XBox and HD DVD

teamerickson

teamerickson

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HD DVD Explained (XBox.com)

Xbox 360™ ushered in the era of high-definition gaming by standardizing high-definition resolutions and 16x9 widescreen support for every game (Xbox Live® Arcade included) on the system. What's more, Xbox 360, while powerful on its own, is also a foundation from which new technology and accessories can be added. Chief among these is the recently announced HD DVD add-on.

This much anticipated accessory carries with it an extension of the HD Era that Xbox 360 offers, and provides the most visually stunning movie watching experience available.

Understanding HD DVD
Understanding just what HD DVD offers and how it relates to Xbox 360 is the key to appreciating the kind of quantum leap forward the add-on provides. To most consumers, HD DVD is probably a new phrase, but it's simple to decipher. The HD is high definition and DVDs are those hundreds of millions of shiny discs sold worldwide.

"The major difference is going to be price, and all the leading indicators point to HD DVD winning."
In fact, HD DVD is the official next-generation optical format from the same international organization, the DVD Forum, that created the ubiquitous DVD format used for digitally storing movies, games, PC data, and more. That also means the new HD DVD players will also play back all of your current DVDs.

To be fair, there's a push from Sony to create an alternate HD format called Blu-ray. So now's a good time to examine why Microsoft®, and many other industry leaders, believe HD DVD is the clear winner for consumers.

Superior Quality
The current DVD format we've come to know and love provides a 480 progressive scan image, and while impressive, it simply doesn't match up to the advanced capabilities of high-definition resolutions HDTVs. HD DVD delivers a high-fidelity video and audio experience that far exceeds today's DVD, with video resolutions of up to six times the resolution of current DVDs and superior digital multi-channel, lossless surround sound effects.

When comparing the two formats, there is no difference in the video support with both offering 720p, 1080i and 1080p HD resolutions, leaving it to CE and PC manufacturers to determine which flavors they support based upon costs and consumer preferences.

"Both sides are laying their cards on the table, and the word is getting out that HD DVD is the best value."
This new accessory will connect to the Xbox 360 console with a USB cable, enabling it to harness the power of the Xbox 360 console for the HD video outputs and digital surround sound. As an accessory, it becomes another shining example of the flexibility of Xbox 360 designed into the console in order to grow and add new features. It's also just one of several new accessories being announced at E3. "There aren't any Blu-ray players available to test, but if you compare the requirements on paper it's going to be a wash in terms of video quality," said Albert Penello, Director of Global Marketing at Xbox. "At Microsoft, we've known that for some time. But the major difference is going to be price, and all the leading indicators point to HD DVD winning."

Pricing
With HD DVD, it is now becoming evident that the entire ecosystem—from players, drives, the discs, and manufacturing—is more economical than Blu-ray. Consumers and retailers can now see the immediate price gulf between HD DVD players and their upcoming competition. If you can find one of the new Toshiba HD DVD players (retailers nationwide sold out when they launched in April) they sell for as little as $499, whereas the expected starting price of Blu-ray players starts at $1,000 and rises rapidly after that.

HD DVD also offers new "twin discs" that have an HD DVD version and a DVD version on the same disc. This gives consumers an easy and affordable way to build their movie collection that will take full advantage of every TV in the house—whether it's the HDTV and new HD DVD player in the living room, or standard def TV and DVD player in another room, car, or even PCs and laptops.

Blu-ray's option is to require consumers to buy two discs at full price, an HD version and the standard DVD version separately.

Consumer Advantage
Outside of consumer prices, HD DVD is cheaper for manufacturers to upgrade their facilities to produce HD DVD discs and there are lower licensing fees associated with HD DVD interactivity—both key cost advantages. Ultimately, all of these advantages will lead to lower prices for consumers who choose HD DVD.

"Before January's CES trade show and before price announcements starting to come out, a lot of press and analysts were ready to declare HD DVD as DOA," commented Penello. "But we had really good insights into how these two matched up and we kept learning about technical problems with Blu-ray. Now that both sides are laying their cards on the table, the word is getting out that HD DVD is the best value. Consumers are voting by buying HD DVD players and movies. And since then, the industry momentum we've seen has been behind HD DVD."

Since January, CE and PC leaders like LG, Acer, Fujitsu (and Fujitsu-Siemens) have decided to support HD DVD in their products, while Sony, Samsung, and Pioneer separately delayed releasing their consumer Blu-ray players. (The first Blu-ray player is reportedly now slated for late June.) In addition, Sony delayed its PS3 game console launch and publicly blamed the problem on Blu-ray issues.

So what's the suggested price for the Xbox 360 HD DVD player? "Stay tuned. We decided to save that good news for another day, but we're clearly out to make this an affordable option for Xbox 360 owners," said Penello.

