Print 28 comment(s) - last by therealnickdan.. on Nov 15 at 1:26 AM

The HD DVD player will not load games
On and offline retailers begin selling HD DVD player for Xbox 360

Microsoft has finally released its HD DVD player accessory for its Xbox 360 gaming console. The standalone HD DVD player initially made its appearance back in August. Microsoft also released a dashboard update to allow compatibility with the HD DVD player last month. Select local and online retailers began selling the HD DVD player last week while others have it available for pre-order. DailyTech managed to purchase the retail HD DVD player from the local EB Games. As expected, pricing for the retail unit is $199 before taxes.

The HD DVD player package contains the physical drive, power supply, USB 2.0 cable, Xbox 360 universal remote, installation disc and King Kong on HD DVD. Not included with the package are component or VGA video cables that are required to experience high definition video goodness. Nevertheless, users that purchase the HD DVD player should most likely have their Xbox 360 connected to an HDTV anyway.

Unpacking the HD DVD player is pretty straightforward. The physical HD DVD player is simply an HD-DVD drive in an USB 2.0 enclosure that matches the Xbox 360—white with chrome trim. Since the HD DVD player occupies the only rear USB 2.0 port on the Xbox 360, it has a built-in USB 2.0 hub to provide two additional USB 2.0 ports. Additionally, the HD DVD player has a mounting spot for the optional 802.11g wireless adapter.

After plugging the HD DVD player into the Xbox 360, the included installation disc must be inserted. The installation disc installs necessary system files to allow the Xbox 360 to playback HD DVD movies. When the installation disc is finished installing what it needs, the Xbox 360 is able to playback movies using the HD DVD player. Watching movies is pretty straightforward, simply pop in an HD DVD movie and enjoy. The user interface for HD DVD playback is essentially the same as playing back DVD movies.

As the Xbox 360 HD DVD player accessory is a regular external USB 2.0 drive, DailyTech attempted to install it on various PCs running Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit and Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. All three operating systems were able to detect the HD DVD player as a regular Toshiba HD DVD drive. Unfortunately, Windows XP Professional refused to read HD DVD disks. Nevertheless, after installing the UDF 2.5 file system driver, Windows XP Professional was able to read HD DVD discs without issues.

Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit were able to detect the HD DVD player and read HD DVD discs natively as the operating systems have native support for the UDF 2.5 file system. None of the operating systems tested were able to correctly install the two “Xbox 360 Memory Units” that showed up with the drive. Nevertheless, the drive functioned properly without the “Xbox 360 Memory units” drivers installed.

Attempting to watch an HD DVD movie in any of the three operating systems proved to be a disaster. There are simply no HD DVD movie player applications for Windows available to consumers yet. DailyTech tried Intervideo WinDVD, Cyberlink PowerDVD and NVIDIA’s PureVideo decoder with no luck. Supposedly, the Japanese release of WinDVD 8 has built in HD DVD playback capabilities. However, DailyTech was unable to obtain a copy for testing. Nevertheless, Intervideo, Cyberlink, NVIDIA and other DVD player software companies should have HD DVD software players available once consumer HD DVD drives for PCs become available.

Update 11/14/2006: The drive works without the 20GB hard drive.

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By daftrok on 11/14/06, Rating: 0
RE: :(
By therealnickdanger on 11/14/2006 2:25:45 AM , Rating: 5
daftrok wrote: I don't wanna watch HD-DVD at 720p.

Why would you be watching HD-DVD in 720p and not 1080i? If you have a normal HDTV, it should be more than capable of properly deinterlacing and scaling the 1080i signal to your screen's native res. Due to license restrictions, NO ONE can watch HD-DVDs in 1080p over component. The Xbox360 will provide all other content in 1080p over component, but the console will switch back to 1080i output the second you start up the HD-DVD drive UNLESS you are using VGA.

It's a common misconception that 1080i60 does not equate to 1080p24. While this is argued over by some, you lose nothing by using a 1080i60 signal versus a 1080p24 signal on a 1080p display, since they are designed to properly deinterlace 1080i pixel-for-pixel to 1080 progressive.

Now that the HDMI 1.3 standard has been somewhat cemented as the de facto standard (knock on wood) for all things digital entertainment, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we see an HDMI adapter cable for the Xbox360. As good as the Xbox360's downmixing of Dolby TrueHD, DTS, and DD+ is, an HDMI cable will be necessary in order to stay competetive in the theater room...

