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Microsoft Shows Off 360 HD-DVD Drive

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the christmas-toys dept.

124

C|Net is reporting on a demo Microsoft put on, showing off their HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360. The unit, which is expected out for the Christmas season, is an external add-on for the company's next-gen console. From the article: "The device--about the size of a hardback book--played "The Phantom of the Opera" as Collins pulled up a menu bar to display a few of its navigation and interactive features that can be called up on screen while a movie is playing. Collins said Microsoft's HD DVD drive will be among the least expensive of the HD DVD players, but he declined to disclose the drive's retail price."

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*Applause* (4, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15874935)

Kudos to MS I say, for giving consumers the choice. I for one can't care less about HD DVD, but I love my Xbox360, and I'm glad I didn't have to buy into some newfangled (and overrated) format that I would never use.

If I ever DO get an HDTV though, this might be a nice addon...

Re:*Applause* (0, Troll)

coop247 (974899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875063)

Yeah, right up until they start releasing certain games only on HDDVD because the size is too large for a regular DVD. To fit games onto DVD's they already reduce the quality of cut scenes. I'd love to play Lord of the Rings or Madden with HD cut scenes.

Re:*Applause* (4, Informative)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875103)

You can put HD content on ordinary DVDROMs but not on video DVDs. If you're playing a game there's no reason why they can't put HD video playback data on the DVD. It'll be a big file but how much video does there really need to be in a game?

However, maybe some devs will make alternative HD-DVD versions of some multi-DVD games. Switching discs mid-game is sooo Dreamcast. I don't think 360 owners will have to worry much about HD-DVD exclusive titles though. Sony is making a lower-tier PS3 as well and both companies have to be careful about alienating ground-level adopters.

There is no lower-tier PS3 (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876519)

There is a $500 PS3 and a PS3 "Ultimate Home Media Edition" (my term, not thiers) which includes components to do things like load pictures from your camera in the system. Do you need that? I don't.

As a game or movie player, the base PS3 offers the same features as the $600 UHME. The only thing removed that anyone might care about is the HDMI port, but that is not needed to play games or watch movies in hi-def.

Thinking about it purley in terms of acpibilities, what is there that sony would do to take advantage of the $600 PS3 that would alienate anyone using the $500 model?

Re:There is no lower-tier PS3 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15876791)

Ok. That's enough.
Everyone gets it. You can buy the low-end PS3 for 500$. You don't need to spend 600$ for the "full" version.
Guess what?
500$ IS STILL A FUCKTON OF MONEY!
Hell 400$ is still way too much for a game console!

Re:There is no lower-tier PS3 (0)

Duds (100634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15879246)

Actually you can't. If you have the $500 PS3 you have to pay extra if you want to move saves around since there's no memory ports on it.

Re:*Applause* (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877165)

While I know posting as an anonymous coward generally gets ignored, you've modded wrong information as "Informative."



The HD-DVD drive for the X360 will have ZERO effect on gaming on the system. It will be a video player only. There will be no fragmenting of the X360 audience beyond whether or not you have a hard drive. This has been mentioned by Microsoft several times including at a recent Publisher event (MS Vision) held up in Seattle a couple weeks ago.



That is all.

Re:*Applause* (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877629)

well, Team Ninja (makers of DOA4) said they were dissapointed that Microsoft didn't go with HD-DVD's and said they had to scale down their movies for DOA 4.

I don't think it really rely's on how many movies there are but how long they are. Just 6 minutes for a 12 fighter game is 72 minutes worth of HD video, I tried converting a couple things into the true HD standard with one of the codecs, for about 10 minutes worth of video the outputted file was over 500mb so even though they are dual layer dvd's they are still restricted by size.

Wait till the JRPG's start coming out, they rely HEAVILY on pre-rendered video, so you get one of those you could look at an easy 2-4 DVD set with just the HD movies they made for it (I bet this will be a reason why a Final Fantasy game on the 360).

Re:*Applause* (2, Interesting)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877722)

Just 6 minutes for a 12 fighter game is 72 minutes worth of HD video, I tried converting a couple things into the true HD standard with one of the codecs, for about 10 minutes worth of video the outputted file was over 500mb so even though they are dual layer dvd's they are still restricted by size.
If you know what you're doing, using H.264 it's quite possible to get 25 minutes of 720p video down to around 250mb without it looking too bad at all. Certainly you need a reasonable machine to play that back, but the X360 shouldn't have any issues whatsoever.

Re:*Applause* (2, Funny)

marshallbanana6 (992780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878597)

JRPGs for 360? I think not. XD

Re:*Applause* (2, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878207)

"You can put HD content on ordinary DVDROMs but not on video DVDs. If you're playing a game there's no reason why they can't put HD video playback data on the DVD. It'll be a big file but how much video does there really need to be in a game?"

This has already been done. You can buy a version of Terminator 2 that comes with an HD .WMF file.

Re:*Applause* (2, Informative)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875119)

Encoded in H.264/AVC, its quite possible with regular DVDs. And the Xbox 360 has more than enough processor power to decode it.

Re:*Applause* (4, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875126)

right up until they start releasing certain games only on HDDVD because the size is too large for a regular DVD.

I believe Microsoft has already stated that the HD-DVD drive will be used for movies only, though that's as subject to change as anything else in this world.

I'd love to play Lord of the Rings or Madden with HD cut scenes.

