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Gates May Announce Xbox 360 DVR At CES

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the red-ring-of-content dept.


Via Kotaku, an article at the Seattle Times offers an interesting theory on what might be an important part of Bill Gates' keynote at CES next week. According to Times writer Brier Dudley, upgrades and licensing for the Xbox 360 could be a big new feather in Microsoft's cap: "I've speculated on my blog that Microsoft may be preparing to license the Xbox gaming platform to consumer-electronics companies. In particular, Microsoft could work with Toshiba to develop a digital video recorder with a hard-drive, high-definition HD-DVD drive and Xbox gaming capabilities. They're already allied against Sony and other backers of the Blu-ray DVD format, and Toshiba could help Xbox finally penetrate the Japanese market." Toshiba has repeatedly denied the possibility of a 360 unit with a built-in HD-DVD drive, it should be noted.

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Well if it is true. (1, Redundant)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886610)

If it is true and Microsoft can get good integration with the Zune then it could be a big winner.
Hack I may even get one if they can get it is HD and will work well with Comcast.

Re:Well if it is true. (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886656)

If you turn a 360 into a DVR, it makes you have to choose whether to use that HD space on illegal game copies or time shifted video content (or at a minimum on XBox360 HD's).....I say it's a big win for MS because it will increase the dollars they get from game sales or HD sales.


Re:Well if it is true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21886712)

This must be Slashdot's equivalent of "you rage, you lose" threads

Re:Well if it is true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21887062)

Why bother? You can buy a tv-dvd recorder for under $100. burn to re-recordable dvds, and wait a few years for the hi-def tech to come down. After all, the xbox isn't going to record as a "real" hi-def movie anyway - that would take between 20 and 40 gigs of space a shot.

Re:Well if it is true. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887698)

Ease of use. DVRs are about 100 times easier to use than a DVD/VCR. Not easy to use as in I can't figure out how to do it but easy to use in that it only takes a few seconds to set a show to record.
If Microsoft does it well and intergrates it with the Zune then it could be very cool. You can already use the 360 as a media extender so why not use it to sync your Zune and put videos of your favorite shows on the Zune or your PC so you can watch them later?
How about letting you use your Zune as a wireless media extender for your 360? sort of a mini TV that you can take anywhere.

Re:Well if it is true. (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21892730)

If Microsoft does it well and intergrates it with the Zune then it could be very cool.
Apart from all the proprietary vendor lock-in bollocks, yeh it's a good idea. But will it be compatible with $FAVOURITE_PMP?

Re:Well if it is true. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21894184)

"Apart from all the proprietary vendor lock-in bollocks, yeh it's a good idea. "
Well yes but less you want to "Roll your own" it will be proprietary.
MythTV+a Nokia Tablet+ some code could do a lot of it. Too bad the Nokia Tablet doesn't have an HD.

Re:Well if it is true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889386)

IMO, the only thing MS should be worrying about with the 360 are the following things

1) fix the chipset and get the RRoD instances down or non-existent
2)only integrate HD-DVD into the 360 if they can do so with NO additional cost to the consumer
3) integrate wireless network support.

The PS3 is pretty far behind but a $399 PS3 with Blu-Ray and wireless network access is going to start looking pretty appealing next X-Mas compared to a $349 Xbox 360.

Makes a scary amount of sense... (4, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886648)

If MS wants to continue their business the way they always have, the xbox and xbox360 may have been part product, and part proof-of-concept to try to sell a sort of gaming-system platform, ala the Windows OS for desktop.

If Toshiba and others decided to make consumer electronics devices that happened to be 'xbox 360' compliant, or whatever the platform specification of the time happens to be, MS may decide to maintain merely the core platform specification, client software stack, and the server infrastructure of xbox live, without producing many units of their hardware implementation of the platform they dictate.

