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Xbox360 Elite internals with HDMI (Source: Llama.com)
Halo-themed Xbox 360 hints at Microsoft making HDMI output standard-issue

When Peter Moore lifted up the Halo Special Edition Xbox 360 console at its reveal at the Microsoft E3 press conference on Tuesday night, most onlookers were likely disappointed by the lack of any truly new hardware, such as a built-in HD DVD drive, or price drop. But easily overlooked is the fact that the Halo-themed console could offer a glimpse into the future hardware versions of the Xbox 360.

Although central to the announcement of the green and gold Xbox 360 is its Master Chief motif, a closer look at the specifications of this special edition box reveal that it is equipped with an HDMI port. This in itself is not groundbreaking for the console, as the Xbox 360 Elite as it is currently carries the HDMI port.

What is interesting to note is, that aside from the HDMI output, the rest of the console inclusions mirror that of the $399 Premium box – including the 20GB hard disk drive. Microsoft could have easily just given the Premium package the new paintjob and label it the Halo edition, but instead the company made an active decision to include HDMI output.

At the time of the announcement, Microsoft’s Peter Moore didn’t even mention the new console’s HDMI output, which perhaps could be a sign that the company views the feature as one that should be a part of all its future Xbox 360 packages. The price of the Halo edition console has not been announced, though it should not carry much of a premium over the regular Premium unit. For gamers looking to get HDMI output without the higher price of the Elite console, this could be the answer.

The Halo edition console likely shares the same internals as the Xbox 360 Elite, though the pairing of it with the 20GB hard disk drive points to Microsoft’s desire to make HDMI standard issue. With every the growing sales of HDTVs, Microsoft would be wise to add the output standard to all its consoles to compete on a feature-set level with the PlayStation 3.

Currently, Microsoft uses two different scaling chips for its console. The older one, codenamed ANA, is found in the Premium and Core, while the new scaling chip HANA is in the Elite. Microsoft could be looking to move completely to HANA scaling chips, along with the HDMI output for its redesigned “Falcon” Xbox 360, which is said to feature processors built on the 65nm process.

Hardware revisions throughout a console’s lifecycle are commonplace in the industry. Commenting on the discovery of new heatsinks in the Xbox 360, a Microsoft representative said, “Regularly updating console components is commonplace within the industry and is a standard aspect of the business for a variety of reasons including cost reduction, improved manufacturability and improved performance.”

Changes to hardware even occur to mature consoles. Sony recently introduced a new PlayStation 2 model which significantly reduces the weight the console by simplifying the machine’s internals. Sony also removed dedicated backwards compatibility chips from the PlayStation 3 in an effort to reduce costs.



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Makes sense
By FITCamaro on 7/11/2007 10:06:30 AM , Rating: 2
This is exactly what I thought about it when I saw that it had the features of the Premium + HDMI.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Then the production is stream lined for the console itself. All that differs will be the hard drive size. Allows Microsoft to not have 2 different production lines going and lowers cost.




RE: Makes sense
By bkm32 on 7/11/2007 10:39:58 AM , Rating: 2
I've been arguing this for awhile now. This goes for the controllers, too--just include the wireless one and save some dough.


RE: Makes sense
By FITCamaro on 7/11/2007 10:59:54 AM , Rating: 2
Controllers aren't essential in the production of the console. Thats just a matter of which to throw in the box. Some people want a wired controller. I'm generally one of them. But I have to be honest, I'm damn impressed with the wireless 360 controller. I've gone about 30 hours of play time since charging my controller, and I still haven't gotten a message saying to charge it.


RE: Makes sense
By Ryanman on 7/11/2007 2:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I stuck with wired cause I didn't want a lag excuse, but after actually using the wireless one there is no lag that I can tell. And yeah, the batteries last forever.


RE: Makes sense
By christojojo on 7/11/2007 11:42:35 AM , Rating: 2
I like the wireless controllers but they seem to break quicker than the wired ones. We have 2 of each. The wireless ones seem to go through rechargeable batteries or lose connectivity. (I love the Firefox spell check). I have bought new rechargeable batteries that wont last a session. Yes, I do follow instructions for charging, and I use a flashlight to discharge for memory to see if that helps. I think wireless should last longer than a year; connectivity wise.


RE: Makes sense
By christojojo on 7/13/2007 2:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
Just after posting used my "working" wireless controller to start system and recieved a quasi BSOD saying contact Microsoft. It shut down then rebooted like nothing happend. I have not been able to reproduce it again though.

Any suggestions?


RE: Makes sense
By TheFro on 7/11/2007 11:43:01 AM , Rating: 2
I'll have to disagree with you, only because I can't see Microsoft including HDMI on the Core version of the Xbox 360, seeing as how it could easily cannibalize sales of the Premium and Elite versions.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Premium version didn't come with HDMI, just to force people to get the Elite version, especially with an imminent price drop

With the Halo 3 edition, I think Microsoft is using the 20GB HD to use excess inventory and bundling it with Elite internals to promote sales and increase profit margins.


RE: Makes sense
By Ryanman on 7/11/2007 2:13:02 PM , Rating: 1
M$oft Announced they were discontinuing the Core system a long time ago.


RE: Makes sense
By UNCjigga on 7/11/2007 2:45:47 PM , Rating: 2
O RLY?


RE: Makes sense
By MooseMuffin on 7/11/2007 2:54:10 PM , Rating: 2
I have two issues with what you said:
The core system was not discontinued.
The core system was never announced to be discontinued.


RE: Makes sense
By Ryanman on 7/11/2007 5:18:30 PM , Rating: 2
Whoa my bad I must have gotten it mixed up with the 20 GB PS3 or something..... Wierd that I'd completely make that up though :S


RE: Makes sense
By wallijonn on 7/11/2007 2:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With the Halo 3 edition, I think Microsoft is using the 20GB HD to use excess inventory and bundling it with Elite internals to promote sales and increase profit margins.


Yes, but what will be the price? Obviously it must come bundled with the game, so will it be the Premium + $60? Wouldn't that be too close to the Elite price? Or would it be the Basic, +$100 for the disc drive, +$60 for the game. again... Will it make more sense to just buy the Elite and add $60 for the game?

On case colour, please make mine yellow-gold, with a red stripe.


RE: Makes sense
By TheFro on 7/11/2007 3:37:06 PM , Rating: 3
If you read the announcement on Xbox.com, it specifically says that the Halo 3 game is not included with the Halo 3 version of the 360.

I think this console will command at least $50 over the price of the Premium and maybe sell for the same price as the Elite; quantities will be limited and fan boys love snatching up anything that is 'limited' or 'collector's' items.


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