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Someday, these two may become one
Toshiba and Microsoft cooking up new HD DVD-enabled Xbox

For better or worse, some consumers are purchasing a PlayStation 3 not for its gaming abilities, but rather its Blu-ray Disc movie playback functionality. While Sony’s gaming division may prefer that its customers be gamers, the bottom line is that those interested in just Blu-ray Disc movies will give Sony another notch in the sales and installed base column – a phenomenon not unlike with DVD during the launch of the PlayStation 2.

With high-definition format crown still up for grabs, both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc camps are doing whatever they can to gain the advantage. Microsoft and Toshiba, the two main pillars of HD DVD, are reportedly working on a new entertainment set-top box that will integrate the gaming functions of the Xbox 360 and the movie playback functions of a Toshiba HD DVD player, according to Smarthouse.

The new device is supposedly being developed in response to Sony’s myriad of entertainment features on the PlayStation 3, driving the sales of Blu-ray Disc software.

Oddly enough, a recent study says that most gamers are clueless about the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 high-definition features, bringing into question the argument of consoles driving high-definition media sales.

“An Xbox with a built in HD DVD drive is critical,” a senior Toshiba executive in Singapore told the website. “They and we are working onit. It also has to be more than a gaming machine. Microsoft recognises this.”

As a full-featured entertainment hub, such a product would appeal to a broader market than just those in Microsoft’s current Xbox target audience. In fact, a Toshiba machine with similarly wide capabilities may hit the market. “A version of the device may also be sold under the Toshiba brand name,”added the Toshiba executive.

While current Xbox 360 owners may add HD DVD playback capabilities to their consoles with a $179 add-on drive, overall penetration of high-definition movies into Xbox gamers has been less than stellar. With an estimated 155,000 units HD DVD add-on drives sold in the U.S. through mid-year, Microsoft and Toshiba maybe looking into ways of getting the high-definition gaming crowd into movies.The answer may be in Sony’s strategy.

Sony has once dabbled before in releasing a consumer-centric entertainment machine based on its games console. Released only in Japan, the PSX was a set-top box with PVR and PS2 capabilities built-in. The PSX was reserved for the higher-end home entertainment purposes, but never quite found its market.

Xbox 360 gamers afraid that a new machine would make their current systems obsolete have little to worry about, however, as Microsoft has said on multiple occasions that its Xbox 360 games will never require an HD DVD drive.



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RE: Good all the way around
By softwiz on 10/22/2007 10:20:17 AM , Rating: 2
Why would it be unusable?

Couldn't you just purchase the add-on to solve that problem?

If there was a dashboard update necessary, then you'd just download and apply it. For those unable to download it, you'd likely use a disc.

If people decide that they shouldn't have to or don't want to purchase the add-on separately then those are separate issues.


RE: Good all the way around
By daftrok on 10/22/2007 11:20:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah lets make the consumer cough up 179 bucks added to their console just to play games in the future. Even MS isn't that retarded.


RE: Good all the way around
By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 11:23:21 AM , Rating: 2
There's already a decent number of HD-DVD add ons in the market place, so it wouldn't be as bad as say... the PS2 hard drive... Providing the option would be nothing but good... This could only be bad if MS started mandating all games be released on HD-DVD... But allowing for an HD-DVD Halo 3 Ultimite Limited Edition wouldn't be bad (and would scew HD-DVD media charts)...


RE: Good all the way around
By timmiser on 10/22/2007 5:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
All the HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 is is a pass through HD player. Games don't work on it and there is no reason to think that an HD-DVD would work on this drive as far as I can tell. I believe they would need to redesign the Xbox 360HD with an integrated HD-DVD drive to get HD-DVD games to work on it.


RE: Good all the way around
By Locutus465 on 10/22/2007 11:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
This drive operates as an optical drive like any other? Perhaps your confusing the fact that it can't operate as a stand alone player? The way HD-Playback works with the drive is the 360 uses it to read off HD-DVD information, then processes the video/audio using the buit in 3 core IBM processor... No reason in the world why it can't read game data off the drive..


RE: Good all the way around
By timmiser on 10/23/2007 2:35:02 PM , Rating: 2
I was a bit unclear, my point is that if they make an integrated HD-DVD drive in the X360 and then start making games on HD-DVD discs, those of us with the HD-DVD add on drive still won't be able to play the HD-DVD game.


RE: Good all the way around
By softwiz on 10/22/2007 1:43:06 PM , Rating: 2
I can't see it being any worse than Sega selling the 32X Genesis add-on. If you wanted to play the CD based games, you had to pony up. Before any one suggests that why it failed, I disagree. Sega had bigger problems than this.

It sounds like you feel you should be entitled to make use of anything either MS or a third party put on the market in the future. Unfortunately reality doesn't work that way.

When you buy a product, you're paying for what the manufacturer claims the product can do at that time. Any additional functionality added for free is a bonus but you shouldn't feel entitled to it since it likely was never promised at the time of purchase. To think otherwise seems rather spoiled IMO. However, if they simply stopped making DVD based games altogether then that I'd agree that would be bad but until that happens complaining about it is fairly unnecessary.


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