My home entertainment infrastructure, being assembled as part of my home renovation, is slowly coming along. We have set up a 32” Sharp LCD set in the bedroom with an HD set top box from Time Warner Cable.
More to the point, however, is that we setup an XBox 360 Elite along with it. This XBox has three important features: (1) it acts as a Media Center extender, for both Windows XP and Vista, (2) you can buy an HD DVD drive for it for $199 and (3) it has an HDMI output, making it the perfect delivery mechanism for even 1080p content from the HD DVD.
Oh, and last week, Circuit City had a promotion whereby you could get two HD DVDs (up to $60 in value) for free with purchase the player. Since the player itself comes with a free disk (the 2006 version of King Kong), that means you get a 1080p HD DVD player and about $100 worth of discs for $199. Yowza!
The verdict? Picture: 1080p-tastic. Installation: dunce-cap simple. And the Xbox is an amazing Media Center extender…even on XP, it offers the full client UI experience of the Media Center PC itself. And given that I haven’t (yet) upgraded the Media Center to hi def, the XBox Media Center extender client actually looks better.