I would hate that.

It's already jarring enough on a title like LotR for PS2 when the graphics cut from DVD-Video cinematic cutscene to realtime rendered polygons. Making the cutscenes look even better would only make the in-game graphics look worse in comparison.

Re:*Applause* (1, Informative)

Potty Monster (994252) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875956)

Cut scenes on the 360 are already in Hi-Def, just because the games are on standard dvd's doesn't mean the content can't be hi-def. The new blue ray disks just mean more storage (something that HD-DVD is currently winning) ...and has been said before, most in-game cut scenes are now done using the in game engine anyway. (also hi-def)

Re:*Applause* (2, Insightful)

gabebear (251933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878336)

You got the HD-DVD size backwards: HD-DVD is 15gigs/layer w/ 3 layers max, Blu-Ray is 25gigs/layer with 8 layers max. Currently you can only get 2 layer discs of either format.

Re:*Applause* (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15878469)

bluray is currently only 1 layer, hence the size advantage for hd-dvd.

Re:*Applause* (1)

brjndr (313083) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876957)

Finally clips of real cheerleaders performing at half-time of games in Madden.

Sidenote: Just picked up NCAA '07 (usually just get Madden), and after running the option I don't know if I can ever go back to Madden.

Re:*Applause* (2, Funny)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875264)

I'd love to play Lord of the Rings or Madden with HD cut scenes.

It's nice to see an opinion from a non-gamer on slashdot!

Re:*Applause* (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15875268)

Very, very unlikely. Publishers would much rather butcher a game to make it fit DVD than sell to the 30% of people who buy the HD-DVD add-on.

Re:*Applause* (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875539)

Cutscenes? With such a powerful machine, developers should make all cutscenes in real time.

Re:*Applause* (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877319)

I heartily agree. This has been reasonably doable for quite some time, and has been exploited in a number of highly fun games. Interstate 76' just wouldn't have been the same with mpeg cutscenes.

Cutscenes? With such a powerful machine, developers should make all cutscenes in real time.

Re:*Applause* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15875087)

I couldn't agree more ...

I personally don't own an XBox (or XBox 360), and I do see some value of having a built in DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-Ray playing capabilities, but I don't want a "pack-in" feature to dramatically raise the price of a product I bought for another reason; in the case of a gaming console, I bought it to play games. At $400 the XBox 360 is already too expensive, at $600 the PS3 isn't even worth considering, and movie playing capabilities doesn't change that.

Hrm (1)

kennedy (18142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15874939)

Ok first off - i really dislike that the add-on drive currently doesnt seem to match the 360 (but, being pre-release this could change).
Second - i think i'm just going to hold off till the hd-dvd is built in before bothering with the 360.

Re:Hrm (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15874972)

It sort of matches the 360 (slight curve to one of the sides), which leads me to believe that the final product will probably look like this...

Re:Hrm (1)

kennedy (18142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875044)

also look at the face of the unit. Again, it's not the final product so anything can happen - i'd just prefer to see it match up more with the 360 somehow.

*shrug*

Re:Hrm (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875040)

i think i'm just going to hold off till the hd-dvd is built in before bothering with the 360.
My completely uninformed guess is that there would be more avenues of attack on the crypto/drm/authentication of the external drive, than on an internal HD DVD drive.

Re:Hrm (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875096)

I'm guessing the external drive will be seen similarly to flash drives and other USB devices. I really doubt you will be able to put anything but movies in it. Game discs will almost certainly still have to be put in the regular drive

Re:Hrm (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875054)

I was under the immpression that microsoft never intends to have the HDDVD drive built in. They have stated games will never be released on hddvd, if they build one in there is no reason for them to not allow games to be put on HDDVDs.

Re:Hrm (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875360)

Or maybe some developer will devise some way to put a game disk into the standard drive and an HD disk in the HD drive and use *BOTH* drives (even if at a minimum to provide HD cut-scenes for the poster above who wanted LotR and Madden in HD).

Layne

Re:Hrm (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875939)

Maybe, but since it is a closed platform microsoft has complete control over how they use the system. If microsoft doesn't want games to use the HD-DVD drive at all, they can do that.

Re:Hrm (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878272)

"Second - i think i'm just going to hold off till the hd-dvd is built in before bothering with the 360."

OK, that's you, maybe a few of your friends... but really, how many people are actually that interested in HD movies? Sony seems to believe they'll fly off the shelves ("Just like UMDs!"), but the only possibility for Microsoft to do what you suggest is if there's palpable demand for something like that, and I'm just not seeing it.

By definition, (people who will buy HD movies) = (people who own HDTVs), and for the forseeable future, (people who own HDTVs) (people who own any sort of television). Microsoft wants something with mass-market appeal, which is why the 360 works with NTSC to begin with.

Cheapest HD-DVD player (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15874948)

Only $599.99!*

* Xbox 360 not included.

Re:Cheapest HD-DVD player (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875014)

Hahahaha. You're funny. Too bad the first HD-DVD player on the market ran $499...

Re:Cheapest HD-DVD player (2, Interesting)

laxcat (600727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875258)

Seriously though, unless the addon is less than $200, (which it almost cirtainly won't be), Microsoft is going to loose their ability to knock the PS3 as being overpriced. I understand its nice to give gamers the choice, but if you actaully want an Hi Def DVD player (I do, and I don't think I'm alone), the PS3 will actaully look like a really good deal in comparison to the 360+HD-DVD.

