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Aging Consoles Find New Life As Video Streamers 255

Posted by Soulskill
from the everybody-needs-a-second-job-these-days dept.
MojoKid writes "Microsoft's Xbox 360 console is six years old. The Nintendo Wii is five years old, and so is the Sony PlayStation 3. All three are due for an overhaul (can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?), and while they're still popular gaming platforms, consoles are really starting to shine as streaming media centers. According to market research firm Nielsen, streaming video on game consoles is up over last year. Xbox 360 owners now use their consoles to stream video 14 percent of the time, which is almost as much as PS3 users (15 percent). But it's the Wii that sees the most time as a streaming device, with Wii owners using their consoles to stream video a third of the time."
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Aging Consoles Find New Life As Video Streamers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:24PM (#38403402)

    >(can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?)

    yes, I do it daily... TF2 still rocks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, alas, not all of us can upgrade from our still working computers to newer ones just for the sake of gaming. Solitaire FTW!

      • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:13PM (#38404080)

        Yeah, alas, not all of us can upgrade from our still working computers to newer ones just for the sake of gaming.

        Hell, how many PC games nowadays are just shitty console ports in the first place?

        I haven't played a game that really taxes a system since the original Crysis, and my circa-2008 Q6600 gaming rig with a couple Radeon 4670's in it has been able to play anything that's come out at perfectly reasonable medium/high settings to this day.

        The era of needing to upgrade every 6 months to play new computer games is dead, and it's been dead for a while now.

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:37PM (#38403620)

      Yeah, it's easy, because most games these days are designed for consoles that are about as powerful as a five-year-old PC.

    • I also play TF2 more than any other recent game. It has hilarious moments all the time, and really good gameplay with the different classes. Funny thing is that it isn't even being updated for consoles, while Valve keeps adding new content and gameplay elements all the time on PC.
    • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:45PM (#38403740) Homepage

      Simply play older games.

      A lot of "old" stuff is still perfectly playable and better than a lot of newer stuff.

      Classics tend to be like that.

      • by Belial6 (794905) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:58PM (#38403936)
        GOG.com is the place for that too. Cheap prices. DRM free.
        • This. A million times. I've spent more money at GOG.com in the past year than I've spent on my Xbox360 library since I've owned the system.

      • by jank1887 (815982) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:07PM (#38404010)

        even simpler than that:
        if a game was fun to play 5 years ago when it was new, but I never got around to playing that one, why would it not be fun today? the few pc games I play anymore would be considered 'abandonware' even though they're all from this millenium. I was trying to hunt down my Monkey Island Madness CD for my 10 year old, as it came up in conversation and she expressed interest. Games don't just stop being fun because they're old, and there's a HUGE library of games out there. My kids DS plays gameboy advance games. I walk into gamestop, he uses his allowance to pick out 2-3 new (to him) games from the used GBA game bin, and he still has money left over. Or, he can get one DS game (maybe) with that same allowance. He figured out the math pretty fast.

        • even simpler than that:
          if a game was fun to play 5 years ago when it was new, but I never got around to playing that one, why would it not be fun today?

          Dude, you obviously don't understand the NEED to get that iPhone 5 / Verizon Galaxy Nexus / Tesla Roadster.

          Neither do I .

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          Even if you don't buy used games, you can still save a lot of money.

          PS2 games drop(ped) to around $20 each after a while (even non-Greatest Hits ones). PS3 games seem to be dropping to around that price too, though AFAIK the official Greatest Hits price is $30. (I just got my PS3 via a Black Friday deal, but had been buying various PS3 sequels & other games I likely was interested in, for $20 or less.. Best deal was a recent Fry's price match of under-$6 for Uncharted 2 GOTY edition! It was "closeou

        • by hipp5 (1635263)

          Games don't just stop being fun because they're old

          Not 100% true. I just discovered www.abandonia.com, which is basically a collection of pre-2001 games for free. I was super excited about all the classics from my childhood on there. But when I tried to play a lot of them I just couldn't do it for more than a few minutes. Back in those days I guess we were just more accepting of bad control schemes and interfaces. Now I've been spoiled.

          But yes, I do agree with your statement in general. There are quite a few old games out there that are just as fun to play

    • by Toonol (1057698)
      Right. Nearly everything I play is at least several years old. A good portion of my computer gaming time is still playing SNES and Genesis games.

