Xbox 360 HD-DVD Drive on Display

News.com scoops first images

Posted by Staff
Microsoft finally revealed to select press it's HD-DVD add-on for Xbox 360, revealing a somewhat ugly satellite unit sat atop the now-familiar home console. The showing does put to bed the issue of how the 360 will combine with the add-on, though even the most ardent 360 fans will admit that the final solution isn't exactly ideal.

As you can see in the pics from CNET the HD-DVD drive apparently requires a further unknown unit that seems to bridge the console and the player. Microsoft did explain, in rough detail, how the machine works. The drive is just that - a drive - which sends a raw datafeed into the Xbox 360. All video processing is performed inside the Xbox console.

Microsoft did not offer a release date other than to confirm again that it plans to have the device on store-shelves in time for Christmas. No price was disclosed, though Microsoft representative Kevin Collins, senior program manager on the project, did say it would represent one of the cheapest HD-DVD player options through the launch of the technology and beyond.

Companies:

Comments

Showing the 20 most recent comments. Read all 38.
tg0006 11 Aug 2006 22:16
19/38
damn, that thing makes the xbox 360 look ugly as hell. i guess the halo faceplate was an attempt to try and balence that back out.
TigerUppercut 12 Aug 2006 07:23
20/38
alexhooren wrote:

Just to defend it here... it only scratches the disk when you move the console whilst its reading, I think thats not really a problem more someones been an idiot.

True. The PlayStation 2 will do that too. As will the Saturn, etc. Anything into which this disc isn't secured.

As for how it looks...

Depends on how it's sold in. [Sega fanboi]Add-ons can be cool. You can take huge pride in assembling a selection of hardware bits and pieces and there might be some architectural pleasure in assembling them.[/sega fanboi]

It's also worth noting that these shots are rough and ugly. However flawed the add-on might be, I believe the general tone of the reaction would have been somewhat lighter had the first images been expensively-produced press shots rather than digicam snaps that look like an electronic murder scene.

Still s**t though. Integrated Xbox 360 with HD-DVD inside the next 12 months. $20 PayPal bet on it.
more comments below our sponsor's message
DoctorDee 12 Aug 2006 13:01
21/38
zoydwheeler wrote:
yeh it's big and fugly alright, but if it's the cheapest HD-DVD option on the market this Xmas I'll still be buying one, and hiding it away under the telly somewhere...


Why? Why would anyone want an HD-DVD before Christmas? It's only a way of forcing DRM onto us.

There's precious little software, and what there is is overpriced. See how they worked a price hike in there even though they are doing HD purely to cut down on piracy - the same piracy they've always used to excuse for high prices...

Few people have an HD display, and those that do have a prjector or a Plasma, neither of which are ideal for hiding that monstrosity below...

DoctorDee 12 Aug 2006 13:07
22/38
TigerUppercut wrote:
I believe the general tone of the reaction would have been somewhat lighter had the first images been expensively-produced press shots rather than digicam snaps that look like an electronic murder scene.


No they wouldn't. It's f**king big and it's f**king ugly and it opens on the wrong edge - no amount of overpriced marketing w****ry could hide that.

You're just a shameless Microsoft apologist.

Ditto 12 Aug 2006 13:08
23/38
DoctorDee wrote:
Why? Why would anyone want an HD-DVD before Christmas? It's only a way of forcing DRM onto us.


I think there's a big question as to if any normal person needs HD-DVD or Bluray.

Why do we need these formats for films? For most, at the moment, DVD is a perfectly acceptable format, and films on it are cheap and easily available. People have built large DVD collections.

I personally see no reason for anyone except for hardened movie buffs to want to purchase a dedicated HD-DVD or Bluray drive in the next 3 years minimum.

I would say this is the brilliance of Sony's move, if people have a Blu-ray drive anyway, they might as well start converting from DVD to Blu-ray right away.
BlackSpy 12 Aug 2006 17:52
24/38
Yup, I have a nice cinema room, projector and screen and such and have zero interest in upgrading to a HD player just now. I really think they stuck in a half generation step - much like the 360 itself in terms of graphical improvement.
lozbag 12 Aug 2006 20:32
25/38
It even makes the table cloth look cutting-edge.
TigerUppercut 12 Aug 2006 20:33
26/38
DoctorDee wrote:
No they wouldn't. It's f**king big and it's f**king ugly and it opens on the wrong edge - no amount of overpriced marketing w****ry could hide that.