Who knew I'd ever use the words "PS3" and "good deal" in the same sentence?

And that's not to mention all the other superior fetures... bigger hard drive, more advanced CPU, HDMI, etc, etc, etc. Could it be that "crazy ol' Sony" actaully took the right path in this high end market? I doubted along with the rest, but seeing Microsoft present the alternative really makes me wonder.

Re:Cheapest HD-DVD player (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875604)

While MS hasn't announced an official price for the HD-DVD drive they have stated numerous times that an Xbox 360 + HD-DVD drive will be LESS then the cost of a PS3...

This still leaves a big window seeing as they haven't said WHICH version of the 360 ($300 or $400) or WHICH version of the PS3 ($500 or $600) so it prices the drive anywhere between $100 and $300... If you want to tack on the "cheapest HD-DVD player on the market" comment (current cheapest is $500) and consider you'd have to buy an Xbox 360 to use it that would price the HD-DVD add on between $100 and $200.

Considering I already own an Xbox 360 for the gaming aspect a between $100 and $200 external player is a very tempting and reasonably priced offer if I ever decide to go HD-DVD... If the player were to to be higher then $200 then one would assume that the Price of the Xbox 360 itself would be going down, which wouldn't be a bad thing either.

I also agree with the first poster... BRAVO for not MAKING me buy into a next gen video tech until I'm good and ready.

Re:Cheapest HD-DVD player (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876682)

Could it be that "crazy ol' Sony" actaully took the right path in this high end market?

HD isn't the "high end" market; HD is the "dumbass sheep who don't realize they're being screwed by DRM" market.

Re:Cheapest HD-DVD player (1)

Nazmun (590998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877146)

Yeah, because everyone plans on abiding by the drm and not breaking it to meet their needs.

Re:Cheapest HD-DVD player (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877193)

At this point, when the PS3 comes out, my Xbox 360 will be a year old. I will have spent a year using (? is playing games 'using'?) it, and enjoying it.

So making a direct comparison is not entirely accurate. For instance, I bought a new computer last January for about $800. I would expect that in January 2007, my $800 will buy me a computer with better specs. That's the way technology goes.

HD-DVD wasn't available last November. Personally, I'm glad that Microsoft didn't wait- I've already gotten quite a bit of play out of my 360.

As far as HD-DVD or Blue-Ray. Sadly, I'm not interested in either. Yes, I own a HDTV, but I won't be going out to re-purchase my DVDs in a new format. I will be very happy to wait 2 years or so before I do this. I won't really care to make a move until Netflix has a majority of thier stuff in a new format.

Re:Cheapest HD-DVD player (1)

demon (1039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878408)

Yes, I own a HDTV, but I won't be going out to re-purchase my DVDs in a new format.

Well, unlike with the VHS to DVD transition, you can (and almost certainly will) have one player that can handle both DVDs and either HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray discs (or both, at least in some consumer players). Your DVD collection will continue to work just fine for the forseeable future, and you can still buy new movies in a hi-def format. Maybe you don't care - however, I do, and the PS3 does pique my interest. Thus far, I've not seen anything on X-Box360 that makes it a "must have" to me. so I'm waiting till the PS3 hits the streets before I make up my mind.

Price point (5, Interesting)

The_Pariah (991496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15874969)

Retail price is said, from MS, to be that of the lowest priced HD-DVD players at that time.

Being that all the movie processing is done thru the Xbox, the manufacturing has to be fairly cheap with a lot less hardware. And since HD-DVD players can be had at $500 today, I'm guessing a $200 price point. Take in mind MS would NOT want to sell their console and an aftermarket HD player that would cost MORE than a PS3 that has similar capabilities.

Props to MS if they sell the player under $200. Otherwise they're inviting the HD addicts who haven't bought next gen to purcahse the PS3 to get a "better" deal.

Re:Price point (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15875064)

Here's the problem with that, though - the PS3 is only a "better deal" if Blu-Ray wins the format war. What if Blu-Ray goes the way of the Betamax, and Sony's just screwed you by bundling something that's obsolete in their console for a few extra hundred bucks?

With the limited number of titles out there in *either* format, I'm not picking up either an HD-DVD or a Blu-Ray player until the dust settles and someone "wins" the format.

Re:Price point (2, Insightful)

Quino (613400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875907)

Here's what makes me think Sony went about this the right way (despite the constant lamenting I hear on Slashdot): if you're the backer of Blu-Ray, you have to like your worst-case scenario. This is that Sony (your partner in the format war) bombs out badly with the PS3, selling only single digit millions of PS3 units.

That's still millions of Blu-ray players out there, vs. how many HD-DVD players?

I'm not saying by a long shot that the format war is essentially over and Blu-ray won, but at this point I have to say that I like its chances much much better than HD-DVD.

Of course, if Sony's PS3 doesn't bomb out, then things only get better for the format.

I agree with you that there is little incentive right now to go out and buy the MS add-on, especially since the results of the format war aren't clear.