      This inability of some people to consider older games as viable is as silly as refusing to watch any movie made prior to the 90's.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:49PM (#38403794) Journal
      Let's crunch the numbers: It's the thick end of being 2012 now. Not quite; but a 6 year old computer would be a somewhere in 2005 piece of kit.

      Depending on how much you spent at the time, that would mean an LGA775, 90nm, 'Prescott' P4 at between 2.8 and 3.8GHz(stock) or a socket 745 or 939 A64 somewhere between 1.8 and 2.6GHz(stock).

      Either of those would(unless you bought a really crappy motherboard, in which case it probably wasn't a gaming PC anyway) almost certainly have had a 16x PCIe slot, so they would be fully compatible with almost any video card released in the last six years. If you bought in 2005, a GeForce 6800 or RADEON X800/X850 would have been available, if not necessarily inexpensive. Either of those would happily enough play F.E.A.R. or CoD2 at 1280x1024 at 30FPS, and those were considered comparatively intensive games for their time.

      Actually kitting your 2005 system out with 4GB of RAM would probably have been too rich for most buyer's blood; with one or two being more likely; but most motherboards of the era(again, omitting cut-down junk that would never have been gaming, even at the time) should have 4 DDR2 slots, making an upgrade to an adequate-for-most-games 3 or 4GB quite cheap assuming your original configuration was 2x512 or 2x1GB.

      Sounds totally doable to me, even if you aren't a retro-gaming enthusiast...
      • Even if you had only 2 RAM slots, a 2x4GB upgrade is only $40 or so these days.

        Of course, in my case I'm OS-limited (I went ahead and got 8GB when replacing my motherboard and therefore going DDR2->DDR3, but I still use Windows XP 32-bit so the OS only "sees" 3GB of it).

    • So does my Commodore 64. I was playing a game just last night.

  • No wonder that set-top boxes don't sell.
    • Power (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dan East (318230) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:22PM (#38404212) Homepage Journal

      No wonder that set-top boxes don't sell.

      The bad part about this is that the set-top boxes draw a very small fraction of the power as the game consoles, which are power hungry beasts. I'm just spouting crap off randomly, as is my wont, but the Wii would have to be the lowest power consumer of the 3 major console systems. However the Wii would still be vastly more power hungry than a Roku, TiVo or Apple TV.

      Okay, okay. I can't believe I'm doing this here on Slashdot (backing up my assertions with references) but here you go:
      http://www.hardcoreware.net/reviews/review-356-2.htm [hardcoreware.net]
          The Wii uses 1/10th the power of an XBox 360 or PS3. A quick search shows that a Roku uses around 5-6 watts when in use, which is half of the Wii's 11 watts.

        So the moral of the story - using an XBox 360 or PS3 for streaming is very, very inefficient power-wise compared to dedicated set-top boxes or even the Wii.

      • 1. That's power usage during game play. 2. What year is the article posted? I can't find a date listed. The newer Xbox360 and PS3 models are more efficient than the older models.
        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          The xbox360 is essentially a computer. Even in a low power state computers scale, but don't scale to 1/10th of the power. If you have a computer with a high end video card you get the biggest powersavings not playing games. Typically 100watt vs 400watt. If you don't have a dramatically high end video card it'll be more like 250watt vs 100watt.

          Add to that recent innovations and pushes for green technology have meant that energy efficient powersupplies are now 80% efficient at worst. Woot! 80%. But the Xbox36

      • Re:Power (Score:5, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:39PM (#38404396) Homepage Journal

        So the moral of the story - using an XBox 360 or PS3 for streaming is very, very inefficient power-wise compared to dedicated set-top boxes or even the Wii.

        Unfortunately, the Wii only does 480p. That's OK if you don't have much bandwidth and you're streaming Netflix, which is my situation, but it's a bit pathetic if you have a >40" 1080p TV and you're trying to stream something from your local server. What's worse, it doesn't actually have enough CPU to decode any high-res streams and scale them down, so you're pretty much limited to SDTV-resolution media. The 360 and PS3 are DLNA clients, so you can use them with PS3MediaServer on your PC to play anything that they can't handle themselves because they don't have a codec. Of course, that means you also have to have a computer capable of transcoding the media in realtime running at the same time, and ticking over nicely to boot. But it's the only solution that permits you to play essentially any file you might come across. The original Xbox with XBMC used to be that solution, but it can't handle 1080p media and it has only 1080i (or 720p, or lower-resolution) output.

