Microsoft's Xbox 360, successor to the original Xbox, features a high-powered central processor and even without a high-definition DVD add-on, it manages to boast top-of-the line graphics and sound. Two versions are currently available, both designated as Xbox 360 S.
The primary difference between the two models is price and the size of memory storage: The more expensive unit carries a 250GB hard drive; the cheaper model has only a 4GB internal flash drive as storage. Both can connect with the Xbox LIVE online service, where you can play many titles online with friends. The 250GB version is also backward-compatible with a large selection of original Xbox titles. (But you'll need a connection to the Internet to download the necessary information.)
The Kinect is a relatively new accessory for the Xbox 360 that allows controller-free motion-sensing gaming. The nearly foot long peripheral camera and laser device sits in front of or atop your television and enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 by it "seeing" gestures, presented objects and images, and "hearing" spoken commands. Special Kinect games are required.
The 360 system can play regular DVDs, not Blu-ray. You can connect an MP3 player and other devices. And you can also download movies, TV shows and other content from Xbox LIVE. (A hard drive is required). One last "you can": You can connect a digital camera and view pictures.
The Xbox 360 has the most expansive list of parental control options of all the next-generation consoles.
1) Game Ratings: The Xbox 360 console reads and reacts to a game's ESRB rating. Parents can select the game ratings they want their child to play, from EC (early childhood) to M (mature).
2) Video Ratings: The 360 recognizes and reacts to ratings encoded into movies, TV shows and other videos. Parents can set the console to play R, PG-13, PG or G-rated movies.
3) Access to Xbox LIVE: Parents can allow or prevent the console from connecting to Xbox LIVE.
4) Xbox LIVE Marketplace Content: Parents have the option of deciding the level of content kids can access while browsing Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
5) Family Timer: This feature allows parents to set the amount of time that the console can be used on a daily or weekly basis.
6) Pass Code Lock-Out: Parents set a separate pass code that will keep their Family Settings protected and ensure that they are the only ones who can access or change them.
The original Xbox has the same game and DVD rating restrictions (based on ESRB ratings) as the 360. However, the Xbox does not have a Family Timer control.