7th Generation Rocked – Microsoft Hits it Big With Xbox 360

Pros: 720p/1080i HD, outstanding online, great selection of exclusive titles, decent price. Cons: Not Blu Ray compatible, cost of Live. Summary Microsoft hit the 7th gen of consoles hard with the Xbox 360. Its improved Xbox Live and 720p/1080i compatibility makes it the best online system, and with a line of top-list games, it’s hard … Continue reading “7th Generation Rocked – Microsoft Hits it Big With Xbox 360”

Pros: 720p/1080i HD, outstanding online, great selection of exclusive titles, decent price.

Cons: Not Blu Ray compatible, cost of Live.

Summary

Microsoft hit the 7th gen of consoles hard with the Xbox 360. Its improved Xbox Live and 720p/1080i compatibility makes it the best online system, and with a line of top-list games, it’s hard to beat.

Introduction
Microsoft’s Xbox was a hit among gamers, aiming more on the mature level of gaming rather than the competition’s focus on E – T rated games. The 360 pushed the competition further towards the mature audience, and improved its online capabilities far beyond that of Sony’s (you get what you pay for), a great start to the 5th generation of consoles.

Features and Design
The design of the 360 is a large improvement over the original, which seemed to anchor my house down in case of storms. Its sleeker, white design is nicer than the big black cinder block, and is much more practical for any entertainment center with its ability to go vertical and horizontal. Be careful not to exercise that ability during gameplay, it cost my buddy another copy of Call of Duty 4. Another part of it’s design is its interchangeable faceplate, which I think is pretty pointless, but if you really want a different color to look at, it’s a nice little feature.

Both wireless and wired controllers are usable for the system, which is quite a perk if you don’t feel like charging batteries or buying new ones quite so often. These controllers are great; the elimination of the white and black buttons was a good move, and the introduction of the left and right bumpers brings it right up to perfection. The only problem I experienced is hitting the home button on accident while in the middle of an intense match. Xbox Home is easily navigable and offers lots of great pages, including the Xbox Live Arcade, trailers and previews, Netflix, and the most recent feature that allows you to create your own avatar and view others’. It is certainly a little more user friendly than the PlayStation 3’s home menu.

Microsoft’s big hit: Xbox Live. If (roughly) 5 dollars a month is all it takes for a gamer to get fantastic online experience, I think I’d buy two. The only problem with the price though, is the $99.99 Wireless N Networking Adapter. What a bunch of crap, Microsoft, throw us a bone here. Sony gives you a free one! Plus free online service! Well, with the total 5 dollar monthly fee plus the 100 dollar adaptor, you better expect some great service. And that’s exactly what you get. Easily navigable pages, friend lists and features, party chatting with your friends, game invites, messaging, game hopping, and dedicated servers. Xbox nailed it with their Live, and no console’s is comparable.

The Xbox 360’s hardware is great, even if it doesn’t quite compare with the PS3’s. The processing capability is top notch with 3 custom CPUs, each pushing 3.2GHz and a custom 500MHz, 10Mb ATI Graphics Card.

One mistake was the use of the DVD instead of the new Blu Ray, which could hold up to 50 GB of information on one disc! I’d pay to have that rather than all the downloadable content. Plus the Blu Ray is compatible with higher graphic settings.

But say, why get a 360 when I can get a revolutionary Wii, or a gorgeous PlayStation 3? Because of two main reasons: Online and exclusive titles. The 360 surpasses both systems with it’s Live (especially Nintendo’s pathetic excuse for “online gameplay”). And the two competitors don’t come close to the 360’s titles, such as Gears of War and Halo. With the Wii’s fixation on (awful) party games, and the PS3 having a higher price, you can see why the 360 is a good pick.

Technical Specifications
CPU
Custom IBM PowerPC-Based CPU
3x 3.2 GHz cores
128x VMX-128 registers per hardware thread
3x VMX-128 vector units
6x hardware threads
1Mb L2 Cache

GPU
Custom ATI Graphics Processor
500 MHz
10 MB embedded DRAM
48-way parallel floating-point dynamically-scheduled shader pipelines Unified Shader Architecture
16 gigasamples per second fillrate using 4X MSAA
500 million triangles per second
48 billion shader operations per second

Sound
Multichannel surround sound output
Support 48 KHz 16-bit audio
32-bit audio processing
over 256 audio channels

Memory
512 MB GDDR3 RAM
700 MHz DDR
Unified memory architecture

System Bandwidth
22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth
256 GB/s memory bandwidth to EDRAM
21.6 GB/s front-side bus

System Floating Point Performance
1 TFLOP

Storage
20 GB hard drive (detachable and upgradeable)

I/O
Support for up to 4 wireless game controllers
2 memory unit slots
3 USB 2.0 ports

Online
Ethernet Port
Wi-Fi Ready: 802.11 A, B and G
Video Camera Ready

AV Output
All games at 16:9, 720p and 1080i and anti-aliasing
Standard definition and high def video output supported

Disc Media
Support for DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD
Stream media from portable music devices, digital cameras, Windows XP PCs
Rip music to Xbox 360
Custom playlists in every game
Windows Media Center Extender
Interactive, full 3D visualizers

Ratings
Graphics 9/10
Audio 10/10
Variety of Games 10/10
Accessories 9/10
Price 9/10

Getting Started On 180 And 360 Degree IP Camera Technology

360 and 180 degree IP camera technology has hit the mainstream of the video surveillance industry. These cameras can be implemented into many different applications requiring omni-directional recording and playback on one video stream, let’s take a further look how an installer and end user of video surveillance cameras is going to be able to harness this technology.

End Users: First, we need to define what an End User is. An End User is someone who actually has a surveillance system installed on their private or corporate property. As an end user here is what you can expect from 180 and 360 degree camera technology.

1. 180 and 360 Technology is for IP based systems, not Analog (Ethernet Cables/No Coax).

2. Define what you would like to see out of the video stream, always remember to let the need guide the technology.

3. Industry leading manufacturers have started to make or are about to produce 180 and 360 degree cameras. Take time and test competing models from different manufacturers.

4. Check your VMS compatibility, if you have a proprietary Video Management Software that your existing surveillance system is on make sure the 180/360 product you like works with your software.

5. 180 and 360 degree cameras use more hard drive space than a typical IP camera.

6. 180 and 360 degree cameras use much more computing resources than a typical IP camera.

7. 180 and 360 degree cameras come in 3 MP versions up to 20 MP models. Typically, the higher the megapixel rating, the more expensive the camera.

Installers: Installing a 180 and 360 degree camera is not much different than a normal IP Camera. 180 and 360 cameras in my research do not have the hardiness that a normal IP camera possesses so they need to be handled with a lighter touch and more care. Below are a few tips to get you on your way to a better understanding of 180 and 360 cameras.

1. Before diving into one brand of 180 and 360 IP cameras, test out multiple manufacturers products and see which ones best fit your customer’s needs.

2. Check VMS compatibility

3. There are 180 and 360 degree cameras made both in the USA and internationally.

4. 180 and 360 degree cameras require a strong understanding of how the network load and storage requirements are affected in the overall system. 180 and 360 cameras are more processor intensive than other IP cameras.

5. 180 and 360 cameras have advanced optics and onboard processing hardware that drives up the cost of the product. Do expect to pay 3-5 times the cost of what you would normally expect to pay for a regular 1.3 MP camera.

6. Get trained and certified on a few different camera brands.

The above was a basic outline of what to look for and expect out of 180 and 360 camera technology. Another great information resource regarding the above topics would be different manufacturers and distributors of security products websites.