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Things to Know Before Holiday Shopping for Electronics and Video Games November 25, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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With Thanksgiving upon us, the Holiday shopping season is at hand.  Undoubtedly video games and other electronic items are going to be at the top of most people’s wish lists, as three new gaming consoles have been gaining a lot of ground and releasing some amazing new games over the past year.

If you plan to pick up any of these new gaming consoles there are a few things you might need to know before purchasing them.  At the simplest, this information will inform you in advance of some minor inconveniences you may have with your new equipment, but there are some major issues that can prevent you from using your new purchases if you’re not aware of them.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

  • You must own an HDMI equipped HDTV to use the PS4 or Xbox One.  Neither console will work on SDTVs or HDTVs without HDMI ports.
  • The Wii U will work on older SD and EDTVs, but you will need to use a custom cable that isn’t included with the Wii U to connect it to legacy TVs.  You can get analog cables from Nintendo’s Parts and Supplies website, or use your Wii’s video cables instead if you already own one.
  • You must have a home with high speed internet to activate the Xbox One and install the latest system software.  The Xbox One will not function unless activated.
  • The Xbox One and PS4 can only play any games designed specifically for them to play, and there are no plans to bring legacy support for retail titles to either console.
  • The Wii U can play Wii games, and if you already have a Wii, you can transfer all of the save files and downloaded content from your Nintendo Wii to a brand new Wii U.  However, you will need a home network with a high-speed internet connection and a digital camera’s SD card with at least 512MB of storage to do a transfer.
  • All the modern gaming consoles come with HDMI cables, you will not need to buy extra cables if you just plan to plug your HDTV.  In fact, I recommend using the included cables as they are guaranteed to work well with the console.  Some third party cables can bring audible pops or temporary blank screens during gameplay.
  • You must pay for a PlayStation Plus membership to play online PS4 multiplayer titles. The price is $50US for one year.
  • You must pay for an Xbox Live Gold membership to play online Xbox One and Xbox 360 multiplayer games. The price is $60US for one year.
  • Destiny requires an online connection to play.
  • If you want to buy a PlayStation TV and don’t have a PlayStation Vita, there are a lot of PlayStation Vita games, including several killer apps for the system, which are still incompatible with the PlayStation TV.  Do not pick up a PlayStation TV if you plan to play a game like Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Silent Hill: Book of Memories on it.  Right now only the PlayStation Vita handheld can play those games.  Here’s a link to the official list of compatible games.
  • If you plan to play Blu-Ray Discs or CDs on an Xbox One, you need to download the apps that allow you to do so from the Xbox Store.  Don’t worry, they don’t cost anything to download, but they will need to be downloaded.
  • You must update the PS4’s Firmware to play Blu-Ray Discs, but a high speed internet connection is not required.  You can download the firmware to a USB drive and update the PS4 that way.  You can download the latest firmware update here.
  • If you have an older legacy surround sound amplifier (like a 5.1 system that does not have HDMI inputs), you still can use the PS4, Apple TV, and Xbox One on it to get full surround sound, but you must buy an optical cable and use your amp’s optical port.
  • A lot of new consoles, in particular the Xbox One and Wii U will actually come bundled with full versions of new games.  However, in some cases, these free bundled games will need to be downloaded from the internet, which will require a high-speed internet connection to redeem your game.
  • If you plan to pick up a Wii U or any Nintendo product, check out Club Nintendo to earn awesome rewards for your purchases.
  • Wii U consoles typically do not come with Nintendo Wiimotes or Nunchucks unless otherwise marked that they do.  You will need those controllers if you plan to play legacy Wii titles on your Wii U.
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