Print 64 comment(s) - last by Oregonian2.. on Feb 25 at 3:22 PM

Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on gets put out of its misery

It looks as though Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on is the latest victim of HD DVD's failure in the marketplace. Microsoft announced today through its Gamerscore Blog that the Xbox 360 HD DVD player will no longer be manufactured.

The move to discontinue the Xbox 360 HD DVD player comes just weeks after Microsoft lowered the Toshiba-manufactured player’s price from $179 to $129.99 following mass defections to the Blu-ray standard. The drive was priced at $199 when it launched in late 2006.

Toshiba officially signaled the death of the HD DVD format on February 19 after it faced defections from Netflix, Best Buy and Wal-Mart. The company suffered an even bigger blow in early January when Warner Bros. decided to abandon HD DVD to focus on Blu-ray.

"We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called 'next-generation format war' and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop," said Toshiba Corp. President and CEO Atsutoshi Nishida earlier this week. "While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality."

Although Microsoft will no longer provide the Xbox 360 HD DVD player, the company is committed to continuing standard product support and warranty support for the add-on. Given the latest bit of news from Microsoft, expect a fire sale on Xbox 360 HD DVD players in the coming weeks as retailers rush to kick them off store shelves.

When it comes to the Xbox 360 platform, Microsoft simply stated, "We do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace."

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By therealnickdanger on 2/23/2008 8:48:14 PM , Rating: 5
I pulled that out of the air, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. Microsoft can't stand still on this, they can't let the PS3 be known as the only BD-capable console for too long. The only question is: will they go for a hybrid drive or a straight BD-drive? I would anticipate a BD-only drive in order to keep costs low and since people willing to have an external HD-DVD player probably won't mind another external drive to stack on it...

By Brandon Hill on 2/23/2008 8:51:03 PM , Rating: 5
Imagine the Sony advertising following THAT move.

"PS3: So good that even Microsoft admits the superiority of Blu-ray for its console."


RE: I bet we'll see a Blu-Ray drive in a month.
By Obsoleet on 2/24/2008 12:27:01 AM , Rating: 5
Nah, this is business. What's done is done. Ultimately, there's more to gain financially by having a BluRay addon than not.
If the market were so silly, MS's return tagline could be "PS3: A console so bad no one actually buys it to play games."

By Oregonian2 on 2/25/2008 3:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's probably not that big of a deal if they do nothing. They've sold about 18 Million Xbox 360's so far. They've sold something like 0.25 million HD-DVD add-ons.

In other words, more than 98% of Xbox 360's don't have a HD Disk, so it doesn't seem that big of a deal for it not to be replaced at all.

By sgtdisturbed47 on 2/24/2008 3:02:13 PM , Rating: 1
The PS3 isn't the primary support for Blu-Ray. Though Sony has a fat part in Blu-Ray, the PS3 console is in a different market than Blu-Ray players and movies. The PS3 is primarily for games (since its built-in Blu-Ray is sub-par compared to a standalone BR player), so Microsoft introducing a possible BR add-on won't effect the consoles themselves. It's an add-on. Microsoft was VERY smart in not having the HD DVD player built-in, because THAT would have affected the console sales.

I doubt Sony would go so far as to make such a statement as: "PS3: So good that even Microsoft admits the superiority of Blu-ray for its console", because the 2 consoles don't aren't focused primarily on what kind of movies they play, because like I said, nothing beats a standalone BR player.

By Deinonych on 2/24/2008 4:29:08 PM , Rating: 4
since its built-in Blu-Ray is sub-par compared to a standalone BR player

Upon what are you basing this claim? The PS3 is considered to be one of the better Blu-ray players on the market with its fast load times, excellent PQ and easily upgradeable firmware. The only real flaw it has regarding BR playback is that it won't output HD audio formats via bitstream.

By BansheeX on 2/25/2008 3:10:28 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft was VERY smart in not having the HD DVD player built-in, because THAT would have affected the console sales.