* of course, the flip side of this is that the new video format is adopted so slowly (say, in 10 years people are still selling good ol' DVDs and DVD players, and Blockbuster is still primarily renting DVDs), in which case Sony's positioning with Blu-ray and the PS3 is moot. Then Sony will have paid a high price for higher-capacity storage for games (maybe in itself, and independently of video playback and video formats, not a bad tactical decision -- who knows)

Re:Price point (1)

MHolmesIV (253236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876498)

Aah, but the studios don't care how many players are out there, they care how many _customers_ are out there. The PS3 sales don't tell them that. If you buy a PS3, what is the chance of you buying a BD disc? Well, if the number of gamers who watch DVDs on their PS2 (or even watch DVDs at all) is any indication, it's a pretty low number. Not so with the XBox Addon. If MS sells a million addons, the studios know that there are a million people who will be watching movies, because they bought the drive, and you can't do anything else with it.

There's a lot more certaintly for the studios with the MS approach, and the studios like certainty.

Re:Price point (2, Interesting)

Quino (613400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876878)

Let's say that I agree with your statement that "studios like certainty". They will have that certainty; in what format are videos selling? and in what format are videos being rented in? -- that's their certainty, not "how many of these add on units does MS sell"?

If I own an Xbox and a PS3 and I have an HD TV and I want to test out the "next-gen" video format, do you really think there's a greater than zero percent chance that I'll end up renting/buying an HD DVD video instead of using the Blu-ray player I already own?

If I'm an owner of a PS3 and not of an Xbox 360, same thing applies.

Again, I'm not saying that therefore Blue-ray already won, but I do think that Blu-ray has an big advantage in trying to elbow itself in as the new format. If Sony can make sure that studios see that Blu-ray movies are 10 times more likely to get rented/purchased than a HD DVD version of their same movies (or a 100 times, I don't know what these numbers might look like, but it's hard to imagine they won't reflect the numbers of Blu-ray players in the wild vs. the number of HD DVD players in the wild), then the push would be to make sure studios take a side and stop making both formats. If by pre-packaging Blu-ray players Sony helps make the blu-ray format become the standard (which is all I'm saying is happening -- Blu-ray definitely has a big leg up over HD DVD *out of the gates*), this might snowball and in return, help sell PS3 units.

This assumes a lot of things, of course: mainly that technically Blu-ray and HD DVD, for the purpose of watching movies, is transparent to consumers and it's just a matter of which "flavor" the thundering herd goes for. Also, I'm curious to see what tricks MS and company have for pushing back with their format (they did think things through, one would assume).

Sony's play on the format has been obvious for some time -- what's MS's play going to be? Or did they forsake the format war just to be able to come out first with the next gen gaming system? Was their choosing of HD DVD simple naysaying to Sony's Blu-ray? That's the sort of thing I'm wondering ...

This MS "add-on" HD DVD pack, to me, seems sort of a weak reply, in the sense that Sony's customers are 1) already commited to one format as opposed to 360 customers and 2) provide an early market of early adopters (more likely to have cash and HD TVs) for Blu-ray movies -- something the HD DVD format, as far as I can tell, lacks.

Re:Price point (1)

mbsatgt (948603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876924)

...worst-case scenario. This is that Sony (your partner in the format war) bombs out badly with the PS3, selling only single digit millions of PS3 units. That's still millions of Blu-ray players out there, vs. how many HD-DVD players?

I like your point, and I agree with your conclusion that Sony went about this the best way that it can. That said, I think the numbers you are using are not enough to guarantee even tepid success for Blu-ray. My reasoning? The PSP. Sony has sold in the high-single-digit-millions of the PSP, and each unit is a movie player, just like the PS3. Now, what success does UMD enjoy? UMD doesn't even have a competitor in its marketspace. I am not saying that is by any means conclusive, and I still think Sony is doing the correct thing fiduciarily speaking, but having 10 million players out in the wild is very different than selling even 100 million discs.

The differences in favor of the PS3 relative to the success of the PSP:

  • The living room is already a place where consumers watch movies, and the PS3 is in the living room.
  • The experience is better than the cheaper alternative. (DVD)
  • People do use their game systems as DVD players now. (I've heard somewhere that the PS2 was the tipping point for DVD.)
The differences working against the PS3 relative to the PSP:
  • Blu-ray has extremely stiff competitors in HD-DVD. The UMD had nothing to go up against.
  • The new media is expensive.
  • The PS3 surely isn't portable. The iPod has proven mobile video is a lucrative market.

Re:Price point (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876984)

The type of people who might buy a PS3 to watch high-def movies are not hte same type of people who would buy a PSP to watch movies. Seriously, how many grown-ups would buy a psp to watch movies instead of a portable DVD player?

Re:Price point (1)

Quino (613400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877229)

Sony's recent lack of success with the PSP format, would seem to bode badly for Blu-ray, I agree.

The difference in my mind is whether or not studios are licking their chops for the next video format so we can re-purchase our movie collections (Blu-ray or HD DVD, I'm sure they don't care), vs. supporting a video format with a limited market. I'm not sure that HD video is ready to take over the world, personally, but I would be surprised to see it fail completely in either flavor. In other words, it seems to me that for movie studios the PSP video format was optional: I'm not sure that HD is.

If we take it as a given that there will be a new video format in the next few years, then to me it seems a question of Blu-ray vs. HD DVD, not a question of "whether to provide a High Definition format or not" (the latter being the same question asked, and answered in negative, for Sony's PSP format).