You're just a shameless Microsoft apologist.


No, I'm not a Microsoft apologist. Of course the general tone would have been different. It's not about overpriced w****ry, it's about respecting the timeline of emergence of any piece of consumer electronics. The initial reception should ideally (from the point of view of the manufacturer) come from marketing images. That way, they present it in its best light.

If you think it doesn't make a difference, why does every electronics manufacturer do it?

For the record, I think the HD-DVD add-on is a joke and expect an integrated console offering from Microsoft inside 12 months.
DoctorDee 13 Aug 2006 00:42
27/38
TigerUppercut wrote:
I'm not a Microsoft apologist.

You're the only person who has worked on SPOnG for over two years who believes that. And a there is a host of news stories and forum postings that do little to support your claim.

In fact, I don't think even you truly believe it, you just feeled compelled to claim it to maintain your veneer of objectivity.

It's not about overpriced w****ry, it's about respecting the timeline of emergence of any piece of consumer electronics.

That itself is one of the wankiest things I have ever heard. "respecting the timeline of emergence", you talk like you have a marketing executive's hand up your arse.

The HD-DVD bolt on is a poorly conceived and poorly designed device.

Only a credulous fool could be convinced otherwise by good lighting, a dynamic camera angle and photoshopping.

If you think it doesn't make a difference, why does every electronics manufacturer do it?

To convince the slack-jawed and gullible.

PreciousRoi 13 Aug 2006 07:15
28/38
This thing sucks, ugly, huge...the only excuse for this kludgetasm is the lack of an ideal solution, but this is a fairly feeble one. Better pictures and lighting would only highlight its craptacularness. Its a good thing 360 sales in Japan are already so low because this can't help. If MS allows publishers to release game content exclusive to HD-DVD, it would be an unforgiveable sin in my eyes. Personally (both as a consumer and if I were the one plotting MS long term plans for world conquest) I'd favor a revision coupled with an upgrade program(me, wacky brits), if possible. Better yet, $50 price drop and forget the HD-DVD altogether. This only invites unfavorable comparisons with Sony's unit. Admittedly, and this may be the only saving grace, it is at the moment and absent any HD-only game content completely optional, and most likely the best HD-DVD for existing 360 owners, but these are poor excuses after the fact for a bad...thing. I just can't get over the fact that MS coun't buy, bodge, or steal a better solution than this...c'est le guerre, I suppose.
vault 13 14 Aug 2006 21:50
29/38
Adam M wrote:
DoctorDee wrote:
Why? Why would anyone want an HD-DVD before Christmas? It's only a way of forcing DRM onto us.


I think there's a big question as to if any normal person needs HD-DVD or Bluray.

Why do we need these formats for films? For most, at the moment, DVD is a perfectly acceptable format, and films on it are cheap and easily available. People have built large DVD collections.

I personally see no reason for anyone except for hardened movie buffs to want to purchase a dedicated HD-DVD or Bluray drive in the next 3 years minimum.

I would say this is the brilliance of Sony's move, if people have a Blu-ray drive anyway, they might as well start converting from DVD to Blu-ray right away.


Indeed.

A few points though:

1)Why are all the 360 owners saying, "Well I have this big machine and this add-on is cheap and affordable. I'll probably one.", when for starters, 360 has no HDMI output (which could potentially mean a downgraded resolution; all Blu-Ray and HD-DVD standalones are required to have HDMI and only display resolutions up to 1920x1080 through it. Or at least analog vs. digital signal differential).

2)No one knows who will win. Buying a HD add-on just because you have a 360 is ludricious. Think of how many 32xs would of sold by that logic(!!!) Not to mention how it's a must to have an HD enabled TV, and a good one to boot. Not no Sylvania or Philips (yes, Philips sucks folks, face it). But I assume we all know what is required to notice any difference.

I have seen Blu-Ray DVDs in action. On a good tv, in good lighting, it's a phenomenal difference. Just take a look at a $9.99 budget DVD vs. a Blu-Ray demo loop up close and you'll see what I mean.

I, myself will own all three systems but I ain't getting any Blu-Ray movies till I know which side wins. My money is on Blu-ray! Fer sure.
PreciousRoi 15 Aug 2006 00:06
30/38
vault 13 wrote:

Indeed.