        The original Xbox was pretty good for its day, but it's pretty pathetic by modern standards. The Wii is what you'd really like to use, if only it had a touch more CPU and HD output. The next Nintendo system is supposed to cover those bases.

        • by Ark42 (522144)

          I think the fact that almost nothing I watch on Netflix is even available in HD makes the Wii a fine choice. That, and I'm not about to pay any amount of money for a "gold" account to use my Xbox 360 for the same function. What a frickin rip-off! Not sure where Microsoft gets off thinking that's a good idea.
          Anyway, 480p is DVD quality, and while it's not HD, I'm perfectly fine with it, even on my 60".

      • by SomePgmr (2021234)
        This is one of the reasons I picked up a Roku. It's fast and easy to get to my streaming sources, no crap in the way. It uses very little power, makes no noise (unlike the 360's, which sound like jet engines) and it takes up a space slightly larger than a deck of cards.

        For what they do, they're hard to beat at $50... or whatever they go for now.
      • by timeOday (582209)
        The idea of using my XBox 360 for streaming video is almost laughable - it's as loud as a hairdryer, draws a lot of energy, and doesn't have HDMI out (yes, it's an old one).

        Meanwhile, any new TV has streaming built right in. We watch netflix on it very frequently.

        So while consoles may undercut set-top boxes, TV's themselves undercut both, if streaming video is all you want.

  • I definitely use my PS3 to stream Netflix more than I play games on it. Although, that is only the case because I built my own gaming PC last year. If I didn't have my gaming PC I'd definitely be playing my PS3 a lot more.

  • Wii.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msauve (701917) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:27PM (#38403454)
    The Wii has a pretty good Netflix client/interface. MUCH better than on my TiVo (which mostly just rebuffers and crashes). But, I recently got a Roku XD for $50, and that's better, still. Plus, it does HD and HDMI, which the Wii doesn't.
    • by LanMan04 (790429)

      Huh, my TiVo HD XL (not the Premiere) does great playing Netflix, 720p/Dolby Digital and all. You can't do anything other than play what's in your queue (you can't add to your queue), but I never have buffering/crashing issues with it.

      • by msauve (701917)
        This is a Series 3 (HD). There are multiple, similar reports from other users. TiVo seems uninterested in fixing it.

        Does the "back 10 seconds" work on your's, or does it have to stop and rebuffer? I can't remember if that was even supported by TiVo, it's been so long. On the Wii, you don't instantly go back, but you can select a key frame to go back to, then it rebuffers from there. The Roku has a "back 7 seconds" button, which works well, even going back multiple times.
        • by ewieling (90662)
          Netflix was one of the reasons I replaced my old Series 2 box with a Premier box. I was VERY disappointed. I can accept there will be some latency when streaming Netflix, but the issues with no video, lockups and crashes are what I don't consider acceptable. I don't have buffering issues, like some people report, but I don't use HD.

          I upgraded for Netflix, OTA Digital subchannels which my cable provider does not have, and for when I get an HD TV.

          If Netflix was the only reason I upgraded, then I would ha
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Roku is the way to go for internet streaming. My only real complaint is that it doesn't do local streaming. That is a major down side for me.
    • by Teckla (630646)

      The Wii has a pretty good Netflix client/interface.

      You mean HAD a pretty good Netflix client/interface.

      A recent update to the Netflix client on the Wii turned it into a huge pile of slow, laggy, ugly crap.

      Also, since the "upgrade", I often (maybe 20% of the time) can't get streams to start at all. Sigh.

      Netflix is increasingly losing their way.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The Wii has a pretty good Netflix client/interface.

      Sadly, it was better before the latest update. Anyone tried going back to the old one? I downloaded some files for a channel that says Netflix V1, which I'm hoping is not the one that came on the disc.

  • what? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:30PM (#38403496)

    (can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?)

    What's so hard to imagine? Tons of people do it just fine.

    • (can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?)

      What's so hard to imagine? Tons of people do it just fine.

      Its also a bogus comparison. Consoles don't have a constant stream of upgraded CPU, RAM and video cards. In comparison the hardware specs of consoles are static. So a game written in year 1 of the console's life has the same hardware requirements as a game written in year 5 of the console's life. If that year 5 game has better visuals it is only because the programmers have greater experience and skills with respect to getting every bit of performance out of that 5 year old hardware. This is quite different

  • by Dahamma (304068) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:32PM (#38403530)

    But it's the Wii that sees the most time as a streaming device, with Wii owners using their consoles to stream video a third of the time.

