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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: MS Wins!
By creathir on 8/9/2006 12:45:24 PM , Rating: -1
Your argument does not hold water.
Sure it costs a little more, but this is a cost MUCH less than would have been incurred had they gone with a setup player.
On top of this, the overall system cost is DESCREASED due to the lack of the player in all systems. (Unlike a certain OTHER product)

The people that want HD-DVD or BluRay right now are not going to be your 14 year olds (well, they may WANT it...) which do not own HD TVs in the first place. The target market at the moment are mid-20s plus that are gadget oriented types. More than likely, they are going to buy a separate player to watch the movies anyway. College kids that own a PS2/PS3 are not going to CARE if it has HD outputs because usually they cannot AFFORD to have an HDTV. Microsoft is just being consumer friendly by offering this as an option, and not JAMMING one format or another down our throats.

It would be naive to think that all consumers of video game systems want to use high definition movie playback technologies, especially given the lack of market penetration of HDTVs out there.

- Creathir

RE: MS Wins!
By christovski on 8/9/2006 5:20:00 PM , Rating: 5
Why do people follow up with their names when we can clearly see who posted the comment even before actually reading it. Looks like blowing your own horn to me.

MS has their console strategy straight right now, console first (no HD, no supercapacity optical, splurging on devkits and if necessary, developers), entertainment second (WMCE broadcast point, HDDVD addon), and no possibility of being a PC pivot.

Sony seems like they want a convergence, they're not pushing anything really more than the other right now. It might have it's own flavour of Linux for general computing with a decent HD, it has what might seem like a midrange BRDVD player for entertainment, and you can always count on Sony for some of that good old Nipponese support as a gaming console.

The 'retard' PS3's will sell hot for that two reasons: Sony would never enforce HDMI, not for another generation until it's absolutely standard, and you are getting a set top box media centre that will play your existing collection along with the new stuff. Developers only need at the most 1gig for swap space, and that's guaranteed w/ a 20gig HD, so the retard version doesn't hurt you like it did w/ the x360.

Regardless if you want or you can handle the HD offered by both, it's being forced onto you with both systems, just MS prefers to do this as needed instead of in one lump sum. The difference in power between the systems is a wash, the gaming capability of either systems is pretty much the same, now the future purchases depend on what else you might want to do with it.

Not that I expect Sony to follow through on their So'nix and P-Station Live...

RE: MS Wins!
By creathir on 8/10/06, Rating: 0
RE: MS Wins!
By christovski on 8/10/2006 8:46:22 PM , Rating: 1
You sign your letter when Dailytech forces you to post your username. A second showing of your name, identical to your username, is just shoving it down our throats much like another company.

Maybe English class can teach you the proper use of commas, too.

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