Why the PS2 is better than the XBox, IMO
Click here to read my MythTV notes
**If you happen to be here looking for help on installing the XBox software MechAssault hack or some basic Xebian post install configs (including some helpful tips on using [D/X]ebian, which I use exclusively at home/work) then click here to send me an email. I can't make promisses but I can try to help. If you don't get a response from me then it's because I was unable to reply for some reason - I seem to get a lot of "unable to send" rejections. I will try to contact you back in some way though.
I think I'm going to be revamping/redoing this page in the very near future. I'm not as against the XBox as I was when I started this project - as a matter of fact I now prefer it to the PS2 just because of the overall functionality, hackability, and upgradability of the XBox.
I added a Mythtv usb us-104 keyboard commands section on my MythTV notes page, be sure to check it out.
Apparently I was wrong. From what I've read, the Rhino project started out developing a 2.4 kernel for the ps2 but had to regress back to 2.2.x for "compatability" in accordance with Sony's terms. There is at least one unsupported 2.4 kernel out there on the web but it doesn't work with X. I'm also having problems getting standard apt-get locations to work on the ps2 with the Debian port - it keeps trying to access a directory that doesn't exist when connecting to ftp.us.debian.org. Hmm. Doing more research on all of this.
Got the PS2 linux kit yesterday. I had to buy a memory card before installing it so I stopped by Best Buy on my way home tonight. The installation is just like a 6.2 RedHat install. Pretty easy, pretty basic, and a VERY OLD KERNEL (2.2.1). Fortunately there is a debian port called BlackRhino that I can upgrade to and it has a 2.4.x kernel. I'm going to do more messing around with it tomorrow and hopefully get mythtv installed on it. I am a little concerned though, according to the documentation the dvd drive will only read PS/PS2 cd/dvd roms. That *could* suck, but I don't really use the dvd drive on the xbox so it probably won't be a huge issue. I can always nfs mount a cd drive from another system if I really need to.
Finally bought a PS2 linux kit from Playstation2.com. I don't know when it's supposed to be here but I'm hoping to replace my X-Box by mid-next week. The kit is $200 but it's not bad when you consider what you get: 40G Seagate hard drive, PS2 keyboard, a monitor connector cable and the linux media.
12/9/2003 From my main page
"Gave in and bought the monster cable XBox video and optical audio cables. I'm amazed at the legal larceny that Micro$oft related products are able to get away with. In order to have high quality audio/video I had to spend an additional $80 to do so. As each day goes by I loathe Microsleze more and more. So in order to get the same performance out of my XBox as I get from my PS2, I've had to spend $180 for the XBox, $35 for the dvd remote, and $80 for the monster a/v cables and digital audio cables (2 different kits BTW). My PS2 came with HQ video and optical audio built in and I didn't need to buy a dvd kit. So, in summary, I spent $295 on the XBox and $199 on the PS2 and they now both perform the same (finally). Piece of shit."
I bought a PS2 3 years ago for reasons which are outside the scope of this document, so I'll leave them out for now. I recently bought 2 XBoxes for reasons that I will include later in this document. I'm not much of a gamer myself so this evaluation is not going to be fully objective for all aspects of the comparison. I'm mostly evaluating the general consoles including accessories, video/sound quality and overall capabilities.
I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this, it's mostly just to vent my frustration from this past weekend due to the grave dissapointments I endured while working with the XBox. For the most part this document will probably seem incomplete and rambling in certain areas. My appologies. I may clean it up later but for now this is all the effort I want to put forth on it.
It's basically a desktop pc. It has a Celeron 733Mhz processor, 64M of ram, a decent video card, a 8-10G hard drive and a dvd rom. That's a respectable start. It's a little bigger than most vcrs but fits well in the whole entertainment center visual aspect. Thanks to the support of the opensource community there are hacks available, from destructive to non-destructive, to load linux on it. Dolby sound.
Smaller than a vcr. Plays dvd's right out of the box with excellent quality and without any special adaptors. Built in optical out audio port. Has some pretty impressive hardware: listed here. Sony offers a PS2 linux kit for it. I have not purchased the kit yet but I plan to soon. I will update this doc once I've tried it.
You MUST buy the dvd remote kit before playing dvd's in the player. You must buy the $60+ special digital video/optical audio out kit to get the expected video quality, without the kit the colors are not dithered properly while playing dvds. No, and I mean NO, linux supported without some hacks. It is so not supported that Microsoft casually threatens to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law if the box is tampered with or used in any way that it was not designed for - including installing non-authorized os's. What a load of crap - I bought it, it's mine. Let me do with it what I want to. Bastards. Come and prosecute me - I'll bring my "GNU" friends.... (Hehe, joke there "new" friends. Okay, keep reading). If I use the remote while watching a dvd it REBOOTS THE BOX. Piece of crap.
UPDATE: I found that the XBox only seems to reboot while trying to use a function that wasn't allowed - like ff/skip when the FBI warning was displayed. It might also only happen when I have the usb keyboard plugged in but I haven't fully tested this theory yet.
I don't know of any off the top of my head. I'm sure there are some but for what I use mine for it works as I expect it to.
I really wish I hadn't bought an XBox, let alone 2 of them. I had read several places that they were great frontend boxes for MythTV and were easy to set up once you did some initial preparation. I built a MythTV box two weeks ago and it has been running great but I got tired of watching tv on my laptop when I had a perfectly good tv and stereo right in front of me. Buying an XBox made sense - it was under $200, could load linux with some hacks, had a nice video out card, I could get rid of my old dvd player, play the games, and it was smaller than putting a normal desktop next to my tv. While playing with it initially before modifying it for linux I found that I couldn't play dvd's and had to spend more money.
The next day I bought a dvd kit. Got home popped in a dvd and the first thing I noticed was one of the actors was wearing a black jacket but the black was layered like the resolution was too low. C'mon, it's a dvd - it's supposed to be a high quality picture. I had to then buy the Monster Cable kit, which didn't quite get rid of the problem.
Moving on, loading linux and converting it to a mythtv frontend box. I got the initial boot image loaded using the MechAssault hack and installed linux (Xebian). No problem. Fortunately I bought a unit with a Samsung dvd player and a Conectiva video encoder (go to xbox-linux for the reasons why on this if you're interested) which made installing linux a breeze. Granted this part is not neccessarily due to the hardware or software of the XBox itself but these are dissapointing features which none the less caused me to dislike this project in the end. Problems encountered: while playing shows/tv through any viewer (xine, mythtv, etc) the screen is sluggish and any fast movement in the show causes "trails", and could not get control of the remote (keyboard works much better), it would freak out most of the time.
Not entirely happy so far with the linux kit. The hardware is great - soft touch and quiet keyboard, mouse video out to monitor adaptor, 40G Seagate hard drive, network adaptor - but the linux distro kinda sucks. It's a 2.2.1 kernel and the documentation claims that you can't compile your own kernel for compatability reasons. I changed to the Rhino version (which is a debian port) but when I put in my own apt sources it would fail because it was looking for a binary-ee directory in the path. Not sure why that is yet. I'm still working with it, but if I can't upgrade the kernel to at least a low level 2.4.x then I'm kinda screwed where myth is concerned I think. We'll see. I'm not giving up yet.