This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Impressions: XBOX 360 & MCE 2005
It has been about a month since I set up Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and connected it to my XBOX 360, so I thought I would share my first impressions:

1. Video streaming to the XBOX 360 is awesome! I built a few HTPCs in the past few years and the XBOX 360-as-media-center-extender idea is brilliant. Unlike the HTPCs I built, this one worked without any tinkering with drivers or video card settings.

I have ripped about a dozen DVDs (the ones that I tend to watch a lot) to the Media Center box (look for a post about how to do this later this week). It is great to able to pull those up either in the bedroom on the Media Center box or in the Manroom on the 360.

BTW, I am using a wired network to connect my 360 to the media center, so I can't comment on the 360's ability to stream over Wifi. Check out HD Beat's first impressions of using wireless to stream HD.

2. Picture quality is pretty good. A lot of people are complaining that the video quality when watching DVDs on the 360 isn't the greatest (which is true); however, it is definitely good enough when you weigh in the convenience of being able to stream directly to the 360 (rather than loading DVDs).

3. Music playback stinks. The interface to find and playback music is pretty lame. Basically, you stroll through an alphabetical list of artists. If you have hundreds of artists, it can take quite a while to find something like Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

I would love to see them work out some of the UI stuff around music playback; however , I don't use the 360 for much music playback, so it's not that big of a deal for me.

4. My Harmony 880 remote, after downloading the proper IR codes, is able to control both my XBOX 360 and my Media Center. This has allowed me to add them to "activities" in the remote that I can launch with 1 button. Very cool.

Overall, I am very pleased with how well the 360 and MCE box play together. Next up, I plan to get an HDTV tuner card for the Media Center box and create an HD DVR. If I can pull off a multi-room HDTV DVR with this setup, I will be very happy. Stay tuned.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.