Archives For Xbox

RROD: An Unhappy Ending

Dave Zatz —  March 1, 2008 — 25 Comments

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My pal Tim is d-o-n-e. He’s wiping his hands clean of Microsoft gaming gear. His family will ultimately be a two-system home again, but a PS3 will join their Wii. Tim’s story (and ebay listing) in his own words:

You are bidding on a piece of junk XBOX 360. Please understand that this is non-functioning system. The system was repaired by me after the initial warranty expired, and before the new extended 3-year warranty was authorized. I had to glue the magnet back onto the DVD drive. It worked great for a while. However, this constitutes tampering in the eyes of Microsoft, and therefore, when I sent it in for repair for the rings-of-death they returned it un-repaired with the nice letter to XBOX enthusiast stating such. This was, of course, after a month of waiting, and in spite of the smarmy robot XBOX support voice-mail guy Max assuring me that my system had been repaired and was being shipped back to me. Max didn’t help me cancel my recurring XBOX live subscription. That involved moving through two different overseas calling centers. But, I digress.

This unit does not include the hard drive. The hard drive contains my personal information, including my credit card data. It also includes probably $75 worth of downloaded content. Bummer for me. I will be destroying the hard drive in a special ceremony involving a Bill Gates voodoo doll and and an unlicensed version of Windows Vista.

The power supply, cables and a headset for the controller are included. There are no controllers included. As far as I know those items work, but I can’t guarantee anything. In fact, I can’t recommend that you bid on this item at all. I wouldn’t. Maybe you can salvage something from the system. The cables? The headset is worth something, maybe.

I will also include something called an Intercooler. That is not shown in the picture. It’s a third party device that is supposed to keep the XBOX from overheating. It makes a racket, though, and there is no evidence that it does much of anything to keep the XBOX 360 from failing. In fact, because it puts additional load on the power supply, it could actually cause problems. Can’t recommend it either.

Proceeds from this sale will go to purchase of games and accessories for our fully functioning Nintendo Wii system. Bid at your own risk. This is JUNK. No returns. Paypal only. The shipping and handling is $19 via USPS. Barely covers my costs.

The Non-News Event Of The Day

Dave Zatz —  February 20, 2008 — 11 Comments

vlg_xbox_netflix2widec.jpgQuite a few seemed to think today would be the day Microsoft and Netflix jointly announce a (new) Xbox 360 video service at the Game Developers Conference. However, I wasn’t optomistic. And it didn’t happen. While I’d like to see a revitalized Live Marketplace and expect it’d be good for both companies, it’ll take some time to get from survey to service… And having read some cagey commentary from Netflix’s corporate rep, it may very well be on the table.

Place your virtual wager… Which arrives first: Gears of War 2 or Xbox Netflix video streaming?

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Moman is fresh out of DVR-ed HD content and wondered if I (or any ZNF readers) have any suggestions on how his family might weather the remainder of the writers strike.

Unfortunately, things will get worse before they get better. Even if a deal is struck soon, it’ll be months before we see fresh content that hasn’t already been written and filmed. And speaking of that content – though I haven’t yet decided if I like it, the Terminator spin-off recently began. Plus Jericho and Lost will premiere shortly. Brent Evans is maintaining a list of other winter series.

I’ve really enjoyed both seasons of Dexter and know Moman will too, but he’s going to have to stay up late and watch it when the kids are sleeping. CBS will be running an edited version during prime time, but I suggest Mo pull the trigger on a Netflix subscription and check out the original. And speaking of previously aired shows, Burn Notice finally showed up on Amazon Unbox and iTunes a few weeks ago – I raced through the entire season on TiVo, iPhone, and MacBook Pro. Highly recommended.

Otherwise, with scripted television and college football mostly over, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time playing Call of Duty 4 and intend to Netflix Firefly. Though, that may have been the case anyway as the studios haven’t been allowing good content to incubate/blossom before pulling the plug. Fortunately for Melissa, she’s content with Bret Michaels, Snoop, and American Idol.

For continued strike coverage, a show status Wiki is being maintained and the LA Times is blogging the situation. Any suggestions for new series, past series, or smart reality content to check out?

redring.jpgI was shipping a few packages at the UPS Store and noticed two unrelated individuals in the store with XBox 360s on their way to be repaired. I asked them about it and they both said their XBox 360 quit working and they were experiencing the “Red Ring of Death.” Then the UPS guy behind the desk said there had already been four others that day sending in their 360s with the same problem.

This surprises me because I thought Microsoft had worked out the issues. For those of you who haven’t heard of the Red Ring of Death, check out this wiki article. It says the red lights on the indicator “ring” represent “general hardware failure” and is known by gamers as the infamous “Red Ring of Death.”

Anyone else seen this problem on their XBox 360? Is it only with the older units?

Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Brent Evans Geek Tonic.

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Speaking of media extenders, I’m digging the Xbox 360 Dashboard refresh in conjunction with the updated Connect360. By utilizing UPnP on Mac OS X, Connect360 mimics PC Windows Media Player functionality in streaming content to the Xbox. I’ve played with it before to send pics and music to my 360, but this is the first time I’ve streamed video (Xvid) – it worked very well with the SD .avi content. I’m not sure if I’ll pony up the $20 license fee, as my MacBook Pro usually sits on the coffee table just a few feet away from the entertainment center… I’ve got plenty of USB sticks and I usually close the MBP when watching the plasma.

I had assumed Canada would be the first non-US country licensed for Xbox 360 movie downloads, but it turns out the larger European market (starting with Britain, France, and Germany) are getting video rentals on their console about a year after the American launch. Initially, only Warner Brother movies will be offered – though they intend to make over 40 titles available this month. The Hollywood Reporter writes:

The Xbox Live Marketplace Video Store will provide both standard movies and high-definition versions for rent at the estimated retail price of 3 euros ($4.42) and 4.50 euros ($6.64), respectively. The European rollout of the Xbox Live Marketplace service has been staggered because of the complex licensing issues for video content in different regions and to allow time to make deals with local content providers.

It’s no secret I’m a fan of Xbox Live Marketplace… at least until Amazon and TiVo get onboard with HD content. Quality has always been excellent, even if selection hasn’t. Ordering is painless, though they’re still insisting on the “Microsoft Points” over dollars. I wonder how they’ll be handling those Euros?

Update: Canada is getting video downloads, as well, on December 10th. Current SD movie rentals will cost 460 Microsoft Points ($7.36 CAD) and HD flicks will be 610 Points ($9.75 CAD)

Continue Reading…

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The rumors (and Davis Freeberg) were right… Microsoft has confirmed next week’s Xbox 360 update will include DivX and Xvid support. However, as Chris Lanier points out, playback is limited to the Dashboard — there’ll be no media extender streaming from Vista or XP. Meaning, we’ll most likely be sneakernetting our compatible video on USB storage. Check out FAQ 10. for the inconsistent playback options.

Additional Fall Update features include Xbox Originals, enhanced online profile and friends list, plus:

several noteworthy changes in the Xbox LIVE Dashboard, from the new Game Store button to the Video Store button to enhanced visuals and descriptions in the video library

Click here for a complete listing of additions and improvements. (How come TiVo doesn’t provide a changelog like this?)