retro southampton

Southampton Shop Spotlight: Retro Hut

Remember the days video-games didn’t ask you to pay for level two onwards? Or when you didn’t need a fibre-optic cable to actually get the game?
Or perhaps you fondly remember those warm-yet-scratchy sounding vinyl discs with amazing cover artwork? Some featuring striking designs such as a prism of light being split into a rainbow of colours.
Wouldn’t it be good to find somewhere local in the real world that you actually walk to where you can have a friendly chat with the proprietor (and other like-minded shoppers) and re-live those good ol’ days?
Well, I have good news: Southampton boasts several such shops and I’m here to introduce one of the finest of those establishments: Retro Hut
If you venture a relatively short distance north from Southampton Central train station you can find Retro Hut – if all else fails just look for the life-size Dalek from Doctor Who (not a joke, there is one outside).
Rob from Retro Hut has been on the scene for more than a year and has built up a reputation of being a down-to-earth and very fair chap. He is also a lovely chap to speak to and will even take requests if you’re looking for something specific.
Retro Hut will also buy your unwanted retro stuff which you can even trade for new stuff. There’s nothing like the honest feel of cash in your hand to spend – much better than using a card where you can succumb to temptation 😉
Inside the shop you will find retro video games, hardware and accessories from the 8-bit and 16-bit console era – along with more recent PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Xbox 360 and PS3 stock. There is also a selection of vinyl discs, comics & magazines, electronic games, Transformers, LEGO, superhero figures and if you look closely you will find an amazing coffee table book that chronicles the history of video-games.
Some exotic stuff passes through here – one time on a random visit Rob showed me a copy of a very rare and valuable Super Nintendo PAL game: The Firemen.
Outside you may also find a selection of bicycles – I saw several BMXs, kids and adult bikes on display.
My connection with Retro Hut is just as a happy customer, I urge anyone with an interest in anything retro/pop-culture to give them a visit 🙂
They have a Facebook page too where Rob features photos of weird and wonderful new stock.

retro tech

Farewell Xbox XBMC

It is with some sadness that I learnt Team XBMC has decided to cease official development of the Xbox branch of XBMC. Reading the comments on the article and you will discover that despite this era of Hi-Def video formats and Blu-Ray, there is still a large number of people perfectly happy on standard definition and the Xbox. If some of the comments are to be believed, one can actually play some 720p content on the Xbox at an acceptable framerate! (when I tried this the film looked more like a comic strip in terms of frame rate 😉

I make no apology for being an unabashed XBMC fan. XBMC > MythTV (and the user community is actually helpful, unlike the MythTV people who will sneer at you). I have several systems at home. One is even modded with a remote power on sensor. It completely blew me away when I first completed a softmod and installed XBMC for the first time. It turned the humble Xbox into a lean, mean media center machine that does an absolutely superb job. Being on the Xbox means one benefits from super-fast boot up and ready connection to a TV and audio system.

Got a Hi-Def TV? Then use component video out with the 720p skin for an amazingingly sharp crisp picture. Got a surround sound system? Then use optical digital out to pipe Dolby Digital or DTS to your amplifier. Got a DVD or CD to playback? No problem with the in-built DVD-ROM drive – oh, and it will rip your CDs to HDD at the click of a button too. I think DVDs are upscaled when watching in Hi-Def mode too, Star Wars: A New Hope DVD looked amazing through it. Your media is on a NAS? Hook your switch to the Ethernet port on the back and share via Samba/CIFS or UPnP. And I have not even mentioned emulators like MAME yet. Add the in-built support for the Xbox DVD remote control and all in all, the Xbox platform is almost the ideal appliance for a media centre!

You can pick up a second hand Xbox these days for £10. If you want to enjoy your movies, music or pictures through your large screen telly, I urge you to buy one and try XBMC. You won’t look back I guarantee it.

It looks like the Xbox branch will live on at a new home. There is life in the humble Xbox yet!