    The fact that a Wii is used for streaming 33 *percent* of the time has nothing to do with the *amount* of time spent streaming. It's not only possible, but very likely that XBox and PS3 users spend a lot more total time using their consoles than Wii users.

    • by jzarling (600712)
      I agree - I have a Wii, and its strictly casual gaming, and Netflix for me - I would wager 80% of the time its Netflix.
  • All three are due for an overhaul (can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?)

    It's this kind of thinking that leads to divorce - and, no, I would never want to re-purpose my spouse as a "media streamer".

  • I used mine for streaming video for years. I even bought the remote for it. Worked really well, until I got a hold of an Apple TV and hacked it. Apple TV Works great as a video streaming device.
  • I just recently started using my Xbox 360 for streaming Netflix, primarily because it supports 5.1 sound but also because of the better interface. My blu-ray player will do streaming also, but is rather more limited and only does stereo. The downside though is that Microsoft requires you to have an Xbox Live Gold account to do this, which is a whole other subscription on top of the Netflix subscription.

  • Yes, I can (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) * on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:36PM (#38403610)

    can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?

    These days, I could. Because the 80s and 90s were something of a fluke in which hardware was progressing at a rapid rate, it coincided with the growth of the video game industry and attracted a lot of hardware geeks. But that era is gone, and hardware has stabilized to the point where new games are coming out targeting five year old hardware, and most people are okay with it. Skyrim runs on my first-generation Intel iMac from 2006.

    Diminishing returns in game development has reached the point where the jump to more powerful hardware, and therefore even higher-fidelity visuals, is just costing too much to justify the expense. That is the state of technology today. Some people don't like it because they want to forever relive the glory days of 90s MHz marketing and 3D card upgrades, but it's over, and thank goodness.

    • Re:Yes, I can (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:51PM (#38403832) Journal

      Really, gaming is all old PCs are good for. The Apple II, TRS-80, Atari 800, all over 30 years old. I can't imagine doing productivity work on them but the games they play are as much fun today as they were 30 years ago.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I can't imagine doing productivity work with less than 24 rows by 80 columns... but I remember getting a lot done with that. The games on my double-1680x1050 PC are much more awesome, though. And clearly WYSIWYG is a lot more rewarding.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          I can't imagine doing productivity work with less than 24 rows by 80 columns... but I remember getting a lot done with that.

          Yeah, it's possible to do real work in 40 columns, but not unless you have to.

          The games on my double-1680x1050 PC are much more awesome, though.

          Games might inspire more awe in high definition, that's a fair point. But that's significantly different than "fun". The sense of awe only lasts an hour or so, and then you have to rely on gameplay.

          And clearly WYSIWYG is a lot more rewarding.

    • These days, I could. Because the 80s and 90s were something of a fluke in which hardware was progressing at a rapid rate, it coincided with the growth of the video game industry and attracted a lot of hardware geeks. But that era is gone, and hardware has stabilized to the point where new games are coming out targeting five year old hardware, and most people are okay with it. Skyrim runs on my first-generation Intel iMac from 2006.

      For better or worse, there's a reason PC games have no issues on five year old hardware, and it's not because hardware has slowed down.

      99% of PC games released now are ports from the consoles. Usually the only extras you get on PC are the trivially easy ones: support for higher resolutions, higher fps, and larger textures. If games didn't need to worry about running on ancient console hardware, they'd be able to look a lot more stunning on the PC.

      There's also the problem of Windows' graphics stack introdu

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:37PM (#38403626)

    Up until my TV died last christmas eve and I replaced it with a new one that had netflix built in. Although now the Xbox has Hulu plus as well. I did let my XBL subscription lapse last spring. With netflix built in, no longer needed it and wasn't playing many games. Now that it's winter I've gotten a new 1 year XBL subscription along with Battlefield 3.

    My TV, internet, phone bundle is $150 a month and that includes all the premium channels, HDTV, DVR, etc. I thought about just getting cable internet and then Hulu plus and netflix and MLB.tv. But I got to adding it up and without the bundle the total would still be around $100 per month. And there would be a few shows I like and would miss or else have to order via iTMS or another source. And I'm not really interested in Bit Torrenting.

  • by sirroc (1157745)

    My 4 year old has turned my PS3 into a Netflixstation 3. Though I'm just as guilty; it is just so damned convenient!

  • can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old?

    Yes I can, because I do. Plus, thus far, all major games have a minimum requirement of DirectX 9 which shipped in 2002.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:46PM (#38403748)

    Carrier IQ?