You make a good point though, it seems that with the PSP Sony was trying the same formula, and it didn't work well for them there (I hadn't thought of that). The circumstances I think are different here though; they don't have to justify the existence of a whole new video format, they just have to "tilt" things their way and then feed the snowball.

Re:Price point (1)

demon (1039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878381)

The failure (yes, failure) of UMD movies doesn't necessarily mean anything as far as Blu-Ray's success. You want to know why?

UMDs are *only* playable on the PSP. And as a bonus - you can't watch the video from your PSP on a TV.

This is a whole different ballgame from Blu-Ray - where PS3 is a major upcoming player, but far from the only one. And you can watch Blu-Ray discs on any TV. It's not locked to a handheld only device. Keep in mind, I own - and like - the PSP (I even have a 4 GB Memory Stick Duo for it). I like ripping movies and putting them on it for when I'm traveling. However, there's no use in buying movies on UMD, because I'm paying the same price as for a DVD - and I get (a) no special features and (b) locked to the PSP forever. Not such a good deal.

Re:Price point (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875066)

$200 might sell as long as it came with the HDMI kit for the 360, if they are making one. I can't fathom how they are going to add HDMI to the current 360s, the only option I can think of is to use a VGA->DVI type scan converter, which would add a lot to the cost and possibly degrade the quality.

An extra external drive will probably be seen negatively by most people. MS is really only selling this external drive to keep their current installed base from yelling too much when they put the drive in to the console.

Re:Price point (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875181)

I can't fathom how they are going to add HDMI to the current 360s

I'm not too familiar with the internals of the XBox 360 hardware, but I do know that the A/V port on it is incompatible with that on the original XBox, and I assume there's a good reason for this.

It's possible (though entirely speculative) that the 360's GPU may be capable of outputting a digital signal which could interface with HDMI equipment.

Re:Price point (0)

neuromancer2701 (875843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875106)

If it is 200$ dollars then it is practically the same as a PS3.
The PS3 "Core" edition would be better in terms of hardware becuase of the HDD.
The big kicker is if M$ can get the Price down to 299$ on the HDD version then they could say "equal" hardware for a better price.
But we will see.

And I think that having the "addon" might confuse some people during the holidays.
So I have to buy that with the Xbox360 to play "movies"
This one(PS3)has the capability to do it and I don't have to buy anything more
OK I will go with that(PS3)

Maybe M$ is thinking that two ~200-300$ items is better than one ~500 dollar item is the consumers mind.

Re:Price point (1)

SalaciousPucker (911419) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878322)

Anything over $200 and the PS3 looks like a good deal.

$200 is a fair deal.

$150 is a great deal.

If they manage to squeeze HDDVD into the 360 for $399 USD, there is really no reason for Sony to make video game systems anymore.

I Wonder (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875080)

I've read that the drive only does the reading, all the processing takes place in the 360. That's kind of interesting. However, I read a comment some where that I'd like to reprint (paraphrased or so):

I wonder if they will let you play games with it?

Now they've said "no games on HD-DVD" (which frankly I expect them to change in a few years). But what about normal XBox games in there? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to put one game in the 360 (like Dead Rising) and another in the HD-DVD drive (like PGR3)? Then you could choose either one when the console starts up. I'd love to be able to do that with my PS2 and Guitar Hero. It would save me quite a bit of disc swapping.

And there is no technical reason they couldn't.

Re:I Wonder (2, Insightful)

DarkDragonVKQ (881472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875146)

The only problem is that game developers trying to make a game for a console want a standard so they know what they can do when designing it. So having some people with an HD-DVD drive and others not makes it hard to make a game that way.

But yes that's how a drive typically works. Its usually done by software or the CPU. Compared to a player where its dedicated hardware doing the work (which is much more efficient).

Re:I Wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15875273)

There isn't really anything "interesting" about it. Tis is how all drives work, for all DVD formats. There is no drive that does the decoding... In your PC, in your standard DVD player... It's all decoded by either the host CPU or by a dedicated decoder chip (that works along with another CPU in most cases).

Re:I Wonder (1)

caffeine ninja (994196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875762)

I still don't see much point in investing in an undecided format for games. Why not just wait it out, and put your games on multiple DVDs instead? Sure, might be more difficult with certain types of games, but it's do-able. I kind of liked how the Final Fantasy games (7, 8, 9 - although I can't be sure 9 was multiple CDs, I just don't remember) were on multiple discs - added a measure of accomplishment for each milestone. Sure, it's easier for RPGs to do this, as they have a somewhat linear storyline usually. I don't see why it can't be done with other genres, though. So, my vote? I'd rather buy the HD-DVD add on once the format war is decided, not be forced into buying Bluray with a PS3. I don't say this often, but good job, M$. And movies only? Even better, I don't want to spend five minutes waiting for my game to load up anyway, especially if I can just use multiple DVDs. And yes, obviously it shouldn't get to the point where a game comes with 10 DVDs.

Re:I Wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15876078)

Yeah, I'd love to swap discs every time I change neighbourhoods in GTA or beat a level in Dead or Alive. :)

DVDs are fine for now anyway. No game I've ever played has filled a dual-layer DVD. Although, I do have more than 9 gig of UT2004 mods.

Re:I Wonder (1)

mbsatgt (948603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876738)

I wonder if they will let you play games with it?

Now they've said "no games on HD-DVD" (which frankly I expect them to change in a few years)...

