Microsoft ruins Christmas!

I decided a while back to treat myself to a games console for Christmas and after some discussion, I settled on an Xbox 360. I would have bought a Wii except it doesn’t have a usable optical drive and we don’t have a DVD drive so I wanted the games console to double as a DVD drive.

I bought a Pro Console with wireless controllers to cut down on the cable clutter. I bought Viva Pinata and Pixar’s Cars which I could play with my three year old son Tomás (Cars is one of Tomás’ favourite movies).

He was very excited he was going to play these games as soon as his papa had set up the new Xbox on Christmas day.

Imagine the tears rolling down his disappointed little face when I had to tell him that he couldn’t play with his new games because the Xbox wouldn’t work with our TV (pdf).

I called Microsoft’s Support line and kudos to them for having it manned on Christmas day but the news wasn’t good. The staff there informed me that I needed to purchase a high def adaptor if I wanted my high definition games console to work on my high definition tv. Obviously.

And it is not that they wouldn’t work in high definition only, no they wouldn’t work in high def or regular.

And where could I get one of these? “At your nearest Xbox reseller” – yeah good luck finding one of those open on Christmas day.

This is completely ridiculous – this is a problem created by Microsoft. There is already a standard in place around high definition cabling. It is called HDMI. HD Ready TVs have a HDMI input, by definition. All Microsoft had to do was put a standard HDMI connector on their AV cable and their Xbox would work on every HD Ready TV out of the box.

But no, Microsoft go with their non-standard cable so they can gouge us for another 30 or 40 Euros.

In our house, Microsoft is not the Borg, Microsoft is the Grinch who stole Christmas.

Thanks a million Microsoft. Your cheapness destroyed my son’s Christmas.

20 thoughts on “Microsoft ruins Christmas!”

  1. Awh crap. Sorry to read that Tom.

    Oh yeah, the XBox 360 HD-DVD add-on player if you’re looking to watch Hi-Def movies? The best part of 200 euro. It’s the system which keeps you paying, and paying, and paying.

  2. I think I’d be more pissed at my TV rather then MS’s connection formats.

    If I remember correctly the premium system comes with a cable which does standard video (yellow) with audio (red/white) or it can do YPbPr (Green/Blue/Red) Have you checked the switch at the head of the cable if its on HD or SD?

    And according to that PDF, you should be able to use the yellow/red/white connections at the side panel on the TV and there should be a adapter supplied that will allow you to use the YPbPr (Green/Blue/Red) on the DVI port at the back.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Conor,

    the TV has the standard HDMI.

    The switch on the cable is on SD, not HD because I can’t cable it for HD. Even on SD, it won’t play the games because it is on PAL 50 and the games require PAL 60.

    Having said that, I tried all combinations of the switch on the cable – you can be sure with a very upset three year old I was trying anything and everything. I even called Microsoft’s support on Christmas Day!

    The supplied adapter is for the yellow/red/white to connect to Scart.

    And you are absolutely correct – there should be an adapter supplied which allows you to use the YPbPr (Green/Blue/Red) (i.e to connect to the HDMI input on the TV) BUT THERE ISN’T.

  4. You should be able to go into the systems blade -> console settings (I think) and set it to use PAL 60. I’d be very very surprised if your TV wouldn’t display that.

  5. While I do sympathise with your situation, especially with a young child involved, you have to think about this from more than just your own perspective. Most people (myself included) have not yet upgraded to a hi-def TV. If Microsoft were to pack this cable in with the console by default, this would inevitably raise the price of the console. So people would be paying for something they do not need.

    Although it’s not perfect and there will be casualties, this is the fairest thing Microsoft could have done.

    PS – Sony also do not pack any hi-def cables with the PlayStation 3. Which is especially bizarre considering part of the reason for its high price point is its Blu-Ray player. Without a hi-def connection, you cannot take advantage of full Blu-Ray resolution.

  6. ‘people would be paying for something they do not need.’

    How exactly does a cable wind up costing 30 or 40 euros? Is it made out of kryptonite or something? there’s rip-off written all over that.

  7. Hmmm… My XBox 360 Pro came with a perfeclty standard cable which supported Hi-Def (component RGB + Audio) and standard def and allowed me to switch between both.

    I had no problems at all getting it to work with two different TV sets (one hi-def 32in Samsung and one standard TV).

