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Word on the street is that it will retail for around $200

Microsoft has again showed off its standalone HD DVD player for the XBOX 360. Whereas Sony decided to include its Blu-ray drive as standard equipment on the PlayStation 3, Microsoft decided not to force HD DVD on customers and instead provides it as an option. For those that choose to pursue that option, word on the street is that it will come in at around $200.

While some consumers may scoff at a $200 add-on for the XBOX 360, one must consider that set top HD DVD players are retailing for $430 to $500 while Blu-ray players cost anywhere from $840 to $1,000. For those that have an XBOX 360 and want to add high-definition movies to their library, it's a relatively cheap (all things considered) and simple upgrade. "Here's what I can tell you for sure; it's going to be the cheapest HD-DVD player you can buy without a doubt, when it comes out. I think it's going to be a great value... Everybody is very enthusiastic with the direction we're going. There are still a few surprises left. And I don't want to spill the beans yet, but I think people are going to think it's a great value," said Microsoft Larry Hyrb (aka Major Nelson). The low price tag can be attributed to the heavy lifting being performed by the XBOX 360 rather than the HD DVD drive. "All the audio and video processing is done inside the XBOX," said Microsoft senior program manager Kevin Collins.

As for the hardback book-sized drive itself, Microsoft showcased the device running "The Phantom of the Opera." The design of the drive, which has the internal codename of Sapphire, was all done in-house by Microsoft while Toshiba was selected to manufacture the drive. It will feature two USB 2.0 ports on the back to make up for the one USB port that the device itself uses. It also features the same cut-out on the back as the XBOX 360 to hold Microsoft’s XBOX 360 Wireless Networking Adapter if you chose to mount it there. The HD DVD interface, while not yet finished, was also on display. Gamerscore Blog has images posted of how it will look including an animated gif of it in action. The new interface basically replaces the "old" Open Tray button on the dashboard with a hybrid button that can toggle between DVD and HD DVD options with the up/down arrow keys. The drive will also be software updatable via XBOX Live so as new features are introduced, they can be automatically downloaded and applied.

Microsoft has revealed that it has some surprises in store for gamers during the fourth quarter. We know that one of them is the aforementioned HD DVD player and Gears of War. Hopefully, this isn’t all that Microsoft is planning and we’ll have even more to look forward to as the holiday season fast approaches.

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not much too say
By Sharky974 on 8/9/2006 2:53:18 AM , Rating: 2
The reason people think it'll be $199 is because when MS first put the product page on during E3, it said it was going to be $199. They quickly removed the price, but I'd say that's a pretty solid indicator.

It's too bad they couldn't have used it for games. Still it makes sense for a guy like me. I own a 360 and now I will be able to get HDDVD for just $199.

Still Sony is right, if you add up all the crap in the non-retard Sony pack you get:

60 GB HDD, Wireless, perhaps slightly more powerful console, Blu Ray.

Xbox premium+HDDVD for same price you get 20 GB HDD, no wireless ($99 extra).

I have a feeling MS is planning a 360 with built in HDDVD for $499 or something like that. Which I hope they dont do do because it'll be stupid. But they have repeatedly hinted that they will come in cheaper with HDDVD than PS3 will. As it stands that wouldn't be the case.

Over the long haul though MS is playing it a lot smarter. We're looking at wow, Sony is a better value at $600 right now. Yeah, right NOW. What happens 3 years from now when these machines are dirt cheap. Then nobody cares about Blu-Ray in PS3 because you'll be able to buy one for $29 or something, just like DVD. Sooner or later both optical drives come up dirt cheap. Then MS can just integrate a dual DVD/HDDVD drive in the standard 360. But they can wait for the price to fall to dirt cheap, whereas Sony is making YOU pay a crapload NOW.

It's basically like DVD in PS2. Is DVD a big selling point in pS2 today? No. Why? Because everybody already has a seperate DVD player, and because DVD players cost $29.