Of course, they run the *high* risk of doing so of defeating the whole point of consoles, that every console is the same hardware with the same features so game developers don't have to worry about the complexity of the user having a varying amount of central processor/graphics horsepower/memory/different optical drives. If HD-DVD got integrated and supported as a platform for games to be published on, that would walk the 360 down the path of the computer in terms of having to read 'requirements' on the box before purchase, and licensing could lead to a mess if they aren't careful on all the various components.

Re:Makes a scary amount of sense... (2, Interesting)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886966)

What about something like the Expansion Pak [] for the Nintendo 64? There were quite a few games that took advantage of its benefits without being absolutely necessary for gameplay... would a direction like that be possible & adviseable for HD gameplay?

Re:Makes a scary amount of sense... (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21891308)

The expansion pak was one of a few possible variations between N64 systems. Others include memory and rumble paks. How many of those variations made it to the GC? Aaaaand, how many then continued to the Wii?

would a direction like that be possible & adviseable for HD gameplay?
I'm not sure that answers your question or not, but Nintendo's direction is very clear.

I think console add-ons should generally be kept to a minimum and restricted to specific domains of games. Some add-ons have good reasons for being optional right from the beginning, extra controllers and headsets (too many trash talking tweens) for example. When too many add-ons affect the full gamut of games though, I'd rather just have a new console, and I'd be pretty pissed if the current one wasn't out very long yet... Who's with me?

Re:Makes a scary amount of sense... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889454)

I liked this movie better the first time when it was called "3DO".

Re:Makes a scary amount of sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21892874)

Isn't the real point of consoles was that it made it easy for the manufacturers to take license fees from the game companies so that they could to sell the consoles at a loss, and also the lesser degree of piracy.

Make it Quieter (5, Interesting)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886652)

Between a nice sale and gift card I bought the 360 HD-DVD addon for a song. An HD-DVD player for (practically) free that didn't take up an extra set of Component inputs, how could I loose? Plus I could now watch Heroes season 1 on HD-DVD (I missed all of the first season on TV).

Unfortunately it didn't take me too long to realize that my 360 is just too flippin' loud to enjoy movies. It's one thing if I'm gaming, but if I'm watching an old classic I'd rather not heard the buzzing of those fans. Since I was already jazzed to get Heroes I decided to return the unit and get the cheap Toshiba HD-A2 for a small price instead.

If they want to seriously consider doing this, they need to engineer the unit so it's a lot quieter or perhaps makes sure it doesn't get so loud with age.

Re:Make it Quieter (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887020)

I should note, I've just been told on another forum that I might be in the minority on this issue. Apparently some of my peers do not share this problem (or the noise is in the tolerable range).

I'm used to background noise in my place, yet I had to bump up volume considerably to hear the dialog over the noise. So maybe my unit is on the way out (it is an older one). Playing the discs on my Toshiba HD-A2 unit brought the ambient noise to an acceptable level.

Re:Make it Quieter (1)

rayzat (733303) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887070)

How old is your 360. I have an original release 360 and it's a little loud. My friend baught one a couple months ago and it's like night and day on the noise issue.

Re:Make it Quieter (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887880)

It wasn't a "launch" unit but it wasn't that far afterwards. Maybe 1-2 of months afterwards.

I wasn't planning on getting one, but I'd purchased an HD TV a few months prior and then my original XBox died a few weeks after the 360 launch. Instead of going through any hassle I decided to replace it with a 360, the BestBuy I went to had a couple of HardDrive units in stock.

Re:Make it Quieter (1)

sexyrexy (793497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887122)

My old (first-gen) unit was extremely loud, like you are describing. It died before the big warranty extension, so I got an Elite to replace it and that is pretty quiet - about on par with a small PC, even with the disc spinning.

Re:Make it Quieter (3, Informative)

mingot (665080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21891316)

You do realize that even though it died before the extension it IS covered now, right? Send that sucker in to get it fixed and make a few bucks on ebay.

Re:Make it Quieter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21895996)

Unfortunately, only 360's that die from a specific RROD are covered. Mine crashes all the time, often from "Disc Unreadable", because of a defective DVD drive (which is about as quiet as a chainsaw). M$ says they won't cover it under warranty, because its not RROD.

