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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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RE: :(
By therealnickdanger on 11/14/2006 2:25:45 AM , Rating: 5
daftrok wrote: I don't wanna watch HD-DVD at 720p.

Why would you be watching HD-DVD in 720p and not 1080i? If you have a normal HDTV, it should be more than capable of properly deinterlacing and scaling the 1080i signal to your screen's native res. Due to license restrictions, NO ONE can watch HD-DVDs in 1080p over component. The Xbox360 will provide all other content in 1080p over component, but the console will switch back to 1080i output the second you start up the HD-DVD drive UNLESS you are using VGA.

It's a common misconception that 1080i60 does not equate to 1080p24. While this is argued over by some, you lose nothing by using a 1080i60 signal versus a 1080p24 signal on a 1080p display, since they are designed to properly deinterlace 1080i pixel-for-pixel to 1080 progressive.

Now that the HDMI 1.3 standard has been somewhat cemented as the de facto standard (knock on wood) for all things digital entertainment, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we see an HDMI adapter cable for the Xbox360. As good as the Xbox360's downmixing of Dolby TrueHD, DTS, and DD+ is, an HDMI cable will be necessary in order to stay competetive in the theater room...


RE: :(
By DingieM on 11/14/2006 5:31:43 AM , Rating: 1
I agree that MS should deliver an HDMI 1.3 cable in the near future. The only one thing that the PS3 truly has more than the 360 is the ability to output DTS(-ES), 7.1, TrueHD because of the HDMI interconnection.
Although the 360 "only" has maximum of 5.1 the quality of the sound is magnificent and is among the best in the industry.


RE: :(
By JNo on 11/14/2006 9:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
you lose nothing by using a 1080i60 signal versus a 1080p24 signal on a 1080p display, since they are designed to properly deinterlace 1080i pixel-for-pixel to 1080 progressive.


Are you *certain* you lose nothing? Do they *all* have quality deinterlacers on board? I'm not saying I don't believe you, just I find this a murky area. Any links/knowledge about this would be welcome. I know some MS guy said 1080i would lose nothing on 1080 displays (vs 1080p) but then why are so many clued up AV enthusiasts searching so hard for 1080p capable displays?

If 1080i capable displays can all display 1080p (even if they interlace and 'properly deinterlace' again as you put it), why aren't they just marketed as 1080p displays?! Also 1080p24 equipment is only just coming out. You have to have players that take the video off the disc at native 24fps and send it to a 1080p24/48/72 display, which should guarantee that no motion artifacts are displayed. I've never read a review of such a setup so presume it still isn't really available. So while 1080p24 may be transformed to 1080i60, I think it would be wrong to say that they 'equate'.

quote:
Now that the HDMI 1.3 standard has been somewhat cemented as the de facto standard


Apart from the fact that 'somewhat' and 'de facto' appear contradictory to me, I think that 1.3 is *far* from standard. Very little equipment has it so far and most of the general public are unaware of its existence/advantages (which are few and only noticeable by uber-enthusiasts). I imagine less than 0.1% of western households have it and would be surprised if it becomes 'standard' even in 5 years time.


RE: :(
By therealnickdanger on 11/14/2006 10:15:10 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Are you *certain* you lose nothing?

Yes. For easy reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1080p You can also read for hours and hours on the AVS forums and absorb much more...
quote:
Do they *all* have quality deinterlacers on board?

Naturally, there's no way I can know that, but I would say that the overwhelming majority of advertised "1080p" displays have this capability. This is entirely why this obsession with "true" 1080p is kind of silly. Where the exception lies is with 1080i30, which is a different animal altogether. The day that everyone in the world (especially retail employees) gets their story straight on the exact HDTV formats and conversion processes will be a great day...
quote:
Apart from the fact that 'somewhat' and 'de facto' appear contradictory to me, I think that 1.3 is *far* from standard.

Nothing gets by you... Can't a guy make sweeping generalizations without getting hassled anymore? What's this world coming to? I'll tell you what, you find me another single-cable solution that can support all known HDTV formats along with all next-gen audio signals simultaneously, and there may be an argument against HDMI being "the standard".


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