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Game Boy Advance Video Player Coming To U.S.

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the video-sooner-than-now dept.

Portables (Games) 40

Thanks to Yahoo for reprinting a press release revealing Majesco is bringing a GameBoy Advance video player to the U.S for Spring 2004. Although there are similar products available in Japan, there's been no attempt to launch a GBA video player Stateside until now, and the press release mentions: "Majesco's new video compression technology presently allows viewing of approximately 45 minutes of quality color video." It's noted that "approximately 12 video titles are scheduled to launch at retail", unfortunately proprietary, with no ability to import movies of your choice, and the Majesco CTO comments that this is "a significant advantage over most competitive technologies that limit viewing to black & white video", a dig at the currently available stand-alone VideoNOW player from Hasbro.

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Two questions (3, Interesting)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828421)

1. Will there be a sort of region encoding system so that existing Japanese titles won't play in the U.S.?
2. The article mentions that it is a propietary format. Since it has apparently been out in Japan for a little while, has progress been made on tools that convert to and from "standard" formats into this format?

Re:Two questions (2, Insightful)

simoniker (40) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828511)

Sorry if it wasn't clear in the write-up, but I think the Japanese GBA video player is actually by a different developer - though it does similar things.

It may be that Majesco's system is a lot more standalone - the Japanese system allows you to write to Smart Media cards, but it could be the U.S. video player carts are just standalone, with no possible PC interface. We'll have to see.

Re:Two questions (1)

DarthWufei (686942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7829324)

Personally I doubt it, the GB region lock on them and as very well it shouldn't. I never got the point of them. Though I curious to wonder whether they can include options like subtitling, and *MAYBE* language preferences. Hopefully Majesco can release more information sometime soon. This is BIG news for me as I've been wanting this thing for a while now.

We don't need no stinking region lock. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7830313)

What region lock? Gameboy has never had a region lock on it.

Re:We don't need no stinking region lock. (1)

DarthWufei (686942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7831712)

That's what I was trying to say actually, but I left out a word as you can tell, "GBs have no region lock on them". Sorry about that.

Bring on the pr0n!! (4, Funny)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828427)

Unless there's another use for this that perhaps I'm unaware of.

Oh come on. 45 minutes? Color video? Hand held? What are you gonna watch, skiing training videos?

Nintendo prOnboy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7828447)

It comes (wink wink) complete with a paper towel dispenser.

The initial package deal is said to include a version of "Super F*** Brothers" which pits Mario and Luigi against Jenna Jamison. (A Zelda version with a hookershot is said to follow).

Re:Bring on the pr0n!! (2, Informative)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828467)

45 minutes is exactly the length of a 1-hour TV show, sans commercials. You can also fit two half-hour TV shows on one of these carts. Two carts would give you a whole movie (in most cases).

I can just see it now: "Get the entire season of Law and Order on 25 GBA cartridges! Only $480!"

Re:Bring on the pr0n!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7829069)

45 minutes is exactly the length of a 1-hour TV show, sans commercials.

Yes, but surely we all know that watching TV without the commercials is theft. Oh, and P2P will give you herpes.

Re:Bring on the pr0n!! (1)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7830284)

"Yes, but surely we all know that watching TV without the commercials is theft."

So ka, grasshopper... little did you realise that I had actually purchased the first season of L&O on DVD, and if I purchase the entire season on GBA carts, it would also come without commercials.

Re:Bring on the pr0n!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7829278)

How about, "Get the entire series of Law & Order on 100000000 DVDs! Only $1,000,000!"

Cooking (2, Insightful)

emilng (641557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7829985)

How about instructional videos like home improvement or cooking?
Of course to keep in line with your thread, you could always have sex instruction... =P

Is it just me? (2, Interesting)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828435)

Do we really need this in the GBA? I like mine because I can play good games in weird places, not because it's a do-all device.

Re:Is it just me? (0, Troll)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828576)

And this sort of thing being available will affect your enjoyment of the GBA because...?


Re:Is it just me? (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828639)

More options!!
"Gotta catch 'em all!"