Re:Make it Quieter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21897586)

Personally, I'd send it back saying it was RROD, and if they returned it with a busted drive scream foul and accuse them of breaking it and get them to replace the thing anyhow. I like my 360, love the library, but make no mistake the hardware has serious reliability issues. I'd game the system to put it on MS.

Re:Make it Quieter (2, Informative)

valathax (916966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887914)

There was a firmware update about a year ago that fixed the load fan and drive noise issue when playing movies.

If you don't have proper ventilation for the x360 it will scream like a banshee after just a few minutes. A friend of mine stores his in an enclosed entertainment unit and it is extremely load.

Re:Make it Quieter (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888130)

Odd. I get updates frequently on Live, and it's in an as well ventilated area as you can get for being near a TV. I have a foot free on the Top, Left, and Right. The back has 1.5 - 2 feet. It's sitting in an entertainment unit, but a completely open one. It's just has 4 legs making the frame and glass shelves; no walls or doors. Like I mentioned in a later post it is a very early one, just 1-2 months after release. I know a few friends of mine have loud units as well (even when not on load) but none of them had the HD-DVD unit so I couldn't compare. And they lived too far out to try bringing the HD-DVD unit to their house to test.

Re:Make it Quieter (3, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21892414)

Did you leave a game in the main DVD drive? There's some really stupid code in the HD-DVD player that causes the DVD to spin up if there's a disc left in there, and it's this that causes most of the noise on my system. As long as I take any disc out then playing a HD-DVD from the other drive is fine on mine. It's still a louder than an A2, mind you, so you're still a bit better off with your new setup.

Re:Make it Quieter (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893274)

I recall that being the first thing I checked, but I'd already taken out the game.

The second thing I did was power down everything for about 1/2 hour to cool down. I was playing a game just before I first started so I thought maybe it was still running hot, but that didn't help either. I tried various things throughout the day and just gave up.

Yeh, the new setup is nicer. The only 2 things I really liked about the 360 setup were:
- 360 + HD-DVD player only took up 1 set of component inputs (I only have 2)
- The HD-DVD unit was just about free

Re:Make it Quieter (0, Redundant)

iceT (68610) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893818)

You are *NOT* alone in this. The fan noise is considerable on the XBOX360. Much more so than the original XBOX. Add to that the DVD spin noise, and it's even worse (HD/DVD spin isn't that bad, but it's hard to tell over the fans).

For this thing to be anything but a game console for me, it needs to be MUCH quieter. Almost SILENT.

Re:Make it Quieter (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887096)

Playing games, my 360 sounds like a bat out of hell. Playing DVD's, it's near silent because all the CPU/GPU fans aren't going into overdrive. I have no idea what kinda toll the HD-DVD drive takes on the system, but I hope you are in the minority on this one.

I never understood the noise complaint (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21895752)

I have had a variety of consoles and DVD/HD players, and I've never had a complaint with any of them on noise. I'm not sure if I've just been lucky or whether I'm particularly tolerant of "white noise," but I've never really noticed much noise out of my 360/HD-DVD (or my PS3 either, for that matter). My air-conditioner/heat-pump cutting on is much louder than my 360. My computer is much louder (particularly since the fan sometimes whines when it first comes on). Hell, my refrigerator makes more noise than my 360. But I never hear anyone complaining about their AC or refrigerator when they watch movies.

Maybe some 360's just have defective fans or something, but mine isn't particularly loud--even when under full game load.

Weird business model... (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886734)

Let someone else lose money selling XBox consoles, so MS can make money licensing the hardware and the games, and game publishers can make money selling the games themselves. So, who in the world would get on board to do this? The only way to turn a profit on the console alone would be horrendous quality.

Re:Weird business model... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21886884)

The only way to turn a profit on the console alone would be horrendous quality.

Nah, with the 30% failure rate, Microsoft has already proven that you still have to sell poorly manufactured equipment at a loss to get units out the door.

