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Aging Consoles Find New Life As Video Streamers 255

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 Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:58PM (#38403936) is the place for that too. Cheap prices. DRM free.
  • 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!

  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:20PM (#38404178)
    You should have went with a Roku. [] 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.
  • Power (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:22PM (#38404212) 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: []
        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.

  • 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 ( [] ) (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.
  • Re:Power (Score:5, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> 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.

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