That's the same thing that's going to happen inevitably with Blu-Ray. Blu Ray will not be a big selling point in PS3 in five years. But in the meantime, they jacked the price up in those all-important early years of PS3, which will retard sales just when they can least afford to fall behind 360.

RE: not much too say
By Epyon on 8/9/2006 3:16:25 AM , Rating: 2
Yes but 3 years from now when both the xbox 360/ps3 hd players are useless, the ps3 will have 25+ GB of storage space available to it for development. Most games wont need it, but I think there are some new things that can be done with all this extra capacity. Its somewhat of a chicken/egg scenario. You'll never know what that extra space could have been used for if it was not available to the developers to begin with.

RE: not much too say
By ChronoReverse on 8/9/2006 2:08:23 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, I'm just going to love streaming 25GB's worth of data at 2x read speed -_-.

Basically the extra space will be used for cutscenes and frankly, if a game consists of 20GB of cutscenes, there's something seriously wrong.

RE: not much too say
By epsilonparadox on 8/9/2006 6:19:23 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you streaming 25GBs straight from the drive? The HD is there to cache everything.

RE: not much too say
By ChronoReverse on 8/9/2006 7:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
So now I have to install stuff as well on a console? It's a 60GB drive on the high-end and 20GB on the lowend.

The proposed solution is better but not that much.

RE: not much too say
By Loc13 on 8/9/2006 9:21:22 AM , Rating: 1
You're right that DVD wasn't the selling point for PS2. It was the GAMES. The reason Xbox lost to PS2 is because its games are crappy and focuses on mostly the AMerican audience, while PS2 games had a much broader audience, wider selection, and better quality.

So if the selling points for Xbox360 and PS3 aren't HDDVD or blu-ray, it'll come down to games again. And when it comes to game development, sony will always have an upper hand. Just look at how many games were released for PS2 and how many for Xbox, you'll get the idea. Oh and look the genres too.

RE: not much too say
By MrDiSante on 8/9/2006 12:21:21 PM , Rating: 1
And now look at all of the third party support that the Xbox 360 is getting compared to the Xbox and look at the third party support dropping from PS3 because it's hard as hell to program for.
Another major reason that the PS2 won out by such a margine was an established user-base and having had a year's head start. This time at least people have heard of the Xbox brand and it's got a 25% market share which isn't bad AND it's released a year ahead, so they will have had time to sell over 10 million units by the time the PS3 comes out.

RE: not much too say
By jconan on 8/10/2006 4:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast had a headstart but didn't win the console race...

RE: not much too say
By ChronoReverse on 8/10/2006 7:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
The N64 had a headstart? Didn't it come out after the PSX?

RE: not much too say
By MrDiSante on 8/9/2006 12:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
We'll have to see about the more powerful console, but a large number of the non-Sony sources say that the Cell's less powerful for anything but floats and the real killer thing is that it's got a 16MBps local memory read speed. If that's true, I don't know what they're thinking.
Furthermore, the video card is not going to be capable of handling 1080p, perhaps it might be capable if there were two 7800's in sli, but as things stand now, I doubt that the games are going to be playable in 1080p.
Lastly, there's a problem with the read speeds of the drive. I doubt they'll include a 4X Blu-ray drive (and if they do I shudder to think of the loss Sony must take on each unit), which is what is necessary to equal a 12X DVD drive. It's going to have ungodly load times and if it has to read off the disc, ouch.

RE: not much too say
By fumar on 8/10/2006 3:43:57 AM , Rating: 2
Part of the reason that the PS3 is $600 (tard pack not counting) Is because the Cell Processor is rediculsly expensive to make (compaired to any other CPU) thanks to it having 1 main core and 7 secondary cores (1 disabled). Blu-Ray is a big part of the problem but just remember that while PS2 had a DVD drive, that tech had been in the market for more than 4 years, while Blu-Ray came out in July. So in 5 years the price for Blu-Ray players will probably be around $100 at the low end (just a guess).

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