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The HD DVD player will not load games
On and offline retailers begin selling HD DVD player for Xbox 360

Microsoft has finally released its HD DVD player accessory for its Xbox 360 gaming console. The standalone HD DVD player initially made its appearance back in August. Microsoft also released a dashboard update to allow compatibility with the HD DVD player last month. Select local and online retailers began selling the HD DVD player last week while others have it available for pre-order. DailyTech managed to purchase the retail HD DVD player from the local EB Games. As expected, pricing for the retail unit is $199 before taxes.

The HD DVD player package contains the physical drive, power supply, USB 2.0 cable, Xbox 360 universal remote, installation disc and King Kong on HD DVD. Not included with the package are component or VGA video cables that are required to experience high definition video goodness. Nevertheless, users that purchase the HD DVD player should most likely have their Xbox 360 connected to an HDTV anyway.

Unpacking the HD DVD player is pretty straightforward. The physical HD DVD player is simply an HD-DVD drive in an USB 2.0 enclosure that matches the Xbox 360—white with chrome trim. Since the HD DVD player occupies the only rear USB 2.0 port on the Xbox 360, it has a built-in USB 2.0 hub to provide two additional USB 2.0 ports. Additionally, the HD DVD player has a mounting spot for the optional 802.11g wireless adapter.

After plugging the HD DVD player into the Xbox 360, the included installation disc must be inserted. The installation disc installs necessary system files to allow the Xbox 360 to playback HD DVD movies. When the installation disc is finished installing what it needs, the Xbox 360 is able to playback movies using the HD DVD player. Watching movies is pretty straightforward, simply pop in an HD DVD movie and enjoy. The user interface for HD DVD playback is essentially the same as playing back DVD movies.

As the Xbox 360 HD DVD player accessory is a regular external USB 2.0 drive, DailyTech attempted to install it on various PCs running Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit and Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. All three operating systems were able to detect the HD DVD player as a regular Toshiba HD DVD drive. Unfortunately, Windows XP Professional refused to read HD DVD disks. Nevertheless, after installing the UDF 2.5 file system driver, Windows XP Professional was able to read HD DVD discs without issues.

Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit were able to detect the HD DVD player and read HD DVD discs natively as the operating systems have native support for the UDF 2.5 file system. None of the operating systems tested were able to correctly install the two “Xbox 360 Memory Units” that showed up with the drive. Nevertheless, the drive functioned properly without the “Xbox 360 Memory units” drivers installed.

Attempting to watch an HD DVD movie in any of the three operating systems proved to be a disaster. There are simply no HD DVD movie player applications for Windows available to consumers yet. DailyTech tried Intervideo WinDVD, Cyberlink PowerDVD and NVIDIA’s PureVideo decoder with no luck. Supposedly, the Japanese release of WinDVD 8 has built in HD DVD playback capabilities. However, DailyTech was unable to obtain a copy for testing. Nevertheless, Intervideo, Cyberlink, NVIDIA and other DVD player software companies should have HD DVD software players available once consumer HD DVD drives for PCs become available.

Update 11/14/2006: The drive works without the 20GB hard drive.


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Looking good
By Doormat on 11/14/2006 12:16:18 AM , Rating: 2
I bought mine at CC this weekend along with Serenity and Apollo 13 HD DVDs. The 360's VGA output isnt the best (I'd still prefer HDMI w/ BTB since the blacks arent anywhere near as dark as I'd like them), I might buy component cables and see if it makes a difference. But I am watching movies in 1080p. Wooo!




RE: Looking good
By Anh Huynh on 11/14/2006 12:17:08 AM , Rating: 2
I picked up Serenity as well but watching King Kong right now :).


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