I am going to be without a television for about 6 weeks and needed to figure out a way be able to play my Xbox/Gamecube without a television. Watching TV shows and movies won’t be a problem as I now have my media server computer running BeyondTV and Meedio which I can just plug into the VGA port on my monitor (and run my desktop computer through DVI). I started looking at various ways to get Xbox video on my monitor. The first thing I thought of was using a video capture card (such as a Hauppauge PVR250, an ATI TV Wonder Pro, something along those lines. I have two Hauppauge PVR250 cards now but they are dedicated to my PVR so I didn’t want to give one up. Ultimately I decided that the video quality would be sub-par because I would be going from HDTV (now) to S-Video on the computer and could easily introduce some unacceptable lag (unknown). After extensive research I found the Neoya X2VGA and the VDigi Enhanced VD-Z3. Both boxes are effectively HDTV Component Video to VGA transcoders. They are about the same price, seem to have about the same quality (excellent, HDTV quality). Both have really slow shipping times (2+ weeks to get one to North America). I decided on the VDigi VD-Z3 because I can hookup any HD component video source to it (not JUST the Xbox) and it gets really good reviews (well, they both do). I found one on eBay and I should have it within about 3 or 4 days (much better than 2 weeks).
On a lighter note, I picked up Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory for the PC last night. If you haven’t played Splinter Cell you really should pick it up. I have been a big Splinter Cell fan since it first came out on the Xbox. I played both Spinter Cell and SC: Pandora Tomorrow on the Xbox. I played a demo of one of those two on the PC and didn’t like the control scheme but after revisiting SC: Pandora Tomorrow and the SC: Chaos Theory demo I decided I do like the PC control scheme…. Not to mention seeing Chaos Theory running at 1280×1024 on a GeForce 6600GT blew me away — the graphics are incredible (well not as good as Half Life 2, but…) the gameplay is just as smooth as on the Xbox and, unlike on the Xbox, you can save ANYWHERE, not just at certain points. I am a convert — Splinter Cell on the PC rocks.
Finally, we think we found an apartment in Rahway, NJ. We are keeping our figers crossed, but, it seems we have found a really nice place that is very close to a train station and about 42 minutes from NY Penn Station. The commute will be quite a change for me, but, it will be a train commute on, I think, one train — so I can just sit there and listen to an Audio Books or whatever. Then from NY Penn Station I am two quick subway rides and a walk (or Bus) to work. Should be roughly a 60 minute commute. This is less than a co-workers commute from Long Island (about 90 minutes) — I would guess a relatively average NJ commute. If I hate it we can move to the city (or wherever) in six months or a year.