Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 18:00 UK

Factfile: The Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 first hit shelves in November 2005 beating other so-called next generation consoles to market by more than one year.

The 360 was the successor to the original Xbox.

Click on the links below to explore Microsoft's latest machine.

DVD driveInfraredMemory card slotsHard driveUSB portsConnectivityWireless controller

HARD DRIVE

The external, custom hard drive sits on top of the console. It is a key part of Microsoft's attempts to position the Xbox 360 as the corner stone of the digital home.

PRICE CHECK
Nintendo Wii: 249 euros (179)
PlayStation 3: 399 euros (299) for the 40GB version
Xbox 360: 370 euros (260) for the 120GB version, 270 euros (200) for the Premium system (20 GB hard drive) and 200 euros (160) for the Arcade system

As well as being used to save games, it can store music and films downloaded from Xbox live.

Two versions of the console are sold with a hard drive: a 20GB version with the premium machine and a 120GB with the Elite.

Owners of the Core and Arcade versions of the machine can buy a drive separately. Normal USB drives can also be connected to the machine.

DVD DRIVE

The machine has a standard DVD drive capable of playing games, films and CDs.

A separate High Definition DVD drive was available until the format was discontinued.

CONNECTIVITY

Ethernet: A port on the back of the machine allows it to connect to the internet via the Xbox Live service. This allows gamers to play online against competitors around the world as well as download games and films from the market place.

Films in both standard and high definition are currently available in the US and Europe. Gamers pay for the downloads using Microsoft points. The net link will also allow consoles to download and stream television. The consoles do not have in-built wireless.

HDMI: All of the current versions of the console have an HDMI output, allowing gamers with high definition screens to play in full graphical glory. All new games for the machine now support high definition. An HD cable is supplied with all consoles.

WIRELESS CONTROLLER

The wireless controller works up to 10m (30ft) from the console allowing games to enjoy the action untethered. A rechargeable battery pack lasts between 20 and 40 hours. Recharging is done using a USB cable.

The controller contains a vibration system to give the player feedback from the onscreen action whilst a headset can be plugged in to allow gamers to chat online.

It also allows gamers to switch off the machine remotely.

MEMORY CARD SLOTS

Two memory cards slots on the front of the machine allow gamers without a hard drive to store game data. The Arcade version of the machine comes with a 256MB card.

USB

Two USB sockets are hidden beneath a flap on the front of the machine, with another on the back. They can be used to add a number of peripherals including a web cam or wi-fi adapter. The wireless controller can also be plugged in when it needs recharging.

INFRARED

The infrared on the front of the machine allows gamers to use a remote control with the machine, when playing DVDs or using it as a media center extender to stream photos or music from a compatible PC.





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