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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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Good move by MS
By XtremeM3 on 8/9/2006 9:23:38 AM , Rating: 5
I think some people like to bitch for the sake of bitching.

For the record:
I have an XBox360.
I have an HD compatible TV(actually projector but whatever).
I am interested in HD-DVD.
I do not yet own an HD-DVD player.

There are plenty of people that don't meet that criteria. The people that DO meet that criteria is who this device is for. If you don't have atleast an HD compatible TV or a 360, why are you even discussing this. It doesn't even apply to you right? Microsoft is not going door to door throwing HD-DVD player add ons at you.

If you don't have a 360 already well of course you can buy an HD-DVD player cheaper. If you think that MS is wanting people to buy a 360+HD-DVD player for sole use as an HD-DVD player you're mistaken. However, can that slightly cheaper HD-DVD player play games? Communicate with other people that have HD-DVD in voice or video chats? If you want something like that then pay the extra 100 bucks and get a 360+HD-DVD player(not anticipating price cuts that will be coming), if you want an HD-DVD player buy the Toshiba.

If you don't have an HD TV yet then obviously this is not a product that MS put out for you. You can't take advantage of it anyway.

Since I meet the above criteria I can spend another 200 bucks and have the ability to play HD-DVDs. Yay! I'm down for that. It beats me spending another 500 bucks to accomplish the same feat.

I can't believe that people are so narrow minded now that they think everyone should have the same views as them and everyone else that thinks different is retarded. If you don't want it...awesome. Good for you - you made your own decision. As far as the Vs. Sony discussion (that MUST come up with any 360 article) I personally like the way that MS did it. I like the fact that a 360 can be purchase for 399 right now for the premium and the HD-DVD player can be purchased later. For more of MS's more budget minded customers this is a great advantage. They understand that not everyone can dish out 6 or 700 bucks at a single time, but by splitting up the 400 and 200 will appeal to more people(not everyone but more). Those that can afford the 6 or 700 as well as the ones that can afford up to 400, so they are still selling Xboxes. Splendid move, and good business sense. Not to mention, you only have to spend the 200 later if you want to.

I'll probably buy this. I'll get to play HD-DVD movies for cheaper than buying the Toshiba now(which while having great reviews for picture quality lacks a bit in interface and load times that i believe will be fixed later) and I can wait for better/cheaper models later on. I don't feel like swapping out a 500 dollar piece of equipment once a year just because a better one comes out.

I'm not an Xbox fanboy, and I'm far from a MS fanboy. I'm a technology fanboy. I think HD-DVD is a pretty cool new technology and this will open up more affordable avenues for some people to enjoy such a technology using what they have available(in the case of someone already owning a 360 paying only 200 for HD-DVD playback).

As far as it being alot of money...money is relative. If you don't completely understand or believe that statement then you have never switched from being dead broke to having money or vice versa. I done both switches twice. I think right now I live pretty comfortably with a salary that's higher than quite a few. (a combined household salary that I know is higher than alot) - but I've been broke to the point i almost had a car reposessed. Money is relative and 200 bucks to you may seem like alot or nothing, while to another guy it may be the opposite. I like to weigh it like this:

I have a 360 so that means with this it would be 200 bucks for HD-DVD playback capability. The next cheapest option is the Toshiba which would be 500...so unless the Xbox option suffers from quality issues or other plagues, i'm going with the $200 option. I'm sure quite a few people have the same view. but hey, what do i know :)

Jeff




RE: Good move by MS
By rrsurfer1 on 8/9/2006 9:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that the add-on nature of the HDDVD player is a better business model because customers don't have to pay all at once.

I don't see Sony being able to do much with the added space of BluRay for gaming, which is the only advantage to their business model. Its possible they might end up using more than a DVD but it'll either be in-game video footage, or towards the end of the PS3 life cycle.


RE: Good move by MS
By therealnickdanger on 8/9/2006 10:59:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't see Sony being able to do much with the added space of BluRay for gaming

If I could find the link, I remember Sony specifically stating that the Blu-Ray discs would not be used for games at all. They are "stuck" with DVD just like Microsoft... which obviously isn't stopping Microsoft from making games with stunning visuals and audio. There's plenty of space, plus there's a part of the Xbox360 patent that describes special compression algorithms to compress data at up to 1/1000th the size... what, specifically, that compresses, I don't know.

While I would prefer an all-in-one package like the PS3, I don't want to be forced into paying out the arse for it... like the PS3... When Microsoft stuffs the HD-DVD drive into the Xbox360 and both consoles sell for under $300, then we'll have something to talk about.


RE: Good move by MS
By OrSin on 8/9/2006 10:18:40 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you. I was to lazy to write it out. People have different wants for everything ans peopl need to stop tring to put everyone in the same mold.


RE: Good move by MS
By othercents on 8/9/06, Rating: 0
RE: Good move by MS
By MrDiSante on 8/9/2006 12:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
360 is expensive compared to all the other consoles that are available.


Wow. Just wow. All the other consoles that are available are 6th generation consoles. Obviously they're going to be less expensive. It's like complaining about a Core 2 Duo being more expensive than a Pentium 4. And guess what?
I (as well as many/most others) buy consoles for the purpose of playing games. I have an Xbox and I've never, ever played a DVD on it. I will follow the same policy here, I will wait until either one format wins or at least the players end up less than 200$ and then I will buy a stand-alone player. I honestly appreciate the option of being able to make my own choice as to whether I want a next-gen player or not.


RE: Good move by MS
By epsilonparadox on 8/9/2006 6:30:41 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Sony is taking their time and not rushing their consoles like MS did. They are allowing their customers to get what they want in an all in one package instead of having to pay for add ons later on.


