. But there isn’t. There are media extenders out there that either rely purely on your computer streaming shit to it, or they have bizzaro world format restrictions. Plus they all cost more than the Xbox, even when you factor in a larger hard drive (which isn’t necessary because it plays videos from any windows share, FTP share, NFS share, pocket lint based connection, 3D video cube, or long chain protein biometric storage device). What in the hell are you doing guys? I’d buy 3 right now, one for me, one for my sister, and one for my folks, as long as it has an HDMI out option, can power on from the remote, and retailed for about $100.
Here you go guys, I’m gonna lay it out for you.
Divx/Xvid, AVI, and MP3 compatibility.
Ability to hook to a wired network with a wireless option.
Doesn’t require PC software to stream video to it, just connects to network shares or USB attached storage.
Retails around $100.
I’ll take five.