Re:Is it just me? (4, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7829054)

"Do we really need this in the GBA? I like mine because I can play good games in weird places, not because it's a do-all device. "

This doesn't strike me as an "OOO EVERYBODY'LL LOVE THIS" product. But more like "There's a few people that'll find this useful."

A few things to consider:

1.) GBA is small and very battery efficient.
2.) GBA is a common travel companion.
3.) DVD players, even portables, are very large. Damn ~5" discs.

If you're asking that question, simply put, it's not for you. Don't assume you represent the entire target audience, though. 2 little carts = 1 movie. If they can make that affordable, then I'd probably get it just to have something to watch instead of spending $200+ for a bulky DVD player.

Don't count on a 'burn your own video' solution. (2, Insightful)

Paladine97 (467512) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828866)

Nintendo has fought hard again the flash cartridge makers. I see no way that they would allow companies to sell flashable cartridges. Even if a company put something out, it would only be a matter of time before someone hacked it and then you would have a cheap flashable ROM.

What about this already available solution? (3, Informative)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828922)

How is this better than a universal, memory card-based media player like the one I just found at: http://www.lik-sang.com/info.php?category=50&produ cts_id=3983& [lik-sang.com]

Re:What about this already available solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7829185)

Problem with that thing is it maxes out at 10 fps, and if you want good quality video it takes 10 megabytes/minute, so around a gig for a movie. need a big fat expensive flash card for that.

Also annoying; there is a device with identical functionality made by the same company for the chinese market that is the same size as a regular gba cart. but for some reason they decided to bloat up the cart to more than twice the size for the international market.
Pics of the chinese version [61.156.25.37] .

http://www.movieadvance.com/ [movieadvance.com] - website for the international version.
http://www.gbalpha.com/ [gbalpha.com] - website for the chinese version.

Re:What about this already available solution? (1)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7829260)

How do we know the Nintendo solution will have a better solution to these issues? Of course you're not going to get 30fps DVD quality video/audio, but if it's good enough to watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force on the road, I'm all over it.

Re:What about this already available solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7829566)

There already is a homebrew video encoder called METEO that can do 24fps at great quality and decent file sizes. It maxes out at 32 megabyte though so you can't really use it for full movies or tv shows.

There is a link to it a few posts down, but it's really commercial software and the site is on is a horrible piece of warez shit.

Where does it say 10 fps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7829834)

nt

Re:Where does it say 10 fps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7830325)

http://www.movieadvance.com/SPterminal.htm [movieadvance.com]
"Photo scan rate: 10fps, photo playing quality equals to a digital camera! Our digital photo enhancing technology ensures you fresh display in your GBA (SP) screen!"
(Gotta love that Engrish)
I also tried the conversion software, and 10 fps seems about right. Very simple cartoons like South Park looks ok, but anything else looks pretty much terrible. Action scenes are completely unwatchable.

Re:Where does it say 10 fps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7830580)

Have you tried others like Simpsons or King of the Hill? It would be alright if it could play back stuff like that decently.

Re:Where does it say 10 fps? (1)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7830988)

Yeah, but then you'd be watching King of the Hill. And that would be really sad.

Re:Where does it say 10 fps? (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832791)

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! a king of the hill basher!!! Get 'em, folks!

I saw this at E3... (4, Insightful)

Blackwulf (34848) | more than 10 years ago | (#7828926)

It was actually pretty impressive. I saw both a cartoon and an MTV special on the cards. They said that they're also licensing the technology out to game developers so they can create some FMV footage for their GBA games. (I THINK the Kingdom Hearts GBA game is using a technology similar, but don't quote me on that...)

As for what it's good for, I'd think of having kids in the backseat of the car on a trip watching cartoons on their GBA. The cartoons came out better than the live action stuff, obviously, so I can see more use for distributing two episodes of a cartoon on a cartridge than distributing any live-action shows.

Re:I saw this at E3... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7830555)

I'm definitely more excited about the licensing of the actual technology to game makers for integration - and not so much in buying a piece of hardware that plays games.