RE: :(
By DingieM on 11/14/2006 5:31:43 AM , Rating: 1
I agree that MS should deliver an HDMI 1.3 cable in the near future. The only one thing that the PS3 truly has more than the 360 is the ability to output DTS(-ES), 7.1, TrueHD because of the HDMI interconnection.
Although the 360 "only" has maximum of 5.1 the quality of the sound is magnificent and is among the best in the industry.

RE: :(
By JNo on 11/14/2006 9:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
you lose nothing by using a 1080i60 signal versus a 1080p24 signal on a 1080p display, since they are designed to properly deinterlace 1080i pixel-for-pixel to 1080 progressive.

Are you *certain* you lose nothing? Do they *all* have quality deinterlacers on board? I'm not saying I don't believe you, just I find this a murky area. Any links/knowledge about this would be welcome. I know some MS guy said 1080i would lose nothing on 1080 displays (vs 1080p) but then why are so many clued up AV enthusiasts searching so hard for 1080p capable displays?

If 1080i capable displays can all display 1080p (even if they interlace and 'properly deinterlace' again as you put it), why aren't they just marketed as 1080p displays?! Also 1080p24 equipment is only just coming out. You have to have players that take the video off the disc at native 24fps and send it to a 1080p24/48/72 display, which should guarantee that no motion artifacts are displayed. I've never read a review of such a setup so presume it still isn't really available. So while 1080p24 may be transformed to 1080i60, I think it would be wrong to say that they 'equate'.

Now that the HDMI 1.3 standard has been somewhat cemented as the de facto standard

Apart from the fact that 'somewhat' and 'de facto' appear contradictory to me, I think that 1.3 is *far* from standard. Very little equipment has it so far and most of the general public are unaware of its existence/advantages (which are few and only noticeable by uber-enthusiasts). I imagine less than 0.1% of western households have it and would be surprised if it becomes 'standard' even in 5 years time.

RE: :(
By therealnickdanger on 11/14/2006 10:15:10 AM , Rating: 3
Are you *certain* you lose nothing?

Yes. For easy reference: You can also read for hours and hours on the AVS forums and absorb much more...
Do they *all* have quality deinterlacers on board?

Naturally, there's no way I can know that, but I would say that the overwhelming majority of advertised "1080p" displays have this capability. This is entirely why this obsession with "true" 1080p is kind of silly. Where the exception lies is with 1080i30, which is a different animal altogether. The day that everyone in the world (especially retail employees) gets their story straight on the exact HDTV formats and conversion processes will be a great day...
Apart from the fact that 'somewhat' and 'de facto' appear contradictory to me, I think that 1.3 is *far* from standard.

Nothing gets by you... Can't a guy make sweeping generalizations without getting hassled anymore? What's this world coming to? I'll tell you what, you find me another single-cable solution that can support all known HDTV formats along with all next-gen audio signals simultaneously, and there may be an argument against HDMI being "the standard".

By SunAngel on 11/14/2006 12:00:57 AM , Rating: 2
Good article. Thanks for writing it. $200 for HD-DVD...I'm in.

There's somethings money can't buy, for everything else there's DailyTech.

By The Sword 88 on 11/14/2006 1:06:46 AM , Rating: 2
Ywah now I need a 1080p TV

By AstroCreep on 11/14/2006 9:54:49 AM , Rating: 2
lmao, I noticed that too - 'Nevertheless' showed up 4 separate times!

By Shakkan on 11/14/2006 7:49:11 AM , Rating: 2
The same boys who kept saying 600$ for a console is crazy expensive. I rest my case.

RE: heh
By Goty on 11/14/2006 9:19:03 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that's what I've been saying.

"$399 + $199 MUST be better than $600, it only adds up to $598!!!1!!one!"

RE: heh
By ajfink on 11/14/2006 11:49:47 AM , Rating: 2
Man, it's a good thing I'm pay $200 for an HD-DVD player and not a console, then, isn't it?

Looking good
By GreenEnvt on 11/13/2006 11:49:00 PM , Rating: 2
MS appears to have done this right, HD-DVD drive that will work in your PC for far cheaper then any other HD-DVD drive. Good Job

RE: Looking good
By kristof007 on 11/14/2006 1:40:56 AM , Rating: 2
by GreenEnvt on November 13, 2006 at 11:49 PM

MS appears to have done this right, HD-DVD drive that will work in your PC for far cheaper then any other HD-DVD drive. Good Job

Now if we could only get that hard drive issue handled like Sony did ...

