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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the first “next-generation”” game console to hit the market in November 2005, beating the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 by a full year.

Like its peers, the 360 initially suffered from a few limitations, but since its launch, the Xbox team has implemented an assortment of improvements. The result is a gaming console that is also digital media hub as well. Plug a digital camera, a flash card reader, a thumbdrive, or a music player into the Xbox’ USB port, and if it’s compatible with a Windows PC, you’ll likely have plug-and-play access to browse your photos, listen to your MP3s, and play WMV videos.

All of these features are essentially added extras on a device that has one primary purpose: to play games. Worldwide, Microsoft has taken the gaming experience to a new level with its Xbox Live service, and now that Xbox Live is set to hit South African gamers this year, many local players are getting ready to join the community.

In order to ensure that their picture is of the best possible quality, most gamers these days have connected their consoles with HDMI cables. HDMI cables come in when you want to hook up a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) system with that of a DVI.

Compared with standard A/V interfaces, HDMI interfaces actually have a number of important advantages. The uncompressed format delivers digital HD video, multi-channel audio, and control signals between various HDMI and/or DVI components. By combining all this power into one cable, HDMI offers a convenient connection alternative to the maze of existing analogue A/V cables that plague a home theatre.

Offering up to 1080p visual quality and fast digital data transfer, the multi-format HDMI cable from Exspect offers advanced 1.8 metre (6ft) cable technology giving the highest quality audio and video signal and high quality AV transmission for any console ‚ Xbox or PS3. This gold-plated cable transfers uncompressed digital audio and video for the highest, crispest image quality, and ensures an all-digital rendering of video without the losses associated with analogue interfaces and their unnecessary digital-to-analogue conversions, meaning that graphics and video clips will be crisp and clear.

Expect multi-format HDMI cable SRP: R199.99.

And while a crystal-clear picture is a must for gaming of any kind, communication can’t be forgotten for online play. The ability to chat with friends and other users while playing online is essential to the success of any gaming strategy ‚ and makes the experience more fun too. That’s where Exspect’s Xbox Live Headset comes in.

The headset is connected to the Xbox 360 controller in order to be able to communicate with other users over Xbox Live, and communication is as simple as talking normally into the adjustable microphone. The headset features volume control and microphone mute functions so the user is in full control of what is heard either side, and can be worn on either the left or right ear.

Exspect Xbox Live Headset available from Look & Listen, Incredible Connection and Makro stores nationwide. SRP: R199.99.

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