Print 29 comment(s) - last by S3anister.. on Sep 21 at 7:04 PM

Microsoft will launch the HD DVD add-on for the XBOX 360 in Japan for around $170 USD

Microsoft's HD DVD add-on has been garnering a lot of attention recently as more details have started to pour out. The fervor surround the external HD DVD drive reached a head when it was rumored last month that the drive would indeed retail for right around the $200 mark. Today Microsoft not only announced that the XBOX 360 would receive 1080p support, but that the Japanese price for its most prized XBOX 360 add-on will be 19,800 yen (around $170 USD). Microsoft also stated that the drive would launch in Japan on November 17 and that it will include an XBOX 360 universal remote.

As stated in DailyTech's previous articles, the drive comes with two USB ports on the back of the back to make up for the USB port taken up on the back of the XBOX 360 console. There's also a cut-out on the back to hold your XBOX 360 Wireless Networking Controller (for those of you that forked over $99 for the privilege). The HD DVD drive will also be banking on ATI's H.264 decoder for the playback of high-definition content. The decoder, which uses ATI's Avivo technology, will rely on the XBOX 360's GPU to accelerate video processing. By off-loading much of the heavy lifting to the XBOX 360 itself, it allows Microsoft to make the external HD DVD cheaper to produce, thus passing the savings on to the consumer. For example, current set-top HD DVD players range from $400 to $500.

Microsoft’s approach to next generation DVD technology is completely opposite from Sony. Whereas Microsoft has decided to go for a lower price of entry with its XBOX 360 and give its users the choice of adding an HD DVD player for high definition content only, Sony has decided to build its PlayStation 3 around Blu-ray technology regardless of whether consumers choose the $499 or $599 version of the console. It has already been stated that Sony’s PS3 is more important as a launch vehicle for Blu-ray than for next generation gaming. Blu-ray has backing from 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, MGM, Paramount Pictures, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers, while HD DVD has support from Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers.

Microsoft’s XBOX 360 HD DVD announcement comes at a time when Sony is scrambling to get through production problems with its PS3 console. Production has been hampered by problems manufacturing blue laser diodes necessary for Blu-ray drive included on both 20GB and 60GB versions of the PS3.

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By Suomynona on 9/20/2006 1:43:33 PM , Rating: 2
This is cool, but what's the point if in a few years you can't play your HD-DVDs because there's no HDCP support?

By krotchy on 9/20/2006 2:03:16 PM , Rating: 2
HDCP - High-Definition DIGITAL Content Protection

Since the Xbox 360 only has analog video output (Component/VGA) it doesnt need to be HDCP compliant to output 1080P HD-DVD movies.

If Microsoft ever releases a DVI/HDMI output for the 360, expect HDCP compliance or big issues.

By drinkmorejava on 9/20/2006 2:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
Uhhh, HD-DVD licensing requires that if the signal is analog then the video quality must be downsampled. Course you could just resample it up, but you'll still lose 1/4 of the data.

By Xavian on 9/20/2006 2:47:46 PM , Rating: 3
What the guy is trying to explain is that HDCP was thought up because going from analogue (VHS) to Digital (DVD) allowed for perfect copies of the data/movie. Since component isn't a digital out, HDCP 'shouldn't' have a use... however as we all know the MPAA is greedy beyond belief and wants to use the ICT to downsample ANYTHING that doesn't go through a digital connection.

By dwalton on 9/20/2006 4:25:45 PM , Rating: 3
By the time we see ICT implemented across the board, the 360 will be old as dirt. It would be like having a DRM feature implemented yesterday that downsampled all future DVD playback on the PS2.

Who would actually care? Who would regret purchasing the PS2 4 years ago because of a DRM feature that was implemented yesterday?

By PrinceGaz on 9/20/2006 8:51:02 PM , Rating: 2

That doesn't make the implementation of ICT at any point in the future a good thing however, in fact it is likely to be more of a pointless exercise that only serves to penalise consumers with older equipment. Those of us in the know will either have HDCP compliant equipment, or more likely the hardware/software to break/crack HDCP so that we can do with our HD content what we wish.

By Vertigo101 on 9/21/2006 2:38:36 PM , Rating: 2
Uhhh, HD-DVD licensing requires that if the signal is analog then the video quality must be downsampled. Course you could just resample it up, but you'll still lose 1/4 of the data.

Uhh, that's only if the ICT is present.

By tuteja1986 on 9/20/2006 5:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
Good thing about this drive is it will be hackable to work on PC too :)

Cheap HD-DVD player for PC/XBOX 360 anyone... anyways i am not even going to buy it as i have no desire for watching the next DVD for long time.

By newcastlenellie on 9/20/06, Rating: 0
RE: dvd
By das mod on 9/20/2006 2:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
that external drive is not intended for loading games ...
... those will always be developed for dvd only

RE: dvd
By Houdani on 9/20/2006 2:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
This is an accessory you plug into the 360, it's not a refresh of the console itself. Thus, no crying is necessary.

RE: dvd
By dwalton on 9/20/2006 4:33:54 PM , Rating: 2
Even if MS allowed HD-DVD only games, what pub would be stupid enough to release a HD-DVD only game and shrink there potential consumer base of millions to a few thousand?

Even a dual release of DVD and HD-DVD title of the same game is dubious. Look how long it took for pubs to release games on both DVD and CDs. DVD drives market penetration was pretty before pubs even thought about trying it even though gamers had been asking for it for years.

RE: dvd
By Kilim on 9/21/2006 1:43:34 PM , Rating: 2
What I am hoping for, since in my experience (i worc at Gamestop), most consoles fail due to bad disc drives. Is that the HD-DVD will be able to read your game discs. Sort of a bacc-up system for your drive if the main one fails.