But it would have given consumers a much quieter drive and developers far more space for their games. It also would have prevented a bunch of people who bought the HD-DVD add-on from getting screwed, because when integrated, the console still benefits from the aforementioned space and acoustic properties despite the movie format failing.

By lukasbradley on 2/23/2008 9:04:40 PM , Rating: 4
I'll take that bet. Let me know how much you wish to wager.

By Master Kenobi on 2/23/2008 9:20:25 PM , Rating: 1
Indeed. I would be highly surprised to see a Blu-Ray addon drive to the X360 at all. More likely Microsoft will put it in their next generation console.

RE: I bet we'll see a Blu-Ray drive in a month.
By doctat on 2/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: I bet we'll see a Blu-Ray drive in a month.
By Sandok on 2/24/2008 3:28:52 AM , Rating: 3
I seriously doubt that... Apart from Korea and Japan, no other country in the world has fast enough ISPs for BR sized downloads.

The day of digital downloads will come in a long long time because the internet simply isn't fast enough for a majority of people.

By Aloonatic on 2/24/2008 4:00:36 AM , Rating: 2

What most people tend to forget when talking about internet access and speeds is that the fast figures quoted are true for a very small percentage of the population.

It's going to take a long long time (and a lot of investememnt) or some major breakthrough for rural areas to get the sppeds that inner cities enjoy now, let alone the high speeds that would be needed to download a BD worth of data.

Also, whilst hte connection to your home (and everyone elses) may be ultra fast, it doesn't mean that Sony/MS's servers will be able to deal out the data as qickly we you would like when everyone else has no choice to to download their game either. Those internet pipes would burst when Halo 5 was realseased.

Personnaly, I like physicals media too though. I'm one of those old fasioned types who wants a physical copy of what I've paid for just incase my hard drive destroys itself or someone steals my PC/console.

RE: I bet we'll see a Blu-Ray drive in a month.
By Belard on 2/24/2008 4:30:32 PM , Rating: 4
Why HD-Downloads won't cut it for the videophile and in general.
- Bandwith. Lets say a typical movie download of 1080 quality = 25gb,
that would take me on cable, about 4-6hours to download. When I go to
BB, I may pick up 3-8 movies at a time. Watch them when I or the
family feels like it.

- Portability: People already complain about DRM in HDM. DRM in
downloaded content is far worse. The download is locked to you PC or player.
So what if you want to take your video to a friends house? OOPS!

- Rented costs: Some downloads are $2 for 1hr, $4-5 for a movie.
Rental time is a 24hr period or a month holding time. So you have to pay
for it again. Perhaps people are thinking of pirate downloads which
don't expire?

- Flexiblity: You have 2-6 TV/players in your home. What fun that
maybe if the kids want to watch a video in room B, while you watch
something else in room A. With a Disc, you can just pop it into a player and
let it go. Remember the DRM thingy?

- Storage costs: A 500GB HD = $100. That will hold about 20 movies
(about 25GB each) so lets do:

- Overall costs: You pay $5 to rent the movie, maybe $10~15 to KEEP the

So lets do some math here. Currenly the recent Harry Potter film is a
2.5GB SD download from Amazon. It'll take 55mins on AVG to download (I
could leave home and come back from a local store in 15mins) before I
can watch it. Every 24hr period = $4 or pay $15 for DRM rights that
works on 2 DEVICES only. A windows PC (sorry Mac & Linux) or certain
TiVo Units or an iPOD/etc. or gee, I could go to Walmart and buy the the
movie for $16 or $21(2 disc version) or $25 Blu-Ray version and with
these discs I can play it on ANY PLAYER I want at any home or in a car.

So, back to HD download. You pay $15 to download a HD movie that eats
up $5~7 of hard drive space. Total cost = $20~22 for a DRM locked to
your PC movie. Or buy a Blu-Ray disc for $0~10 more. (BTW, if you're
allowed to make backups - You'll need another 500GB drive to back up
the first one - so add another $5~7 per title)

So lets say Joe-Bob has 200 HD-DL movies (not hard to do), he would need 2 TB HardDrives (2000 GB) to hold them, and for backup - since HDs do fail... and to have a single HD fail means 50movies just bit the dust. That's about $1,200 in Hard drives... or about $20~25 per movie title.