RE: Looking good
By SunAngel on 11/14/2006 1:53:10 AM , Rating: 1
my guess is this device is for use "off-line". thus, using your 20gb hd for storing full length movies is not practical. just download the trailers. if you like the trailer go buy the movie on hd-dvd, if not delete the trailer. once you've bought the movie delete the trailer.

ps3 and xbox360 are two different devices with similiar attributes but have different motives. sony pictures makes and distributes movies. microsoft does neither. it would be in sony's best interest to push for larger hdds to turn the ps3 into a one stop entertainment center. it would be in microsoft's best interest to support hdd playback, but remember there are media center pcs out that are exactly for this purpose.

Power Supply
By bplewis24 on 11/14/2006 12:12:23 PM , Rating: 3
Can any XBox 360 owners who are planning on buying this add-on chime in to say how they feel about having another power supply to deal with? I understand the benefits of not having a next-gen optical format forced on you with your console purchase, but this add-on route is starting to seem pretty cumbersome.


RE: Power Supply
By therealnickdanger on 11/15/2006 1:26:07 AM , Rating: 2
The PSU is rather small and is tucked away in my entertainment center with everything else... it's hardly an issue. For me, anyway.

Looking good
By Doormat on 11/14/2006 12:16:18 AM , Rating: 2
I bought mine at CC this weekend along with Serenity and Apollo 13 HD DVDs. The 360's VGA output isnt the best (I'd still prefer HDMI w/ BTB since the blacks arent anywhere near as dark as I'd like them), I might buy component cables and see if it makes a difference. But I am watching movies in 1080p. Wooo!

RE: Looking good
By Anh Huynh on 11/14/2006 12:17:08 AM , Rating: 2
I picked up Serenity as well but watching King Kong right now :).

By encryptkeeper on 11/14/2006 10:46:24 AM , Rating: 2
Do you want to know another reason that the adoption for HD DVD/ Blu Ray is going so poorly? Because the first movies that have been released are so crappy. They put out crap like Lords of Dogtown and Chronicles of Riddick. Nobody saw them in the theater, nobody bought them on standard DVD either. Crap movies=crap sales.

By edpsx on 11/14/2006 11:22:12 AM , Rating: 2
One movie title makes it worth it to me, 5th Element! WOOT! Not that Im actually going to go out and spend a grand just for one movie, but that is one of my all time favs. And I agree that most of the titles they have been putting out just out right SUCK. Once the adoption of HDTV sets is higher I think the next gen stuff will finally start to shine, but until everyone is willing to shell out a grand+ for a new TV and more for the player, its not gonna happen. PS3 and 360 will both help push us to this point but its not gonna happen overnight, never has, never will.

WinDVD 8 out today
By sotti on 11/14/2006 2:55:11 AM , Rating: 2
WinDVD8 with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray support was announced today. So go get it.

Ok here it is
By Pitbulll0669 on 11/14/2006 9:35:14 AM , Rating: 2
Most people dont realize that HDMI locks you out of you black adjustments on some TVs.And all it is,is a format for signal. .Its not Needed to play back in 1080p.So at this point in time Component is the way to go untill the industry figures out what it wants to do with HDMIbecause if you have a Home theater and your head unit uses HDMI and you have 1.3 cable your SOL. they wont work together.oh well ill be picking up one of these for the price you be Nuts not to.Peace.

With regards to DVDs...
By jabber on 11/14/2006 11:10:58 AM , Rating: 2
...whats the performance like, audio and picture wise, with standard DVDs? Is it any better than the standard 360 drive?

Have to say I was surprised at how good the standard DVD drive was through component.

Got mine on Thursday!
By therealnickdanger on 11/14/2006 12:20:48 AM , Rating: 1
All I have to say is WOW! Next-gen DVD looks good in the store, but it's a different story when you actually bring it home! It came with King Kong and I bought Batman Begins and The Rundown along with it. I can't really describe how sharp and clear and colorful it is, it is the definition of "amazing". HD-DVDs load really fast!

I've played with the set-top HD-DVD/BluRay boxes and they seem sluggish compared with this drive. What rules is that this drive uses one USB port and gives you two more! The remote is fantastic as well, they really did a great job with this! Props to Microsoft for the high quality! Did I mention the flawless integration with the Xbox360 interface? So awesome.

Full 1080p film, baby! YEAH!

RE: Got mine on Thursday!
By Goty on 11/14/06, Rating: 0
-1 For Vista
By BladeVenom on 11/14/06, Rating: -1
RE: -1 For Vista
By Thorburn on 11/14/2006 3:15:40 AM , Rating: 2
Same as how XP can't actually play DVD's without a third party codec, Microsoft could do it but then you have bundling issues and they'd get taken to court by Intervideo, Cyberlink, etc

RE: -1 For Vista
By CascadingDarkness on 11/14/06, Rating: -1
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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