There's two things wrong with that statement. One, Sony isn't taking time because it wants to. Otherwise they wouldn't have said the PS3 initially would launch spring '06. Both formats' delay was caused for the same reason. The drm protection wasn't finalized. Two, Sony "customers" aka gamers don't all want a all-in-one media hub. The majority want a game console.


RE: Good move by MS
By XtremeM3 on 8/10/2006 7:09:31 AM , Rating: 2
Other,

I already stated that I highly doubted that MS is marketing this as an HD-DVD player alternative. They are not putting this out to sell more 360s. They are putting it out to sell exactly what it is- HD-DVD player add-ons for the 360. If I had an option to have "merely" (using this term loosely) the 360 owner consumer base to market a product to I would be doing cartwheels. A customer base which is already large and growing every day. If you allow me to play psychic for a second i'll make a prediction for you...ooohhmmmm...price cuts on Xbox360 at the time of PS3 release....ooohhmmm...ok i'm back. BAM! More customers.

As far as the 360 created for budget minded people. No, I don't believe that. You mentioned in your quote what I actually said "For more of MS's more budget minded customers" That's a much narrower field than "budget minded people" I guess it was too much for me to assume that to mean "MS's more budget minded customers who own a 360 or were thinking about purchasing one" My bad for not being specific enough, but it is a great move by MS to give current and future owners of Xbox360s the option to have HD-DVD capability for 200 bucks. MS is not trying to steal customers away from the Toshiba as a stand alone HD-DVD device. (however one could argue that even without my psychic predicted price cuts the core system+HD-DVD player match up pretty evenly to the Toshiba base model in price.)

As far as narrow minded people. I'm not referring to those who don't want to buy this. I'm referring to those who says it is a bad deal. Which is a narrow minded statement. Such as saying it's a good deal. Follow me along for this.

Guy - "The xbox HD-DVD player is a bad deal all around. With the cost of the console I would pay more than i would for the Toshiba HD-DVD player"
Salesman - "Wow, that's genius. You should buy a toshiba to play your HD-DVD player and save 100 bucks. You are right it's a bad deal."
Guy - "Yes, my knowledge amazes even me sometimes"

Guy#2 - "Hi, i'd like to buy the XBox360 HD-DVD player add-on"
Salesman - "Oh man, no...it's a bad deal"
Guy#2 - "Really? Cuz i have a 360 and just want to be able to watch HD-DVDs, 200 bucks seemed like the cheapest route to go"
Salesman - "No someone pointed out earlier that it's a bad idea, showed me the logic and everything. The cost of it and the console is more than a standalone HD-DVD player."
Guy#2 - "But I already HAVE a 360. It's only 200 bucks to me now"
Salesman - <head explodes>

See...save a salesman. (ok i'll admit that wasn't the best example, but it was fun and I'm bored at work right now.)
But I was basically saying that you can't say it's a bad deal or a good deal. I can say that's it's a good deal for me. You can say it's a good/bad deal for you. One could even go as far as to make a statement such as "it's a good deal for xbox360 owners" But to make a blanket statement of "it's bad/good" would be wrong. And one would probably be sent to hell for such an offense.

I agree on the format decision and feel your pain on deciding. I think that if I didn't have a 360 I'd be facing a tough decision. With HD-DVD getting better reviews on picture quality, but the deciding of what will actually win as well as movies only being on one or the other. Too many factors - I save that for another novel..er post. I don't think it can be argued though, the PS3 will put alot of Blu-Ray players in homes...and I thought it was a genius move by sony to incorporate it, but when it was announced the price wasnt. So while it will put a Blu-Ray player in every home with a PS3, how many will that actually be? Only time will tell.

Sony waited until the Blu-Ray player was more cost efficient to include in a console(obviously not the only hold-up, but it is more cost efficient now than a year ago). No doubt a great move. MS did not include the HD-DVD player because of price. Price to manufacture at the time. MS could have done it but it would have costed them a fortune with HD-DVD in it's infancy, the console would have had an outrageous price tag had it released with an HD-DVD player last year. However releasing a year early gave them a huge headstart vs. Sony. Basically a full year with no competition and then the option to drop prices to fight Sony's release. I'd rather be MS in this war. Starting out ahead. I bet MS marketing will be sitting in stores just to hear parents say "No I will not buy you a PS3 I got you that 360 thing last year" and smile smugly to themselves.

Jeff


No salesman were actually harmed in the making of this post(not that anyone would probably object anyway).


RE: Good move by MS
By bldckstark on 8/9/2006 12:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
EXACTLY XtremeM3. I own a 360, I won't pay PC prices for the PS3, I have a HDTV, I need a HD-DVD player and this is the cheapest one. I'm going to buy it, watch my HD movies (which are currently mostly analog filmed movies upsampled so they don't look so great anyway) and save myself $300 over buying the Toshiba. By the way, the noise doesn't bother me. With the 7.1 hooked up, I can hear anything but my movies.

By the way Gamepro (yes it's lame) magazine lists that 10 years ago Nintendo released the Nintendo 64 at $199 USD. They thought about $249, but decided that was too high. It sold more in one day than the Playstation did in three months. This was attributed to price. There were only two games available upon release, Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. That makes the Wii cheaper than a 64 given inflation. The 360 is about the same as the 64 was 10 years ago, and the PS3 is significantly more. The 64 games were priced at $70. That means that, except for the Sony, gaming is cheaper now than it was 10 years ago.

I want Sony to succeed so there remain three players in the market, but I am concerned about their pricing. The Wii is going to fly off of shelves because of comparative pricing disadvantages to the other two.

I am buying a Wii (that name is horrible) for my kids. Anybody out there have young twin boys? I do, and the thought of them having virtual sword fights instead of real ones with sticks makes me think I will probably save $250 in emergency room bills.


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher














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