By Pneumothorax on 2/24/2008 5:40:37 PM , Rating: 3
Agree with your points. It's funny that the press is so quick to declare "death of media on discs", when we don't have the infrastructure to be transferring >25gb of data within a reasonable amount of time. I'm lucky to have Fios, but for the majority of people out there they're quite limited on DSL/Cable speeds. The other issue is the encoding rate. Apple's Apple TV HD titles are way too compressed for me and the artifacts show up too easily on a 50" 1080p plasma. I refuse to continue to pay a premium for downloadable content until it's on par with BD/HD-DVD bit rates.

One other thing, it's funny that companies like comcast are SOOO ready to start digital downloads and consume huge amounts of bandwidth for it when they were recently as 1 month ago complaining that P2P is eating up all their bandwidth lol.

By NullSubroutine on 2/24/2008 8:27:54 AM , Rating: 2
To be honest, if MS would have given a time and date when they would release a BD addon drive I wouldn't have bought a PS3.

Personally, I bought the PS3 for maybe 1-2 games (MGS4, GT and maybe if it comes out a FFVII remake) at most a year, but mainly for BD and backward compatability with PS2/PS1 games (got the 60GB just recently).

I would love to use it more for a media center type thing but I cant get my Xvid videos to play and not be jerky (haven't spent that much time on it cuz dont have any videos right now to watch on there).

I mean MS really isnt losing my game business, I mainly play games on there or Computer, but those 1-2 extra games a year could have went to MS had they made an announcement and date (plus amount they make on the drive).

By mmntech on 2/24/2008 11:17:27 AM , Rating: 2
Try using TVersity's on the fly transcoding. The PS3 can't read XviD files despite claims that it does. XviD is a derivative of DivX but it's not the same thing. It will handle DviX fine though, even ones over 2gb. Use the open source Dr DivX encoder if you don't want to pay for their commercial one.

As for the topic at hand, was anybody really surprised by this? Of course Microsoft wasn't going to keep selling the add-on. They only sold some 269,000 units despite having 18 million potential buyers. I still believe that the format would have been more successful if Microsoft had put the HD-DVD drive in the 360 Elite. I also think, despite claims otherwise, that Microsoft will try to position the 360 as an Apple TV alternative through an improved digital downloading service. They're already testing the waters in the UK through the BT Video service. BT does mention the drawbacks though I'm sure Microsoft already has some HDD upgrades in the works.

By Chaotic42 on 2/24/2008 3:48:07 PM , Rating: 2
Same here. The *only* reasons that I bought a PS3 were its Blu-ray capabilities and its certain upgradability. I might play MGS, but there aren't really any games that pique my interest.

By mles1551 on 2/24/2008 11:01:27 AM , Rating: 2
My question is this: WHY? Other than to say they have one, why would M$ develop a bluray add-on?

This isn't CD vs Tape or VHS vs DVD. Bluray & HD-DVD aren't being seen as a superior format to DVDs and the majority of the public have absolutely no idea what they are and what they do.

Until the public (not DT'rs) shows a true interest in moving to the Bluray format M$ should feel no obligation to release a bluray add-on.

M$ should concentrate on trying to recoup some of that $1bil charge and not worry about people buying the PS3 for a bluray player.

Your (M$) game developers are making games using the DVD as their focus and continue to support the 360 over the PS3 in coding these games, so why worry with Bluray?

M$ worrying about the PS3's bluray player is like the Viper guys being worried about the Vette's mpg, sure it's better but thats not exactly what most people buy it for.

By ioKain on 2/24/2008 8:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
I hope so otherwise it'll be a long time before I go hidef. I doubt the price drop speculation on bluray players will happen in the near future. Hopefully Microsoft will come through with an affordable 2.0 bluray player.

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