home > feature > GF! Mailbag
GamesFirst! Online since 1995

View Image Gallery

GF! Mailbag
posted by: Matt James
publisher: GamesFirst!
date posted: 09:04 AM Sun Dec 4th, 2005
last revision: 09:07 AM Sun Dec 4th, 2005

Unlimited Game Rentals Delivered - Free Trial

Click to read.While I don\'t personally buy into the philosophy that games cause violence, it does seem that the consoles do. Apparently in some areas of the country the only way to get an Xbox 360 was to know karate. I did little more than walk up to a Costco at 9 in the morning. Well, that over simplifies it a little. After a sleepless night, worrying about getting one, I was wide awake at 6 am when I got a text message saying that games were on there way and I had better get hold of a 360. There was also some vague threat like if I didn\'t have a system to put them in I could forcefully insert them somewhere else. I didn\'t go back to sleep.

My Costco card was about three years old, but it was enough to bluff my way to a reserve slip (they handed them out an hour before open that morning) and a spot in line. While I waited, my significant other quickly signed up for a new membership card, finishing just in time to purchase one of the last three Xbox 360s. There may have been more in the back, since they didn\'t bring them all out at a time, but I like to think the situation was a little more dire.

About that handy Xbox 360 manual...

So I didn\'t exactly stroll right up and take one off the shelf. But I sure as heck didn\'t fight any one for it. Having played it though, I might have been worth it. What a cool machine. I have enjoyed every game I have played on it so far, still, having said that, the hardware is vastly cooler than anything that is available for it right now. The box does a little of everything and more importantly it does it with style. There are still things that are good to know about the new system and we have a couple of articles to help guide you. (Articles I have found useful myself.) Our first writer just wanted to thank us for the help.

I wanted to thank you for posting the info about connecting the Xbox 360 to a home PC to share media. I tried for two days to get my Xbox to see my file server. No where on Microsoft did I find any instructions stating you had to be signed in to Xbox Live in order to stream media. Thankfully your site was much more specific about the process for setting up the connection. Thanks for the great post.


To say that the Xbox\'s instructions are a little vague would be implying that they exist at all. A stroll through the 360\'s guide book reveals that it is unwise to remove the 360\'s cover and lick it\'s insides but little else. Thankfully, Shawn did all the leg work already. We\'re glad that you found it useful, Scott.

Music and movies on the PSP

Scott wasn\'t the only to notice just how useful Shawn is. One reader wrote in with a question about transferring media to the PSP.

Chris020889 wrote:

im thinking of buying a psp and was wondering how u put games and music and dvds in to it

If they don\'t fit in the back on their own, don\'t use a hammer. I guess the warranty doesn\'t cover that. That and dead pixels.

The PSP connects to your computer via a USB cable. You\'ll need a \"big\" to \"little\" USB cable (aka USB-A to USB-B connectors). Those cost $10-20 depending where you get them. If your computer has a reader that can read Memory Stick Duo Pro cards, then you can just insert your card directly into the computer.

Once connected, the PSP shows up like an external drive, and you can drag and drop files into directories. You do have to obey the PSP file system, but otherwise, it\'s pretty easy. There are quite a few programs out there that will help you convert and manage media on your PSP. We\'ve used PSP Video 9 a lot: http://www.pspvideo9.com/ But there are plenty of others for all platforms. Music can just be dropped into the PSP/MUSIC/ folder. Videos must be treated more specially. And photos can also just be dropped into the folder labeled PHOTOS.

Check out http://psp.connect.com/ for official Sony information about PSP multimedia features.

Thanks for writing,


Trying to keep up with technology can be a little daunting. This is true even for gamers, who tend to be a little more on the cusp than most. With the 360 here and the rest of the next gen on the way, gamers are going to have to start seriously thinking about HD. Problem is there is a lot to think about. Jeremy wrangled up all that info for you and crafted it into a nifty little HD guide. Two readers wrote in for a little more information. I\'m gonna share it with you.

David wrote:


I have been reading your articles for a while now but this is the first time I\'ve written in about anything. Your article about HDTV is generally well written and covers most bases but lacks one key \'feature\' of HD technology that is vitally important yet often overlooked.

HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) is a copy protection scheme that will be employed by all new HD content. The scope of HDCP has yet to be determined but it will at least cover all HD quality films released in the Blu-Ray or HD-DVD format and could possibly extend to some HD content in games or newer HD Audio disc formats.
The reason why this is so crucial when talking about HDTV displays is that some displays which do not have this HDCP \'feature\' will be severely impacted. These displays will either:

1) Not display any HD content that requires HDCP to be present.
2) Display HD content in 480p/i mode ? effectively rendering the purchase of an HDTV display, pointless.

Almost all projectors, computer monitors, and older component input HDTV displays do not have HDCP functionality. It is important to make sure that whatever display you buy includes HDCP in its specifications or you might be buying a brand new display after you find out your new PS3 will not play Blu-Ray movies on it.

Technical specs of HDCP and the reasoning for employing it are widely available on the internet and I would strongly suggest any gamer to educate themselves about this ridiculous new idiocy.

Thanks for a great site!

David S.

Jeremy\'s take:

Thanks, David.

HDCP encrypts each pixel as it moves from the host (an HD DVD player, set top box, PC, etc.) to the display (an HDTV or monitor). Because it acts on each individual pixel, it requires a pure digital source, the preferred input being DVI. It appears that the future of HD is centered around this technology, and anyone looking to purchase an HDTV will certainly want to invest in a set that has a DVI-HDCP input.

I also neglected to mention HD Projectors as a choice of display. This is the preferred display of none other than Matt James, our GF! Mailbag guru. HD Projectors are quirky, but incredibly versatile in a room with the right space requirements. They provide a beautiful picture that can be projected onto an 80- or 100-inch screen. They are surprisingly affordable and worth checking out.

It never fails, no matter how much leg work you do, there is always something you leave out. Thanks for your interest


LCD TV folklore

LCD sets get a lot of criticisms for dead pixels but plasma TVs, probably because of the word plasma, seem to garner the most misconceptions.

I\'ve heard from my friends that if you play games on a plasma tv it\'ll burn a hole in the tv. Is this true?


Jeremy clears things up a bit:


I believe your friends are grossly misrepresenting a trait common to all TV monitors called \"burn in.\" This is what happens when you leave an image on the screen for a long enough period of time that is leaves a permanent \"ghost\" image on your screen. Flat panel and LCD monitors are especially susceptible to this. However, nearly all contemporary TVs, DVD players, and PCs employ screen savers to prevent this.

Just remember, Johny, games are our friends. They don\'t want to burn down our houses. Except for old Xbox power cables. Those things were evil!

There are many myths about the life of a plasma TV, which is about 60,000 hours these days, the same as LCD. Another prevalent myth is that your plasma TV will need recharged or refilled. But it is just that, a myth.

I never did change my \"fiery death\" Xbox power cable. Even though it sat right next to the box. I fear no evil.

Keep reading and writing in! Drop a line to Mailbag[AT]GamesFirst.com

Matt \"I walk on the wild side\" James

Click images for larger version

Click for larger.