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:51PM (#38403822)

    Nintendo did it right in terms of how it handles its realtionship with netflix.

    Microsoft insists you have gold membership before you can use netflix on the 360. This costs you an extra 10$/mo. Combined, if all you want is streaming, this costs you 18$/mo. This double dipping to use netflix prompted me to shell out the one time cost of a wii. It streams netflix 80% or more of the time I use it.

    I recently set up a sony blueray disc player for a friend of my sister's, which can stream netflix. In order to activate it, you have to agree to an eula from sony, register the device for streaming through sony, agree to a sony tos, *THEN* you can activate the device through netflix. Once you do, the netflix experience is lacklustre, having super teeny tiny cover art thumbnails, and a terrible search experience from the remote.

    I had none of those issues with the wii. Go to the wii market, pull the free app, sign up with netflix and register the device, and off you go. No 3rd parties to the transaction, no eulas and tos to agree to with nintendo to enable it, nada. The cover art is the wii netflix app is large enough to read from the couch easily, and it is quick and easy to search with the wiimote without entering the konomi code on the damn thing just to pick a letter.

    The only drawback of the wii is that it is a low resolution device, and can't really push HD. If it did better than 480p at max it would be an ideal netflix appliance.

    I don't know what the situation is on the ps3 with netflix, since last I heard psn was free, but with an abysmally one sided eula--

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I recently set up a sony blueray disc player for a friend of my sister's, which can stream netflix. In order to activate it, you have to agree to an eula from sony, register the device for streaming through sony, agree to a sony tos, *THEN* you can activate the device through netflix. Once you do, the netflix experience is lacklustre, having super teeny tiny cover art thumbnails, and a terrible search experience from the remote.

      Anything from Sony is absolutely insane, go with an LG Bluray player, it works, it's easy to use, and it gets regular updates from LG. Hell, it even has an app store, the apps suck, but it has an app store.

      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        The only sony device I own (and use) is a second hand psp1001, (aka, psp fat), running cfw. I use it as a portable retro gaming platform.

        The whole "itsy bitsy teeny tiny thumbnails" thing smacked of "you should use a bravia 70 inch 1080p with 3d for best viewing experience!" Type design decision for the native netflix client. No thank you sony. Your dream of owning my entire livingroom entertainment center is absurd and nightmarish to me. Go fuck yourselves, and your intrusive tos and eula as well.

        I alread

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Anything from Sony is absolutely insane, go with an LG Bluray player, it works, it's easy to use, and it gets regular updates from LG. Hell, it even has an app store, the apps suck, but it has an app store.

        I had an LG Blu-Ray player. After six months it stopped playing DVDs, I took it in for warranty repairs, it came back after a month and would play DVDs but no longer played Blu-Rays. I took it back for more warranty repairs and after eighteen months they said they couldn't fix it and couldn't get a replacement, so tough.

        Meanwhile I've bought three Chinese Blu-Ray players from Wal-Mart for a total of roughly the same as I paid for the LG, and they all work fine and they're region-free. So no more LG products

    • by Belial6 (794905) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:20PM (#38404178)
      You should have went with a Roku. http://www.roku.com/roku-products [roku.com] The thing started out as a Netflix streaming box. They are priced between $50 and $90 depending on model, They do HD. They support Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and MOG. It has plenty of outputs for older or newer TVs, and it has a standard TV style remote. It also far lower power than any games system.
    • by thedohman (932417) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:26PM (#38404260)
      Speaking of using the Konami code in netflix... A slightly modified version can be to deactivate the account, so you can reactivate it. In theory you could use trial accounts, and just keep deactivating it to start a new trial account. I wouldn't be surprised if they tracked this and disabled Wiis that do it too much, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they didn't bother. (Got this from their tech support when we had a phantom account issue. Re-activating with the same account fixed our issue, but cleared our instant queue, recently watched, etc.).
      Slightly modified: U U D D L R L R U U U U

      Oh, and I'd say for now we use the Wii for Netflix and the homebrew WiiMC ( http://www.wiimc.org/ [wiimc.org] ) (for shoutcast 'radio', mostly) for about 80% of the Wii usage, and about 50% of total tv use. There is a 360 wrapped and under the tree, so those numbers will go down very soon.
    • by greghodg (1453715)
      I have a couple of extra Wii's without working drives that I use (mostly) for netflix streaming. Another advantage over the other consoles is the Wii's power consumption is generally less than 1/10th of the PS3 or Xbox. Even in standby, the PS3 draws over 170 watts vs. about 15 for the Wii. Also, like others have mentioned, it's got one of the better Netflix interfaces, although I like the one on my Vizio TV as well. The Netflix interface on the TiVo Premiere is atrocious.
      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        If those are running older firmware (if the drives are dead, then I presume you are not playing games, which forces you to use newer fw.) Then you can install HBC using banner bomb from the sdcard. No game disc required.

