The video just stopped working. Yesterday, when I downloaded Puzzle Quest at 1 a.m., I noticed that the video suddenly went greenish. I removed and replaced the video cable from the back of the console, and that seemed to fix it. Last night it started to go a little green again, and this morning when I booted it there was no video at all.
My first thought was that the video cable was damaged. I did notice a little stress on it, since I have my console sitting horizontally on a high shelf (for maximum ventilation) and gravity does pull on it. But I tried swapping the cable for another and even tried standard definition output. Nothing worked, except to swap in a second Xbox 360 - which worked fine with either cable in either setup. So clearly it's the console.
I called 1-800-4MY-XBOX, and the tech confirmed that the video card has probably failed. So 12 minutes later, they're sending me a box to ship it in for repairs (estimated turnaround: 10-12 days after they receive it). But here's the interesting thing: When I asked if they had a solution for transferring content ownership from my old Xbox 360 to a new one (assuming they provide a replacement instead of a repair), the support person said they do.
If you're not familiar with this downloadable content issue, any purchases you make are locked to both your gamertag AND console's unique ID. So if you buy an Xbox Live Arcade game, map pack, TV show, theme or picture pack, and you want to use it on a different console, you need to be logged into Xbox Live or it won't be authorized. If your Internet goes down, or you're at a LAN party or relative's house with with no 'Net hookup, you're out of luck. And if your 360 dies and is decommissioned, up until now you've just been out of luck. They did issue me a credit for my few purchases in 2005, but I had to use my wife's gamertag to buy them again on the new console - and this isn't a very good system when you have 50 or so items, as I do now.
I pried, and he said the Xbox Live service team can activate my purchased games and downloads for the new console. I suspect that this is a half-truth or misunderstanding. If this problem has been solved, why haven't we heard about it yet? Has anyone else been through this process and had ownership of their Xbox Live purchases transferred to a new console? I sure hope this is true. But, unless someone can confirm it, I'll believe it when I see it.
p.s. - Here's an example of why Microsoft DRM for the Xbox 360 really stinks. I just realized my primary Xbox 360 will be out for repair when the free Oblivion downloadable add-on Fighter's Stronghold hits next week. It's only free for one week. I can download it to my wife's 360, but if I ever want to play the game offline I'll either need to use her console (which might not have all of the other mods installed to it) or purchase it again with her login on my new console.
This is, of course, assuming Microsoft salvages my other purchased content and downloads (which includes another Oblvion mod that was free for a limited time, and a couple more that came from an OXM disc). The risk is that I might load a saved game that depends on one or more of these mods and it might break it. And this is why I won't actually buy mods for Oblivion, and probably shouldn't take the free ones unless they're permanently free.
Now, in an ideal world, I would simply download the mod next week to her 360 and, when I get my old 360 or its replacement back, remove the license for the Fighter's Stronghold add-on and transfer it to mine. Many DRM systems (such as iTunes) support deauthorization - why can't the Xbox 360?