KH:CoM should prove to be an excellent guinea pig (since it's certain to sell between 2-3 million units worldwide).

I believe it was a video compression breakthrough for the N64 that allowed for the porting of Resident Evil 2 to that system, something like that may help GBA games to improve visually over time (something that seems to happen over all consoles as developers get more familiar and learn the tricks).

-J

Price (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 10 years ago | (#7829004)

The question that I have is, how much will it cost? When I can get a portable DVD player with 7" widescreen [circuitcity.com] for US$250, unless this GBA thingy is really cheap, I just don't see much of a place for it.

Re:Price (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7829086)

"The question that I have is, how much will it cost? ... unless this GBA thingy is really cheap, I just don't see much of a place for it."

I doubt it'll cost that much. It's got to have an input medium, and a decoder chip. How can that possibly come close to the cost of a portable DVD player?

" When I can get a portable DVD player with 7" widescreen for US$250,"

Though I doubt this will replace your DVD player, I just thought I'd point out that 7" is a hell of a lot bigger than your pocket. I hate carrying crap like that on a plane.

Re:Price (2, Informative)

Radius9 (588130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7830103)

It doesn't have an input medium other than the cartridge, and the decoding is done in software, so there is no decoding chip. It is a standard 15-20 dollar cart for 45 minutes of video.

Re:Price (1)

_Sexy_Pants_ (703751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836235)

While this is all pure speculation as I only glanced at TFA, and I've never used a portable DVD player, I would imagine that a cartridge based video player wouldn't skip on bumpy rides. Eh? Eh?

Or just encode video yourself (1)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 10 years ago | (#7829173)

with the METEO Avi-2-GBA Video Codec [gameboy-advance.net] .

Granted, your flash cart will likely only have enough storage for a few minutes, but you can encode any video data rather than depending on / paying for prepackaged content.

Don't worry, the software (windows only, I'm afraid) can also encode MPEG video.

Thank GOD! (3, Funny)

gozu (541069) | more than 10 years ago | (#7830554)

I've been wanting to buy 45min lowres videos to play on my GBA for ages. In fact, I can confidently say it's my lifelong dream. I'll now go pray and thank G..$5#&***_____ERROR.4174: Sarcasm Overload

Re:Thank GOD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7830809)

Funny, that seemed much more like a "Dear God You're an Annoying Tool Overload." Honestly, the world doesn't revolve around you, and if you don't like this product, don't buy it and don't comment on it in the most annoying way possible.

Did it ever occur to you that those of us with kids will love this product, since we can keep the kids quiet in the car with some video games and some short cartoon/movies? No, it didn't? Imagine that.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood today because I bought the VideoNow thing for my kids already.

Re:Thank GOD! (1)

31 Flavas (534728) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832423)

This is exactly why I don't get why so many people go gaga over the PSP movie and music playback ability...

Oh woo, we can buy mini-dvd's and mini-cd's of the same dvd's and cd's we already own. Same content just half the quality or half the tracks and they will not play on anything other than the PSP. Woo hoo, suck on that GAYboy owners!

What about actually seeing it? (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7830843)

How easy is it to watch the videos? Considering playing games is difficult enough...

Re:What about actually seeing it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7831037)

That's what Afterburn and SPs are for

To cover old ground... again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7832059)

http://www.lik-sang.com/info.php?category=7&produc ts_id=3059&

Games, Movies and MP3s all in the old handheld.

Games consist mostly of emulators, there certainly isn't anything approaching the native catelogue of the GBA, but a huge range of classic 8/16bit emu's kicking around which gives you a massive amount of software to try.

Movies require a once off ~5$ purchase of the playing software. The frame rate is like 15fps, and the screen size is somewhat more friendly than the GBA. Actually the movies are very watchable and smooth.

MP3s just play straight off the smart media card, the handheld has the player in it's firmware.

This is stupid. (1)

ziggy_zero (462010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7847870)

My uncle just bought my 10-year old cousin a portable DVD player with a 3-4 inch screen for 140 bucks. It plays any DVD, and you can also hook it up to a TV when you're on the road. Seems like a much better deal to me.
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