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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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By rushfan2006 on 8/15/2006 3:20:44 PM , Rating: 2
I said it was stupid above because the only thing the HD-DVD allows you to do, is just that , play movies. If MS announced they'd produced HD-DVD games well then my whole point is shattered in a million pieces because THEN it would be worth a purchase more (I'd still wait for price drops though).

My point is why spend the money twice to watch HD-DVD movies (A) Of which aren't and won't be out in the mainstream kind of numbers that reg dvd movies are for quite some time and B) God knows when a format will be delcared the official victor Bluray or HD-DVD), merely because of the cool factor of it being the "new thing"? Merely because you have no patience?

You rant that you essentially think its stupid and pointless for people to be opposed to the player add on idea, yet I find it the opposite. In other words, you mean its SMART to waste money on something just because you have an impluse to buy it since you have no patience? You mean its the more SMART decision to invest $200 to watch movies on a game box in a format that you have no idea is going to stick around or not?

Then the meat of my personal argument of this things stupidity...if you are that into HD-DVD movies in the first place, that leads me to conclude A) You have invested in a quality HD-TV right? and B) You really like the surround sound experience that HD offers as well, right?

Well, I happen to be the same way. I enjoy the HD movie experience at home a lot. Because I do - I want a QUALITY component system that is a dedicated player and has all the features in it that a mere little "toy" HD-DVD addon player won't have. There is more to a player, for a high end system anyway, than just the ABILITY TO PLAY THE MOVIE AND SHOW IT ON YOUR TV! Why do you think folks with high end equipment drop a ton on high end component DVD players and receivers? DVD players can be had for $80 can get receivers for $200 that even suppoint DTS nowadays....go into a speciality HT store and talk to a sales person that "you don't need a HD-DVD player...because you have the x360 addon one" --- they'll try not to laugh in your face.

So yeah, an addon player that CAN NOT play games on a GAME CONSOLE but just a stupid idea in my opinion.

Sorry I don't throw my money around in the trash or something on any novelty idea of the moment.

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