Cover art for NIN Halo 22
Nine Inch Nails puncture Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on

Those with Xbox 360 HD DVD players who bought the recently released Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time concert disc were let down with the poor performance of the audio caused by a bug in Microsoft’s decoding software.

The NIN disc features a Dolby TrueHD lossless audio track, which promises excellent aural quality for those with the appropriate surround setup. The Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on is incapable of outputting a TrueHD signal, but instead it downsamples the lossless stream into a lossy 640kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

Even with the downsampling, however, most users report that TrueHD tracks sound better than regular Dolby Digital tracks. Unfortunately, that is not the case for the latest NIN release, as playing the disc in the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on with TrueHD results in “static popping” and “clipping” noises, taking much away from the experience.

Discussion of the issue on AVS Forum caught the attention of a Microsoft employee, who confirmed that the Xbox 360 HD DVD team aware of the bug and will be addressing it in an upcoming software update.

“We plan on shipping an update to the Xbox 360 HD DVD player in early to mid spring. In this update we will be adding DTS output, improved Audio, and improved title compatibility,” relayed the Microsoft employee, according to what he had heard from the Xbox team. “The variability there is that this is a software project and we are fixing/enhancing a lot of things and we want to make sure we get them right. So it is difficult to give an exact day for the update.”

Children of Men is another recent title that is giving HD DVD owners a headache. Both owners of standalone machines and the Xbox 360 consoles report issues where Children of Men freezes or refuses to play, even after trying multiple, retail exchanged copies of the movie.

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