I think the only issue with that is HD-DVD is blue laser and not backwards compatible with DVD without adding a red laser to the drive. My guess is that one of the ways they will cut costs to undercut other HD-DVD players is to leave out the red laser.

Of course, I know nothing, but that's my guess...

Re:I Wonder (1)

brjndr (313083) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877620)

Soon a 3rd party developer will make a very popular game on a bluray disc for the PS3, and the only way to bring the game to the XBOX360 will be on a HD DVD.

Will Microsoft tell them no?

they will say "use more disks" Just like sony did (1)

tacroy (813477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878560)

FFVII

Integrate the drive already! (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875189)

C'mon MS! Make a $499 "Ultimate" model that has the premium unit plus the HDDVD drive integrated. I'll buy one now no questions asked.

Re:Integrate the drive already! (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875863)

HD-DVD, and HDMI intigrated and a 100 gig hard drive, and you'll have 2 sales. I think it's only a matter of time.

Re:Integrate the drive already! (1)

Tim_sama (993132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877774)

Give me a DVI-out option in addition to HDMI, and you've got 3 sales.

Really? (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876431)

C'mon MS! Make a $499 "Ultimate" model that has the premium unit plus the HDDVD drive integrated. I'll buy one now no questions asked.

Funny, when Sony does that exact thing people say no-one will want to buy it.

Guess they were wrong.

Re:Really? (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877325)

Funny how an optional addon to a console is compared to something that is forced upon users.

If you want a 360 to play games, it's $300 - every 360 game works on the $300 core system. If you want to play PS3 games, even if you don't care about playing movies or anything else, it's a minimum of $500.

Most people didn't even buy a PS2 for $300 - they waited for the $200 unit. Expecting gamers to pay $500 is a bit excessive.

Fakery (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878206)

If you want a 360 to play games, it's $300 - every 360 game works on the $300 core system.

Oh right, I'm sure there's a single 360 owner on the planet without a HD - which you need to play a pretty large library of XBox titles. Your estimate leaves off a crucial component needed to play many games on the system, whereas my dropping HDMI has no impact on a GAMER.

Did I mention the $500 PS3 plays PS2 and PS1 titles? So for a fair comparison you need to add the missing component that allows you to play older XBox titles as well.

"Every game works on the core system" --- Nope (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15879248)

Football Manager 06 and Final Fantasy 11 don't work on a core 360, they both require a hard drive.

Given 1 is the best selling game in the UK every year since anyone can remember, that's quite important.

Re:Really? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878227)

"Funny, when Sony does that exact thing people say no-one will want to buy it.'

Sony has a $299 model that doesn't come with Blu-Ray?

Re:Integrate the drive already! (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878288)

"C'mon MS! Make a $499 "Ultimate" model that has the premium unit plus the HDDVD drive integrated."

That'd be a complete change in philosophy for the 360, where nothing is integrated, at least not as much as you seem to want. If you want everything soldered into place, wait for the PS3, but we gamers who have no desire to either own HD movies or want the specter of a two-tiered game library on the horizon are happy with this arrangement.

"I'll buy one now no questions asked."

The million dollar question is if you'll be able to convince tens of thousands of others to do the same. Remember, these things have (at best) next to no profit margin.

Anyone remember the Commodore 1541 floppy drive? (1)

KIFulgore (972701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875346)

Distant cousin?

Props to MS for giving consumers a choice, definitely would like to see an all-in-one unit too though.

Btw, this announcement slide is decidedly non-xtreme: http://i.n.com.com/i/ne/p/2006/xbox0217_550x413.jp g [com.com]

Meh (2, Interesting)

pedropolis (928836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875431)

So, $399.99 for a new 360 with HDMI output (needed for the ubershizzle HD-DVD) plus another, what, $199.99 for the HD-DVD player? Wow, comes to the same price as a PS3 - only that's an all-in-one system with complete compatability with both PS1 and PS2 games. If Sony takes a beating over that price point, then it's only fair to batter MS for arriving at the same price. Oh, and if that snazzy HD-DVD player costs more than $199.99, then it's game over man.

Re:Meh (1)

sottitron (923868) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875571)

Thing is, even if you are right, at least the consumer has the option to buy a $399 System to play games or a $599 system to play games and movies. With a PS3, you don't have a choice. Period.

Re:Meh (1)

pedropolis (928836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876379)

When has Sony ever been about choices? I used to play Star Wars Galaxies, but not anymore. Why? They completely trashed the game w/o asking the community (in addition to having lousy support). The Sony Rootkit debacle wasn't a choice either. So it doesn't surprise me that Sony is going to leverage their only "name" brand, PlayStation, and use it to prop up their Blue-Ray format. My point dealt soley with price. It's true you can get a cheaper X-Box 360, but it doesn't have HDMI outputs or the 20GB HDD. As for who might use the included Blue-Ray player, my brother, who is not prone to fanboyism, used his PS2 for games and movies for the longest time. He still might. He has indicated to me that, even at $599.99, he'd buy a PS3 because it would give him a next-gen console and next-gen DVD player for marginally more than an HD-DVD player.

Re:Meh (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875652)

"Wow, comes to the same price as a PS3"

Yes it does. However, I don't see Sony letting me skip the $200 on their newfangled drive. At least MS has the sense to realize that not everyone is going to want an HD-DVD or BluRay drive right now. It's a sad sad day when Microsoft of all people is more in touch with what the consumers actually want and it seems to me that is the case here.