The last question is around studio support. HD DVD is supported by leading Hollywood and international studios including Paramount, Warner Brothers, Universal, Studio Canal, and more. It's expected there will be 150-200 HD DVD titles by the end of year.

"The momentum is with HD DVD. Eventually, we feel all the studios will support HD DVD, perhaps not exclusively. But the studios are too savvy to leave money on the table," said Penello.
 
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vurbano

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This would make the 360 worth buying IMO. Can you already stream mpeg2 HD files to it over ethernet?
 
Ilya

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The main question remains unanswered: how are they going to play HD DVD's with ICT flag if there is no HDMI output on XBox 360?
Fortunately, HD DVDs released so far do not have the ICT flag. Perhaps this will not be a big issue after all. We'll see.
 
Brewer4

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vurbano said:
This would make the 360 worth buying IMO. Can you already stream mpeg2 HD files to it over ethernet?

I have 2 Xbox 360's connected to my Media Server. With MCE, I can do HD mpeg files, native MPEG2 OTA recording and streaming, all my CD's converted to mp3's, all my pictures, even cached songs using Rhapsody. Its awesome. Only thing missing is native Directv HD capture. I have SD capture and downgraded HD but its not the same. In fact just purchased more RAM to go from 1 GB to 2GB. It was getting a bit close for my liking especially with 2 Xboxs, 1 MCE outputting and the recording stuff going on in background.

I do wish they did DVI or HDMI out on Xbox but so far the component stuff is working well. If they do enact the copy protection for anything on component, the XBox 360 MCE stuff is gonna be in big trouble.
 
vurbano

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Brewer4 said:
Only thing missing is native Directv HD capture. I have SD capture and downgraded HD but its not the same.

If you can stream HD mpeg2 then you can stream extracted Directv Mpeg2 HD. The TY files are easily converted to VOB or Mpeg2. Sure would be nice to be able to free up the PC and stream from My infrant NAS like my LP2 can.:confused: If I need to tie up a PC for streaming then I might as well buy a HTPC. And that kinda makes the 360 good for only games. If they want this thing to really succeed then they need to find a way to cut the cord to another PC. My gosh the 360 has the horsepower. :rolleyes:
 
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navychop

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Ah yes, another shill article pretending to be unbiased but designed to slam the competition. As production ramps up and prices fall, we shall see. The only advantage HD-DVD has is that it is cheaper, and that may not last.

The real determinant will be the titles for both. If one or the other gets more studio support, that one has a big leg up. Right now, the studios lean toward Blu-ray, and it's higher capacity.

It should be clearer after the end of year holiday buying season.
 
teamerickson

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navychop said:
The real determinant will be the titles for both. If one or the other gets more studio support, that one has a big leg up. Right now, the studios lean toward Blu-ray, and it's higher capacity.
Is this opinion? From the reports I've seen the current studios supporting HD DVD represent 60% of the sales from last year. Also, does the higher capacity justify the higher start up cost? As a consumer I want lower costs. If the quality of the movies is the same then go with the cheaper. You could use the extra capacity for movie extras, but how many of us really watch the hours and hours of extras?
 
mwgiii

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E3 info:

Xbox 360 HD-DVD peripheral--it looks like a mini Xbox 360 with a black front. The name is "Xbox 360 Player" and it will be available this holiday season. No price given.
 
Ilya

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The price should be announced shortly. Stay tuned! ;)
Bill Gates takes the stage...
 
Ilya

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Nope. No price announced at the press conference. We'll have to wait for PR's...
 
mwgiii

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teamerickson - check the Sony E3 press conference post on the Video Games board. The $499 is a crippled version. No HDMI port.
 
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mwgiii said:
teamerickson - check the Sony E3 press conference post on the Video Games board. The $499 is a crippled version. No HDMI port.


no HDMI no wireless no sd slot small hdd....it just aint worth it....that AND sony has yet to confirm that it will play blue ray.....
 
CWS_kahuna

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ShadowEKU said:
no HDMI no wireless no sd slot small hdd....it just aint worth it....that AND sony has yet to confirm that it will play blue ray.....

Not to defend the PS3, but no HDMI, no wireless, no SD slot, small HDD kinda sounds like my Xbox 360 (which I love BTW).

Let's see My Xbox 360 was $399, + $99 for the wireless adapter, + whatever the HD-DVD drive will cost. So to me I really don't think the PS3 is way out of line, assuming it will play Blu-Ray movies. Obviously the higher end Sony is the one to get if you're planning on using it as a movie machine.

As for the Xbox 360 HD DVD player, I was wondering if there might be an HDMI output on the player itself.
 
mwgiii

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Pics and story about the 360 HD-DVD player have been posted in the Video Game forum.
 

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