Xbox 360 is almost upon us and it's so close now you can almost taste it, but securing that shiny white box is only the first part of the problem. What funky new audio and video equipment should you add for the complete high-def set? Well, our good friends over at OXM 360 mag have been putting their heads together and their snouts in the trough to come up with some intriguing buys for your Xbox 360 gaming pleasure. Here's what they discovered, three recommended sound & vision systems to suit all budgets, tastes and living rooms...
TRUST SP-6300P, 26 GBP, WWW.PIXMANIA.CO.UK, 08700 118117
Although Trust's satellites won't give you hearing difficulties, they are by far the most affordable way to get surrounded in sound. At all stages you're talking lowest common denominator parts and performance. The 18W set offers basic stereo up-mixing to 5.1 surround sound while the tiny satellites muster 3 watts RMS apiece. It's frankly not going to rock your 360 world, but they offer 5.1 at an amazing price and are small and silver enough to suit Xbox 360's sleek design.
GIGAWORKS PROGAMER G500, 199 GBP, WWW.EUROPE.CREATIVE.COM, 0800 376 7954
To truly ignite the audio dynamite of Xbox 360, you're going to have to break open the bank a little. With THX certification, even Mr Lucas thinks these speakers sound
fantastic enough to wear his badge of approval. With a total of 310 watts RMS power, the system offers more than enough sound to fill a large living room. Able to fully up-mix stereo sound to 5.1, the additional purchase of the external Creative DDTS-100 (85 from amazon.co.uk) enables Dolby decoding.
DENON AVR-2106, 380 GBP, WWW.PRCDIRECT.CO.UK, 0870 777 2323
If money is no object, go get this dedicated A/V amp. It's expensive but frankly worth every penny. Supporting all the latest surround technologies (DTS-ES, DTS Neo 6, Dolby Ex) and multiple inputs including video source switching, it'll become the hub of your entertainment centre. Top-end speakers are additional to the amp price so be prepared to burn through the best part of a grand just on these. If you've spent this much on a top-end surround system, you'd better have some damn fine games to play on it.
PHILIPS 17PF4310, 399 GBP, WWW.JOHNLEWIS.COM, 08456 049049
Compact and bedroom-friendly, the 17PF4310 lives a two-faced existence - LCD TV one minute, PC computer monitor the next. The key to its appeal is the 17-inch WXGA (1,280 x 768 pixel) panel, so it's flexible enough to handle both 720p and 1080i formats. Admittedly, the 17PF4310 lacks analogue component connections, but it does boast a high-def DVI-D input that's compatible with Xbox 360's optional VGA cable. The 25ms response time might cause the odd judder, but the price and crisp picture balance it out.
TOSHIBA 37WLT58, 1,995 GBP, WWW.JOHNLEWIS.COM, 08456 049049
If a 42-inch display seems too big for your living room and a 32-inch TV doesn't seem big enough, then what about a 37-incher? This digital LCD wears its HD-ready badge with smug satisfaction, incorporating two HDMI sockets, analogue component, a VGA input, plus composite connections and a trio of Scarts. You could plug several 360s into this titanic telly. At this screen size, standard definition TV will show the ghosting and grain that you'd never see on a smaller set. But for HDTV and HD gaming it's a stunner.