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Buy an Xbox 360 Instead of a New Camera

November 19, 2007

My last post led me to think about what has most increased our family’s enjoyment of family photos and videos. It is the presence of an Xbox 360 acting as a media center extender NOT any new camera technology.

Creating photos and videos seems to get far more attention that how to view those photos and videos despite the fact that as a practical matter the latter is as, if not more, important. The existence of a media center extender (in the form of Xbox 360s in our house) has meant that photos and videos get viewed (and enjoyed) many times more frequently than before. Photos and videos that would have collected dust previously now get seen multiple times.

Many (most?) people already have a PC that can act as Media Center. Any of those people can buy an Xbox 360 for less than $300 and get easy access to home photos and videos (as well as many other neat features) on their TV through an interface that is clean on a box that is easy to set up and stable.

If you aren’t going to use your Media Center PC for recording TV, I think you really can get by without a PC dedicated solely to Media Center duty and just add the Xbox as an adjunct to an existing PC.

Of course other alternatives exist (like many networked media players and Apple TV). All of them are potentially better investments than a new camera too, but I think there are some good reasons to prefer Media Center and the Xbox 360:

  • Great user interface.
  • Great expandability of capability of the the Media Center back end via software and hardware additions.
  • Getting a great console game system for free.

Think about it.

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