Video playback on the XBox 360

When evaluating which of the top three consoles I wished to invest in, I had originally settled on the Nintendo Wii. Its controller was revolutionary (the code name for the console was originally Nintendo Revolution, in fact), and there are a lot of Nintendo games I like. But then a mate brought his Nintendo over and we played some games, and I found that I really disliked it. I got tired playing the Nintendo, and while some people are drawn to the idea of exercising through gaming, I’d prefer to relax while gaming and get my exercise elsewhere. I’m usually already tired when I sit down to play a game, and I don’t want a system that is prohibitive to play in those circumstances.

The PS3 was overpriced with little promise, so I went with the XBox 360. It had a more mature game selection, the controller’s nice, and it doubles as a DVD player. Since I already had a DVD player, this wasn’t that big an advantage, but now I’m rethinking that. My old player is dying a slow and laggy death, so April and I have begun using the 360 for watching movies. For whatever reason, we find that we like the controls on the 360 (managed through on-screen buttons you navigate with the regular game controller) better than the complicated DVD remote, and I think the picture might be a little better as well. What’s more exciting is how it manages pausing, though.

Another way to put it is that you don’t need to pause. One of the exciting features of the XBox 360 is that updates are fed to it over the Internet by Microsoft. A feature added a few months ago allows the 360 to save where you are in a movie automatically. We didn’t really notice this until we started watching the special features of Lord of the Rings, where we’d watch for an hour or two, then turn the 360 off. A few days later, turn it back on, start the DVD, and playback would begin right where we left off.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve played games in the intermediary time (though I haven’t tried watching a different movie and then switching back), or how long the console has been off. It just comes back to the exact point you stopped at so you can continue watching.

I enjoy the games and the controllers and Live (Internet play) and everything else, but this might be my favourite feature right now. It’s something they didn’t need to add, but is extremely nice, and just a great perk. Attention to helpful details like that is what makes me a satisfied customer and ensures I’ll get another XBox product someday.

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