Because its official date is less than a week away, I've been thinking a lot about the Xbox 360 Elite. By and large, the gaming press doesn't really get it, but that's because its not for them. An alternative name for it could have been Xbox 360 Home Theater Nut Edition.
There's a lot of good to it. The HDMI cable allows for HD-DVD at 1080p over a single cable. Good because those of us with low-end TVs don't have to depend on the TV for deinterlacing. The HDD upgrade is welcome for storing more HD movies. But those are rentals that expire. And DIY hacks as well as an official upgrade for the regular 360 will be around, it's questionable how much value that drive has.
So it comes down to HDMI and black paint.
Still, as someone who's taken an intense liking to the Xbox video marketplace and the HD-DVD player, I still want one. (Pay for one is a different story.) But what I really dream about is a version that commits the console to the living room in a much greater way. Here's my wish list:
DVR Functions: Let's start out with a bang. I want to forget about the Vista box in the living room, and shove it in the office, the way it was intended to be (See: HP ditching Home Theater PCs). Right now, to have both gaming and a DVR in the living room, the Microsoft ecosytem stupidly requires you to have both a media center PC and Xbox side by side. That's pretty idiotic. Just give the Xbox an external, USB 2.0 Cablecard tuner and a firmware update with DVR functions inside. Done.