by Andrew Moore
A video game console is an exciting addition to your home theater. Once you have made the decision to enrich your life with a video game console, the inevitable question is, which one do you choose? Selecting a gaming platform can be quite a challenge these days, with so many great options available. Since there are several different consoles on the market which all have different advantages and drawbacks, you'll need to do some research to help you to find the right one. Follow these steps and you will have the know-how to make a well-informed decision.
Consider your budget. The fact is that you can spend anywhere from $200 to $1,000 to get started with a new video game console, so you have to know how much you are willing to spend before you start. Modern video game consoles usually have Internet capabilities; is this important to you? Also, consider whether or not you want to invest extra money in the beginning to have a video game system with a larger hard drive. If you're not concerned about online play or having a large amount of storage, then you can go with the "base model," which tends to be far less expensive.
Decide who you are buying for. Your choice will depend very much on who will be using the console. If you are planning to purchase it for families and children, the power of the console may not be important; instead, you'll want one with intuitive, easy-to-use controls and a focus on family-oriented games, like the Nintendo Wii. On the other hand, if you are planning on buying a console for use by a veteran gamer, the graphics and power of the console become much more important. A veteran gamer will most likely prefer a realistic gaming experience both in terms of visuals and sound. Finally, the intention to play with friends or family members may affect your choice because some consoles only support two players while others support as many as seven.
Determine what you are buying for. Modern video game consoles offer many additional entertainment options. Most of the latest video game consoles will play DVDs and audio CDs, but some consoles do not. The Nintendo Wii, for example, does not currently support any kind of CD or DVD. The Sony PlayStation 3 is famous for its ability to play Blu-ray discs, and Microsoft's Xbox 360 plays HD DVD discs. Web connectivity is another option to consider. Depending on your choice, you may be charged monthly to use the Internet service on your console (on top of the fee from your ISP). There are consoles that offer free Internet service (aside from the fee from your ISP), but they may charge you to download a browser.
Take into account how your new console will complement your home theater setup. Every console will work well on a standard definition television; however, some might work better than others on an HDTV. Each console has a different maximum display quality. Check to see what your TV can handle, and if picture quality is very important to you, make sure to get a console that uses the full extent of your TV's power. Also, make sure that you can connect your new console to your home theater system with the right wires; most video game consoles come packaged with standard audio/video cables but may not include HDMI cables for use with HDTVs.
Decide what type of games you want to play. Not every video game is available on every console. If there is a specific game you want to play, make sure that it is available for the console you choose. Additionally, if you currently have a video game system and are upgrading, you might want to find out if your new system is backwards-compatible; if so, you will be able to play games from your former system on the new one.
Video game consoles have become hugely popular as home entertainment, and when you shop for one, you will have to make choices because there is not necessarily a console that fits every criterion. When you are choosing your new video game console, keep in mind exactly what you want it to do, and you will be able to buy just the right video game console for your home.