That may mace it worth-while, if only as sort of a fail-safe system if your main one dies and you are out of warranty.

(btw, I have no cay cee, I lost it.) :(

RE: dvd
By QueBert on 9/21/2006 2:28:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think we might see released with both disc's sooner then later. No company would be stupid enough to release a HD-DVD only game. But, they could sell a "deluxe" version with an HD-DVD disc that had extra content etc. For extra cash of course. It would be a smart business move, as if you slap "deluxe" "unrated" "unreleased" ot something that consumers tend to go "ohhh!" and flock to it. I will agree with you, the CD/DVD game thing took way too long. Even now some games that take up 3-4 cd's don't seem to have DVD versions, which sucks.

Back in the days I remember a lot of the PC games I bought came with both 3 1/2 and 5 1/4 floppy versions.

RE: dvd
By S3anister on 9/21/2006 7:04:56 PM , Rating: 2
didn't read the article did you?

the HD-DVD drive is for ALL xbox 360's. As far as I know, microsoft is not going to make the HD DVD drive a standard add on to come with the 360 package or anything like that. So you saying that my console is being made half a generation old is, retarded.

interesting ...
By das mod on 9/20/2006 2:26:00 PM , Rating: 3
after seeing the usb interface
i wonder if is PC compatible ??
even if is not, i wonder what would happen when plugged to a PC ....

RE: interesting ...
By Xenoterranos on 9/20/2006 2:37:40 PM , Rating: 1
:: DONK! ::
System: Unknown Device detected
System: Auto Search for drivers?
System: LOL! Internet!
:: DONK! ::

RE: interesting ...
By peternelson on 9/20/2006 4:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
Since microsoft are in the pc market with windows OS it might make sense for them to release windows drivers (albeit maybe just offering data read not movies).

There are many more pcs than x360 so it would be a large market.

However, with x360 MS has been encrypting/verifying data to/from peripherals. This was the target of the recent x360 dvd drive firmware hacks.

Therefore in a while I would imagine enterprising hackers enable drivers for linux and a replacement firmware to enable the drive to work with pc.

Since vista drivers (particularly 64 bit) need MS signing I doubt they will sign a rival driver for their xbox product on windows. So maybe we won't see that from third parties.

RE: interesting ...
By feelingshorter on 9/20/2006 7:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
microsoft doesnt manufacture HD-DVD drives. They arent in the market to compete with companies who make internal drivers for computers. Like microsoft has done with the 360 controller, i believe they will sooner or later allow the HD-DVD addon to link up to a computer. Its a smart move that will give it more sales.

RE: interesting ...
By therealnickdanger on 9/21/2006 9:05:35 AM , Rating: 2
... I'm sure they may allow it if the user has a HDCP-compliant (and equipped) graphics card. If not, I'm sure there will be a hack released very soon after.

Universal Studios
By shabodah on 9/20/2006 2:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
So Universal is really the only studio that is only releasing videos on HD-DVD?

RE: Universal Studios
By therealnickdanger on 9/20/2006 3:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
Where did you read that? From Wikipedia:
Universal Studios, The Weinstein Company, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., New Line, HBO, DreamWorks, Image Entertainment, Magnolia Pictures, Brentwood Home Video, Warner Music Group, Ryko, Goldhil Entertainment, and Studio Canal.

RE: Universal Studios
By gamara on 9/20/2006 6:26:37 PM , Rating: 3
If you read, he said 'Only'. From the article, it was the ONLY publisher listed that supported HD-DVD that was not listed on the Blu-Ray support list.

I personally hope Blu-Ray goes the way of the Betamax and the Dodo.

RE: Universal Studios
By PrinceGaz on 9/20/2006 9:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well given how Sony are doing at the mo, and how Blu-Ray's future seems to live or die on the success of the PS3, things don't look very good for the format. Especially not here in Europe where the PS3 won't be launched for another six months.

Anyone who really wants an HD player will have bought a proper one by then (ie. not a console), and by the time the PS3 launches, the selling-point of it having a Blu-Ray drive will be moot as better dedicated HD-DVD players will have come down in price to well below what the PS3 costs.

Blu-Ray may yet be victorious if they can make the players as cheap as HD-DVD players, and release as much content on it within the next few months, but if they don't it is doomed to failure, PS3 or not.

By Chillin1248 on 9/21/2006 4:14:48 AM , Rating: 2
I see on the back of that hardware the following ports:

USB #1
USB #2

But what is that small port? Is it a HDMI or is it a USB female?


By scavio on 9/21/2006 8:28:37 AM , Rating: 2
It's for your USB cable (you need to plug it into your 360 somehow!).

By PAPutzback on 9/21/2006 9:53:16 AM , Rating: 2
IT is a standard USB port. Maybe not the common larger one but still it looks like the standard port you see on cameras or some external enclosures that need smaller connections.

No More
By crystal clear on 9/21/2006 5:44:34 AM , Rating: 3
"Inventors have come up with a design for a disc that can store copies of films in rival high-definition formats.
A US patent has been filed for the discs that could hold both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray versions of movies. "

Source -BBC website.

Hopefully such a disk will be out in the market-sooner the better.Any way right now only at patent stage.

Here comes the EU
By crystal clear on 9/21/2006 6:28:54 AM , Rating: 2
"EU probe into rival DVD formats

Both HD DVD and Blu-ray promise better picture and sound quality
European Commission competition officials are looking into the licensing strategies behind the two rival next-generation DVD formats. "

BBC website.

Another long drawn out war?

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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