Playing Xbox Live over Google WiFi While Driving

There are dozens of ways to hook up DVD players for in car viewing. A few of them even have recommended configurations for playing video games from passenger seating. None of the in car entertainment solutions offer a way to connect to online gaming services like Xbox Live. Brandon Wirtz and I decided to fix that by building the ultimate in-car Xbox Live gaming experience. With Brandon driving his Jeep and me in the back with a video camera, we captured the whole experience of Brandon’s roommate, Rose, playing Rainbow 6 Las Vegas and Uno (with Xbox Live Vision) while driving around Mountain View.

One of the things I love about being in Mountain View, California this winter is free WiFi from Google. The entire city has WiFi provided by Google. My permanent home in Seattle may have a Starbucks on every corner, but their WiFi still has gaps between stores. A citywide network like the one Google configured creates a number of possibilities for projects that require a persistent network connection.

Jake Ludington playing Xbox games in a Jeep

When you have too much WiFi and too much free time, you get a project like the one Brandon and I did this weekend.

We outfitted Brandon’s new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with a 23-inch Samsung HDTV and an Xbox connected to Google WiFi via my laptop, ala my Xbox 360 wireless connection sharing tip.

Jeep configuration viewed through the roof

We rigged up the HDTV screen to the back of the passenger seat using one of those flat wall mount kits, which was then zip-tied to the headrest. That was a surprisingly easy way to get a secure fit for the screen.

Xbox Live Vision configuration screen on an HDTV

Everything was powered by two power inverters. As you’ll see if you watch the video, we could have powered the HDTV screen and the Xbox 360 off of the same 400-watt power interver. The laptop we used for the Internet connection ran off of battery power, although we could have easily powered it from an intverter as well. If you had none of the parts, the whole thing, including laptop, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 camera, HDTV and intverters would likely cost around $4000 to setup. If you already have a laptop, Xbox 360, etc, you could re-create our setup for the cost of a screen and mounting plate

Rose looking over her shoulder while seated in front of an HDTV screen mounted in a Jeep

Spouse acceptance factor on this project is likely very low, but the wow factor may be worth the grief.

Sideview of an HDTV mounted to the back of a Jeep seat