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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: Good move by MS
By othercents on 8/9/2006 10:50:58 AM , Rating: 0
it's going to be the cheapest HD-DVD player you can buy without a doubt, when it comes out.

If you add in the cost of the 360 then it is not the cheapest HD-DVD player. However the PS3 is going to be the cheapest Blue-Ray player including the cost of the console. MS just likes to spin things so that they come out ahead.

For more of MS's more budget minded customers this is a great advantage.

Do you think MS was thinking about budget minded people when they created the 360? Do you also think they didn't include the HD-DVD player when the 360 released because of the cost? Both answers would be NO, but you probably say YES. 360 is expensive compared to all the other consoles that are available. MS wanted to be first to market and since they were they had to cut corners. This included not being able to provide HD-DVD players when the 360 was released because the standard wasn't finished yet. 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.

Also since the majority of people do not own 360s I would say most people are looking at the total cost of ownership for the 360 compared to the PS3 including the HD Player. They are also comparing the two consoles and trying to make a decision on which one best meets their needs. This also includes the amount of space the console takes up on the shelf. Since you purchased the 360 early you really don't have this type of decision to make. However don't discount those people who do by calling them "narrow minded". Technicially those people are in the majority and you happen to be in the minority.

All of this PS3 vs 360 might not matter at all. Wii could take it all and we will still be stuck with buying a separate HD-DVD or Blue-Ray device.

BTW. I own a HD TV and am interested in a HD Player, but unsure which format to go with. Plus give it a year and the player prices will come down as competition between the formats increase.


RE: Good move by MS
By MrDiSante on 8/9/2006 12:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
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
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

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,'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> 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 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.


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

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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