    I can’t see at all how you could not get this to work with your TV… according to the specs the TV supports component and the PDF even shows the connections for the standard def connections. I can’t see if your TV supports RGB component but if it doesn’t then that is a bit crappy – all Hi-Def tv should support RGB component as the quality is as good if not bettwen then digital HDMI (which is just DVI+Audio).

  8. How exactly does a cable wind up costing 30 or 40 euros? Is it made out of kryptonite or something? there’s rip-off written all over that.

    Justin, check out the cost of a decent HDMI cable – you’re talking at least 40-50 for a decent one. I’ve purchased cheap ones (around 20) and have completely regretted it.

  9. You should be able to go into the systems blade -> console settings (I think) and set it to use PAL 60. I’d be very very surprised if your TV wouldn’t display that.

    Consider yourself surprised Conor. I tried that. Despite all appearances to the contrary, I am (a little bit) technical.

    How exactly does a cable wind up costing 30 or 40 euros?

    Honestly Justin, that was a complete guess on my part. But being that it is going to be a Microsoft branded cable, this is probably a conservative estimate.

    If Microsoft were to pack this cable in with the console by default, this would inevitably raise the price of the console. So people would be paying for something they do not need.

    Sure John, but there is a happy compromise. Sell the consoles with a choice of cable options so people could make the choice when purchasing and not find out when they go to set it up that there is a problem.

  10. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out.

    I’m extremely surprised as Conor (above earlier post) that you can’t play games in either PAL 50 or 60 modes, correct?? How do you mean you can’t play the games? *very puzzled*

    Occassionally, when I insert a new game the 360 goes into update mode (I have no idea what the update is) but in the long shot maybe if you hook up 360 to broadband, use xbox live enabled profile and see if it updates when you insert the game and hopefully hopefully it might resolve.

    Lastly, I noticed your TV has RGB in ONLY two of three SCART inputs – try inserting it other SCART sockets and go back to PAL 60 mode. I vaguely remember I had similiar problem with original xbox and my previous TV has multiple SCART sockets but only one has RGB which xbox worked well in one and not the other. Hope this helps.

  11. Should have gone for a Wii – a nice family friendly console. Dunnes would have sold you a cheapo dvd player for around 40 euro.

    Des * Mrs Des have the wii since 23rd and we are just about to roll it out to the boys..once we train them in strapping on the wiiremote..

  12. I’m extremely surprised as Conor (above earlier post) that you can’t play games in either PAL 50 or 60 modes, correct?? How do you mean you can’t play the games? *very puzzled*

    Conor, when you insert a game it says it requires the console to be set to PAL 60 and won´t go any further. On trying to set it to PAL 60, the screen goes grey for 10 seconds and then reverts to PAL 50. Square 1.

    maybe if you hook up 360 to broadband, use xbox live enabled profile and see if it updates when you insert the game and hopefully hopefully it might resolve.

    I wanted to try that Conor but the WLAN adapter isn´t working!!!

    my previous TV has multiple SCART sockets but only one has RGB which xbox worked well in one and not the other. Hope this helps.

    That is certainly something which didn´t occur to me to try. Thanks Conor, I´ll give that a shot when we get home.

    Should have gone for a Wii

    Des, I would have gone for a Wii if it had a usable optical drive. I know the DVD drives are not expensive but we have enough units under the TV already (and cables) without adding more. I wanted one unit which could do games and DVDs.

  13. I’ve found wireless support on the xbox360 to be a pain in the hole to setup. Its taken alot of tinkering with various different settings to get it to connect. I’d recommend that you start off by turning off any encryption and turning SSID broadcast back on. And work your way back up from there.

  14. Same here – I find my xbox360 WLAN adaptor VERY flaky. I’m using Linksys WRT55AG router (with dhcp service turned on) mainly because of a-band (5.5GHz) for media center use. I get abysmal reception, barely one bar for either a or g link even with router virtually in sight of each other of couple metres (with or without WEP) and get excellent reception for b link. Photos (bit slow) & WMA/MP3 streaming is ok but no good for video streaming. I ended up using cat5 cable. 😦 Initially, I blamed the linksys but I’m getting good-to-excellent reception for my PC, PDA & laptop on g link even outside in the garden. I think I may have a faulty WLAN adaptor.

    Tip: if using encryption, use 13-character WEP password instead of 26-character WEP in hex – same encyrption strength but damn lot easier to remember and enter via controller!

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