        A little more tlc, and you can get usbloader set up, and still have a functional game system, despite the broken optical drive.

  • http://mediatomb.cc/ [mediatomb.cc]

    Works great with my PS3! Just make sure you hook up your console with an Ethernet cable - I got a lot of stuttering on fast-paced video over the wireless. I can play full 1080p MPEG4 video over 100 Mbps Ethernet.

  • HTPC: the new XBox (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tastecicles (1153671) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:01PM (#38403962)

    I use several XBoxes as streaming media consoles. They all have hard drive upgrades and softmods which means they can hold a lot more than the standard 8/10GB drives ever could - up to and including XBox game images, playlists, emulators, and they're all network mapped to each other and the 18TB media/file server.

    So I could watch anything that's on the server or any console on any other console in the house, or kick up the game images and have a LANParty.

    I dunno, they just seem to be built for it. It's certainly a lot less hassle than stumping up 15x the cost for systems that make 10x the noise, have 10x the power (and power requirement), take 100 times longer to boot... just plug it in and go.

    The only downside to XBox is getting hold of controllers these days. New ones just plain ain't available and the secondhand market is dry at the best of times. On saying that the last controller I bought (blisterpacked XBox brand, standard size) came with a free console... Made me laugh when I got told that you could only get XBox controllers with a console kit (box, cables and controller)... and they were on special offer at £15!

  • What is new about this?
    I have done the same thing with my old modded Xbox years ago. Streaming video from a pc/NAS that is.
    Had to stop when the poor box couldn't handle decoding the newer video files in real time any more, because they kept getting bigger. Well, I went from Xbox to Zbox.

    I guess with the new ones you don't need to mod and install XBMC anymore? That means they always had this feature, so it's not new.

    • by bmsleight (710084)
      I still using up to 3 Xboxs around the house to steam my mythtv. Work great and £20-25 a box it not bad value.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I guess with the new ones you don't need to mod and install XBMC anymore?

      With the new ones you can play the most popular media formats from a share, either a windows share or a DLNA share. But if you want to play something with a weird container or codec you'll need a PC (Windows, OSX, or Linux) running PS3MediaServer or similar, to transcode the file in realtime. As you might imagine it has to be fairly beefy, but nothing amazing by modern standards, if you want to do this with 1080p video.

  • ... considering that the wii is not even capable of hi-def video, I find it surprising that it would be used for video streaming.
    • It is capable of 480p, however. When we had Netflix, most movies (the newer the more likely) were perhaps a little bit better than DVD quality, which was plenty enough for our 50" plasma at 10 feet.
    • Why? Video streaming usually isn't hi-def anyway. Netflix certainly isn't.

  • by Fieryphoenix (1161565) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:13PM (#38404082)
    I am a dyed in the wool PC Gamer. In my life I have only ever owned three gaming consoles: an Atari 2600, a Wii (bought so my wife could use Wii Fit), and now Xbox 360. After our introductory year our cable company wants to charge $16 a month for the DVR, so I looked into TiVo and other dedicated machines. $600. Heck no. HDHomerun Prime's comparable to a year of I already had spare parts enough (save for a motherboard) to make an HTPC, but the power supply was raised by a family of Dust Busters and the chassis's just butt ugly, so for $150 I got a slick device to put next to the TV, and I can explain simply to my wife that "we're using it as our own cable box." Not to mention join my D&D group for gaming outside of tabletop night. A little bit of research leads to the Xbox even starting up into TV, so the Wife Acceptance Factor is the best I could hope for. Image quality of TV is just as good as the cable company DVR, and the GUI loads better looking.
  • My PS3 is used for Netflix like 90% of the time, a DVD/Blu-Ray player 5% of the time, and NCAA Football 5% of the time.

  • Just thought I'd mention it. "Aging" is not a word in the English dictionary.

  • Since it does SD instead of HD, you get less "Buffering/adjusting playback" issues.

    ALL models have Wifi as well.

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