Re:Meh (3, Insightful)

MHolmesIV (253236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876430)

Aah, but you're counting wrong, see. For 10 million people out there (by November), the HD DVD addon will not cost them the price of the 360 + the addon, they already _have_ the 360. So which is easier, paying $600 over 2 years, or paying $600 all at once, for me, I could justify the $400 cost of the 360 last year, and I can easily justify the cost of a ~$200 HD DVD drive this year, but I could not justify the $600 cost of a PS3, it's just too much all at once.

So for the millions of people who already have a HDTV and a 360, they're not looking at $600 to get started watching movies, they're only looking at $200, which is a pretty small barrier to entry, and for the people who don't have a 360, they're not looking at $600 to watch a movie (They can buy the Toshiba for between $400-$500), and they're not looking at $600 to play a game (the 360 is $400).
For the PS3, no matter what you want to do, you're looking at $600, up front. Too rich for my blood.

Re:Meh (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876954)

For those 10 Million people, you'd still be paying $600 because you'd need the HDMI which your current Xbox360 doesn't have. Either that or you're doing the $500 model on PS3 which contrary to all the talk is a 100% functional option, unlike the $300 Xbox 360.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15878494)

so why does my toshiba hd-dvd player have component output that displays 1080i hd-dvds quite well?

Re:Meh (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878304)

"So, $399.99 for a new 360 with HDMI output"

All we have is unsubstatiated rumors at best that Microsoft will be releasing a new generation of 360s to offer HDMI output. Aside from the fact that it is a 180 from their current philosophy of making everything an add-on (including the HDD) instead of hardwiring things, these rumors can be either confirmed or denied very easily...

Somebody has the pin-outs of the 360's multi-out port, or else nobody would be making a/v cables for it, right? Are there or are there not leads putting out HDMI signals?

I love options (3, Interesting)

The_Pariah (991496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875473)

Next gen games don't NEED higher capacity discs than DVD9 discs.

Therefore, I LOVE the option of deciding if I _want_ the fancy movie player or _just_ the game console.

Sony doesn't give me that option. I'm FORCED to purchase the integrated drive to play HD movies, although the games themselves don't require them.

Re:I love options (0)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876009)

Next gen games don't NEED higher capacity discs than DVD9 discs.

Yeah! And an 80MB hard drive will never be filled up! And 640K should be enough for everyone! And 28.8kbps is blazing!

I've already played PS2 games that have been on two DVDs. Given bigger textures, higher quality audio, and all the other fun stuff, you can easily fill up a lot more than that.

Re:I love options (1)

The_Pariah (991496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876233)

Except for the fact that the 360 has already disproved that point.

Re:I love options (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876925)

It hasn't disproven anything. All it shown is some games can get by with DVD, not that all games can get by with it.

Re:I love options (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877111)

First off, your examples are stupid because no one is saying that DVD will be an appropriate format forever; but it is fair to say that DVD should be an appropriate format for the next 5 years. You see, if you take away High-Definition FMV sequences then there really is nothing that should take up all that much space; certainly models and textures are larger, but the PS2 didn't support any texture compression and most games were only on a single layered DVD or on a CD.

Will there be multiple DVD games?

Yes, but is it really all that big of a problem to switch DVD's ever 10-20 hours of gameplay.

Will developers avoid FMV cut-scenes?

Probably, but is this a problem? An in engine cut-scene on the XBox 360 is capable of producing most of the cinematics you'd want; we're no longer working on the Sega CD and Playstation, if you can't produce a decent cut scene without going to FMV you're a pretty crappy developer.

right and wrong (2, Insightful)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875502)

"So, $399.99 for a new 360 with HDMI output (needed for the ubershizzle HD-DVD) plus another, what, $199.99 for the HD-DVD player? Wow, comes to the same price as a PS3 - only that's an all-in-one system with complete compatability with both PS1 and PS2 games. If Sony takes a beating over that price point, then it's only fair to batter MS for arriving at the same price. Oh, and if that snazzy HD-DVD player costs more than $199.99, then it's game over man."

Yes, it does come to the same price as a PS3. Only one difference - most people could care less about HDDVD or BR and would rather just play games.

The Blu-Ray drive does not fit a market. Gamers are usually younger and do not have the HD capabilities for the movies. Home theater enthusiasts with the proper setups will be buying a professional high definition player from a different vender. How many home theater enthusiasts out there use the crappy DVD player from an xbox or a ps2??

Bad analysis (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876486)

The Blu-Ray drive does not fit a market. Gamers are usually younger and do not have the HD capabilities for the movies.

And will, over time, appreciate the extras in games that the greater amount of storage brings them. Market 1.

Home theater enthusiasts with the proper setups will be buying a professional high definition player from a different vender.

For $1k? Only the very upper crust. Many, many technically oriented people that are doing HD systems more mix and match "gehtto style" will be happy to use a PS3 as a Blu-Ray player - after all, it has all the same component and optical audio outputs I would lok for in a higherquality player, along with the ability for more flexible updating than simpler fixed devices with more hard-coded firmware.

I used a PS2 for two years as a DVD player, and don't see why doing the same with the PS3 would not be equally popular.

How many home theater enthusiasts out there use the crappy DVD player from an xbox or a ps2??