A few points though:

1)Why are all the 360 owners saying, "Well I have this big machine and this add-on is cheap and affordable. I'll probably one.", when for starters, 360 has no HDMI output (which could potentially mean a downgraded resolution; all Blu-Ray and HD-DVD standalones are required to have HDMI and only display resolutions up to 1920x1080 through it. Or at least analog vs. digital signal differential).

No 360 owners I know of talk that way, the 360 owners I know only bring up how big the power brick is, not the console, and are also generally intelligent enough to include a verb in most sentences.

perhaps the "further unknown unit that seems to bridge the console and the player" has teh HDMI?

Sucks anyway...hang the HD-DVD, I just want teh DVI as I have several displays capable of HD resolutions with that input, no HDMI and no plans for any, since DVI and any HD-DVD format as envisioned are mutually exclusive (for now, go 1337 h@xx0rz).

vault 13 wrote:
2)No one knows who will win. Buying a HD add-on just because you have a 360 is ludricious. Think of how many 32xs would of sold by that logic(!!!) Not to mention how it's a must to have an HD enabled TV, and a good one to boot. Not no Sylvania or Philips (yes, Philips sucks folks, face it). But I assume we all know what is required to notice any difference.

32x is a lousy analogy. Actually 360 owners buying this thing isn't the dumbest idea in the world, voting in the HD-DVD wars with the pocketbook, so to speak.

vault 13 wrote:
I have seen Blu-Ray DVDs in action. On a good tv, in good lighting, it's a phenomenal difference. Just take a look at a $9.99 budget DVD vs. a Blu-Ray demo loop up close and you'll see what I mean.

Aren't HD-DVDs just as better? Any special reason why it has to be a budget DVD, seems kinda unfair...shouldn't you be comparing the best DVD, not some cheapo...seems kinda disingenuous...
PreciousRoi 15 Aug 2006 00:27
31/38
vault 13 wrote:
Not to mention how it's a must to have an HD enabled TV, and a good one to boot. Not no Sylvania or Philips (yes, Philips sucks folks, face it). But I assume we all know what is required to notice any difference.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention, HD displays are nothing new to many Xbox owners. We've been capable of taking advantage of them for some time now.
Rod Todd 15 Aug 2006 07:09
32/38
PreciousRoi wrote:
also generally intelligent enough to include a verb in most sentences.

An argument is lost when you have to resort to finding fault with your respondent's spelling or grammar.

Precocious Roy wrote:
Oh yeah, forgot to mention, HD displays are nothing new to many Xbox owners. We've been capable of taking advantage of them for some time now.

480p. Hmmm, I think maybe you don't know the difference between ED and HD.

PreciousRoi 15 Aug 2006 10:03
33/38
480p IS an "HD" display format, its neither the maximum of any display I've ever used nor is it the maximum the Xbox supports, its actually the default minimum on almost all games.
alexh2o 15 Aug 2006 18:45
34/38
ive thought about this a bit actually and i think im beginning to change my mind on this thing...

first tho there a couple of things i have to say because it ****s me off when people chat out of their arse. firstly the 360 isnt rushed out with half graphics from next gen - its on a par with ps3 from all the evidence seen and lets not even talk about the wii in that respect. secondly, for the moment hd-dvd is in fact better than blu-ray! the disks are encoding in vc1 instead of mpeg2 and all the players force dolby digital plus support (blu-ray supports both i know but doesnt use them yet). plus blu-ray has colour tone and cropping problems, about 2.35:1 instead of 2.4:1.

back to the actual add on drive, i totally see the logic here. its big for a drive but compared to everything else under a tv its actually quite small. and yes its not a great looker, but on seeing the promo shots i wouldnt say its down right ugly, ive seen a lot worse thats sold (original xbox me thinks). then theres the theory that only about 1 in 10 xbox buyers actually have an hd tv, but they still enjoy playing the games. the majority are then not forced to pay for something they dont want. most who have hdtvs already will be able to afford a seperate player and wont want to use a games console anyway, so wont want to pay the extra for it. so then theres the middle of the road people, who can buy a 360, a year later get an hdtv and then consider splashing out a reasonable 99 (so they say) to get hd movies to play on their new tvs, instead of 299. its far from ideal but think of it a bit like a freeview box adding functionality to an old tv on the cheap and when people are ready.

p.s i still think they should have put the drive opening on the smooth clean white front.

p.s.s im going to own all 3 consoles and i dont have a favourite next gen dvd format, im going to wait and see how it all plays out before i hand over any money. so im not bias!
LUPOS 15 Aug 2006 19:56
35/38
PreciousRoi wrote:
480p IS an "HD" display format


480p is most certainly not HD. it is infact ED (enhanced definition) as rod said. Enhance dbecause the resolution si the same it is just displayed without interlacing for a clearer flickerfry image. 720p, 1080i and 1080p are the official HD resolutions. Techinically pal is a HIGHer resolution than 480 anything, not that that matters.

