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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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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?

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