Me and a number of friends. I have a surround sound system, that I care enough about the quality of to balance with a sound meter and use Video Essentals to tune the display.

And actually the PS2 DVD player was pretty good. Don't forget the PS2 and PS3 have a lot more processing power availiable for decoding than a typical standalone player!

COULD NOT CARE LESS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877275)

It's fucking COULD NOT CARE LESS! Ok?! Do you understand now. You could NOT care less. That is - you are at your lowest point of caring about it for fucks sake.

NOW - if you 'could care less', then whatever you're talking about probably does actually make a difference to you. But that's not what you mean. Please go and read some books and educate yourself YOU ILLITERATE FUCKER!

Re:right and wrong (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15878447)

Home theater enthusiasts with the proper setups will be buying a professional high definition player from a different vender.
Problem is, you seem to associate "enthusiasm" with "wealth", which, while I love home theaters and always look at them at stores and never miss an opportunity to watch a movie with my parents on their incredible home theater setup (100 inch projector screen, paradigm speaker set and Yamaha amp, [~5k]), I personally can't afford all of this. I'll gladly give MS another 200$ for their HD-DVD drive because I already own the 360 so this lowers the HD-DVD price of entry for me quite a bit. Besides, reports are that the quality is very good. so why would I spend two to three times more when the difference in quality is not that great? I'm all for being an enthusiast, but there's also fiscal responsibility at some point. While I'd love to have a 5k$ sound system like my dad's, I think a 1.5k$ setup will be just fine. And that's already more than what a lot of people are paying for this kind of stuff.

Ohhh they're clever... (4, Funny)

GfxGeek (994243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875575)

Those marketing guys at MS are shrewd... they know full well that the World Record for staying awake during "The Phantom of the Opera" is 10 minutes. This reduced the chance of someone seeing a lockup to almost zero.

Vastly underrated (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875881)

The parent post needs a whole lotta +mod

WORLD RECORD HERE! (1)

tbcpp (797625) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875937)

Man, I need to contact Guiness then. I stayed awake during it no problem. Infact, it's one of my favorite musicals.

Reasonable Price (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875628)

"All the audio and video processing is done inside the Xbox"

I would expect the price on this would have to be farely reasonable, if not downright cheap, compared to the other HD DVD players.

Suits following suit (0, Troll)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15875859)

And once again a mighty "Me Too!" is heard from the Microsoft camp.

The only reason they would create a product like this is to compete with PS3's Blu-Ray capabilities. Capabilities, that IIRC, they have publicly denounced as unnecessary and ineffectual. Not that I'm saying Sony has the right idea either, I just forsee this product going the same way as EVERY single non-controller peripheral since the dawn of video games: into obscurity.

SEGA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15876130)

Dosent anyone remember sega CD? Nintendo learned their lesson before they made the N64 DD I heard there was even talk of having one for the SNES. If MS wants to take over the living room they better not clutter it up with an add on HD-DVD drive.

Re:SEGA (2)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876417)

Dosent anyone remember sega CD? Nintendo learned their lesson before they made the N64 DD I heard there was even talk of having one for the SNES. If MS wants to take over the living room they better not clutter it up with an add on HD-DVD drive.
If MS wants to take over the living room, they will need either an HD-DVD or Blu Ray player.

And some people do allocate extra space for future purchases. My entertainment system holds my PS2, my Gamecube, my DVD player, my Famicon knock-off, and has room left over.

This is also a more sensical PR move on their part. Sony isn't offering a choice with the Blu Ray player, and the cost is being passed along to the consumer. In this case, Microsoft is merely offering an additional component, not forcing it on anyone. However they are trying to gain footing in the HD market through persuasion. If the pricing is reasonable, someone with a 360 may pass up a standalone HD-DVD player in favor of a cheaper add-on component that will accomplish the same task.

The only thing I'll criticize is the aesthetics of the device.

Re:SEGA (1)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876422)

Hmm . . . now I'm not usually one to complain about moderation, but how did this AC get modded insightful when he just said the same thing that I did?

Re:SEGA (1)

freeweed (309734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876462)

I heard there was even talk of having one for the SNES

There was. You might know it better as the Sony Playstation. Made a fortune, as all-in-one devices *always* win out in the console world.

I think Sony may be trying to prove that idiom wrong this time around, however... :)

Not the same thing (2, Insightful)

xswl0931 (562013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876882)

MS has learned the lesson and the difference is that this HD-DVD add-on is ONLY for movies. Games will not play on it. This means that developers won't be creating different games if you have the HD-DVD add-on or not.

Wouldn't you say...? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876599)

Kind of destroys the clean lines of the XBox 360 itself, as well as making it decidedly harder to move around casually. Inside would have been much better.

seem to forget.. (2, Insightful)

zeeroj (966489) | more than 8 years ago | (#15876716)

360 HD-DVD..doesn't play games, people. This add-on only allows videoplayback.

How long? (1)

Tim_sama (993132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877803)

It appears that the drive is a casing on what could be a standard PC DVD drive sized HD-DVD drive.

Any guesses on how long it will be until someone...

A) ...takes the drive out of the casing and gets it to work on a PC (any OS)?

or

B) ...gets a 360 to work normally after replacing the standard DVD drive with the internals of the HD-DVD drive?

Do you think it will happen before MS releases an "Ultimate XBox 360" that includes the HD-DVD drive built-in?

Inquiring minds want to know!
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