And as an xbox owner/lover i can assure you there are very few games that support true HD resolutions. The only notable one i can think of is actually Soul Calibur 2 (only because it was a ps2 port) and sadly my tv only does 1080i so i never got to enjoy that :/


_______
vault 13 15 Aug 2006 21:24
36/38
alexhooren wrote:
first tho there a couple of things i have to say because it ****s me off when people chat out of their arse. firstly the 360 isnt rushed out with half graphics from next gen - its on a par with ps3 from all the evidence seen and lets not even talk about the wii in that respect. secondly, for the moment hd-dvd is in fact better than blu-ray! the disks are encoding in vc1 instead of mpeg2 and all the players force dolby digital plus support (blu-ray supports both i know but doesnt use them yet). plus blu-ray has colour tone and cropping problems, about 2.35:1 instead of 2.4:1.


Have you seen them both in action side by side on identical tvs with identical quality cables? I would think not. I know I haven't. I haven't even seen an HD-DVD in action, mainly because Circuit City doesn't stock them yet.

Next, voting with our wallets then makes us guinnie pigs. Let the rich decide which format, then us regular blokes with regular sized wallets can buy the victor. I don't care who wins, I just want to know who to buy so I don't end up with a Beta-max machine, teeth and all.

Also, concerning size, you can't just exclude the 360 and say well the add-on is small. IT IS REQUIRED FOR DVD PLAYBACK, so it is nescessary, so it included in the size. The combo is huge and will take up more valuable shelf space. And to boot the PS3 is about the size of the 360 if not less WITH a Blu-Ray drive. So there, the point is moot. MOOT I SAY!

And finally, wherever did you read that 480p was an offical HD format. I mean it is all semantics when you get down to it. Who's to say what the HD range actually. The end has not been drawn only the starting point (720p and 1080i). And then there's the lack of standardization of resolutions, mainly a broadcasing issue, but it does come up and cause more kinks to the arguement. But still, you are wrong sir, 480p is most definitely not HD and is junk. JUNK I SAY!
PreciousRoi 16 Aug 2006 08:28
37/38
LUPOS wrote:
PreciousRoi wrote:
480p IS an "HD" display format


480p is most certainly not HD. it is infact ED (enhanced definition) as rod said. Enhance dbecause the resolution si the same it is just displayed without interlacing for a clearer flickerfry image. 720p, 1080i and 1080p are the official HD resolutions. Techinically pal is a HIGHer resolution than 480 anything, not that that matters.

And as an xbox owner/lover i can assure you there are very few games that support true HD resolutions. The only notable one i can think of is actually Soul Calibur 2 (only because it was a ps2 port) and sadly my tv only does 1080i so i never got to enjoy that :/


First off, I think your explanation of 480i vs 480p is misleading, interlacing means that half the resolution is displayed half the time. The original point was, that many Xbox owners are already in possesion of and are familiar with HDTV units in anticipation of support, as your knowledge of the subject demonstrates. I know no one who has an EDTV, if they have anything aside from a "normal" TV, they have an HD unit, which supports 480p. To anyone I know, outside of technophiles 480p is an HD resolution as it requires something more than a normal TV to use.

I'll stand by my original point.
thane_jaw 16 Aug 2006 09:52
38/38
vault 13 wrote:

Also, concerning size, you can't just exclude the 360 and say well the add-on is small. IT IS REQUIRED FOR DVD PLAYBACK, so it is nescessary, so it included in the size. The combo is huge and will take up more valuable shelf space. And to boot the PS3 is about the size of the 360 if not less WITH a Blu-Ray drive. So there, the point is moot. MOOT I SAY!


I'm confused about where I need the HD-DVD drive to watch DVDs?

Certainly if I wanted to watch HD-DVDs then I would need it and the comparison would be validish. Anyway mootish point, the only size comparison I've seen of the ps3 vs 360 is actually just a 360 with a painted wood case representing the ps3's supposed size on top. Hardly the be all and end all.
Posting of new comments is now locked for this page.