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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: IMHO - This is stupid.
By Brandon Hill on 8/9/2006 1:43:25 PM , Rating: 2
HD-DVD for Xbox 360....only watch movies no use for games.

Stupid. 'nuff said.

HD DVD games would mean that game manufacturers would have to produce TWO different types of games: one DVD and one HD DVD. That would also mean higher prices for consumers.

Remember, not everyone will go for the HD DVD add on and you still have to support your existing user base. What you suggest makes no sense.

RE: IMHO - This is stupid.
By willndowed on 8/9/2006 4:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
HD DVD games would mean that game manufacturers would have to produce TWO different types of games: one DVD and one HD DVD.

Not really. They have already released two different versions of several games: FEAR, Oblivion, COD. They charge more for the 'Game of the Year Edition', or whatever they want to call it.

I see it a lot like the way many developers release games for the Xbox and Xbox360 at the same time. They can release much 'larger' games on HD-DVD (and charge a premium) and a standard game on DVD.

Those of us who own a 360, and plan on buying the HD drive, will probably fork over the extra cash for a more intensive game.

BTW... The 360 and PS3, both claim to be more than a game console. They both aim at being more like media centers. I personally use mine to access my MP3's on my PC, as well as playing standard DVD's. The HD-DVD add on is probably the only way I'd buy any HD player for a long while... and Microsoft is probably going to win my HD business... for the near term at least.

RE: IMHO - This is stupid.
By MrSmurf on 8/13/2006 11:04:37 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think his post was meant to "suggest" anything other than it's silly, in his opinion, to spend $200 extra to allow an Xbox 360 to play movies.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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