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Xbox 360 hits US shelves ! - 11/22/2005 12:39:25 PM   

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Following months of hype, Microsoft's much-anticipated Xbox 360 gaming console arrives on US shelves, beating rivals Sony and Nintendo to the next-generation punch.
Beating Sony and Nintendo to the punch by several months, Microsoft's next-generation Xbox 360 gaming console today goes on sale in the US, its first launch market. Sporting vastly improved graphics and media functionality, the launch precedes that of the European and Japanese introductions, which are to take place on December 2 and 10, respectively.

To offer a degree of personalization with interchangeable face plates, the all-white and concave 360 was designed for use with high-definition, wide-screen televisions yet remains compatible with older, 4:3 sets. Available in editions with or without a 20 GB exchangeable, upgradeable hard drive, the Xbox 360 boasts a 12x dual layer DVD-ROM drive and wireless controllers, of which one will come bundled in the sales package. Users will then be able to purchase up to three additional controllers, as well as accessories including a digital camera and Wi-Fi adapter.

With vastly improved graphics and audio capabilities, the console among other statistics claims a total performance of nearly a Teraflop and 16-bit surround sound at better than CD quality. Connectivity options include three USB 2.0 ports allow streaming of media from digital cameras, portable audio players and other USB storage enabled devices by the 360, and the unit also offers two memory unit slots with cards starting at 64 MB capacities.

Networking is comprehensive in the Xbox 360, which offers an integrated Ethernet port and is also Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g ready should users want to add wireless connectivity through accessories purchased either from Microsoft or other manufacturers. Either wired or wireless connections can be used to stream media from Windows XP PCs, and the console is also equipped with Microsoft's Media Extender platform, which links up with Media Center PCs to further improve media capabilities.

In addition, the Xbox 360 can also rip audio directly from CDs or DVDs to its hard disk, allowing users to create custom playlists for every game or alternatively settle for full-screen 3D visualizers.

Tearing down the separation between the Xbox and its Live online multiplayer service, the Xbox 360 comes with integrated Xbox Live Silver access, enabling online multiplayer sessions with improved functionality. Available for an added monthly subscription fee, the Xbox Live Gold intelligent matchmaking feature lets players of similar skill levels and interests connect, also allowing for video chats and video messages via an Xbox Live Camera peripheral

Subject to heavy demand, the Xbox 360 is now available in the US, selling in Core System and Premium editions for $300 USD and $400 USD, respectively.

Source : InfoSyncWorld

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