Perhaps the DVR-360 will be made out of balsa wood?

Re:Weird business model... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21890322)

And yet it's still creaming the PS3. Your bosses must be pissed.

Re:Weird business model... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21892898)

It's not hard to beat other numbers when 50% of your shipped units have been replacements.

If only... (3, Informative)

flitty (981864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886752)

It won't be built in. The public image of ANOTHER version of the xbox that is more expensive than the ps3 is too damaging to the brand, even if it has new features. They wouldn't release an 360 at the current price point with the DVR built in, WAY too many upset early adopters who would be RROD their xbox on purpose.

The only way MS could do this successfully is by upgrading the HD-DVD player, keeping it at the current price point, but adding DVR functionality to the thing, even if it makes the player a little thicker for the hard drive. An "HD upgrade kit" if you will. Then get rid of the old version of the HDDVD player at fire sale prices. That way, the minority of xbox owners that bought the HDDVD players would be the only consumer base that would feel upset, but keeping the price the same would be understandable since the add-on has been around for a while, and it's sales are definately slumping.

Re:If only... (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886952)

what if you only want the DVR capability, would you necessary spend the extra on the HD-DVD player... dunno about you but I don't plan on going to HD discs for as long as I can (if ever, i don't wanna re-buy my 100+ dvds)

Re:If only... (1)

cornface (900179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887536)

what if you only want the DVR capability, would you necessary spend the extra on the HD-DVD player... dunno about you but I don't plan on going to HD discs for as long as I can (if ever, i don't wanna re-buy my 100+ dvds)
Why would you have to rebuy 100 DVDs. Just keep the DVDs you have and buy/rent new content in HD.

Re:If only... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21899834)

HD-DVD players are perfectly capable of playing plain-old-DVDs. There's really no downside to upgrading, beyond the risk that the format you choose (be it Blu-ray or HD-DVD) might be the one that fails.

Re:If only... (2, Informative)

Erwos (553607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887184)

Here's my theory: Microsoft understands what a huge screw-up the CableCard initiative has been on the Media Center side. They're going to go ahead and get the 360 certified by CableLabs, and then allow you to buy CableCard tuners, like the existing ATI OCUR and the upcoming BCOR (which would allow for PPV). They'll then allow you to use this as an external tuner for a single Media Center box, kind of like how the HDHomeRun currently works. This allows them to bypass the system-level DRM and certification requirements that were screwing them on the Media Center side, since all they'd need to do is deal with wrapping the stream in DRM, which they already know how to do.

HD-DVD on-board? Maybe, but it'd just be for obscuring the costs of the CableLab cert, to some extent.

Re:If only... (1)

NothingMore (943591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21891228)

Why do you think this would upset early adopters? I didn't see too many pissed off when they added the HDMI port and 2 free games. "Early adopters" have had their consoles for a couple of years now. So i dont see this being a repeat of the Apple IPhone fiasco..

Media Companies??? (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886844)

How will the media companies respond to this? I thought they were already fighting the idea of DVRs, or at least trying to get them to prevent commercial skipping?

Surely the media companies won't want Microsoft to allow this to happen in any form the consumer might actually want? And I'm sure anyone affiliated with Sony won't like the HD-DVD format at all.

Admittedly, if anyone has the clout to try it's Microsoft, but I'm still skeptical this would take off.


Re:Media Companies??? (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887076)

I doubt if MS is coming up with this things won't be DRMed to the core and prehaps prevent commercial skipping.

Re:Media Companies??? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21895020)

If you think MS's will be bad, imagine what Sony's pvr will look like on the PS3 (since they ARE a media company themselves).

Re:Media Companies??? (2, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887946)

Remember that the 360 is a closed system. Anything Microsoft decides to put in for the benefit of the media companies, you won't be able to get rid of.

Re:Media Companies??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889850)

Right because no one has ever hacked an XBox to serve as a media center. OLOLOL

What does this mean for console development? (4, Insightful)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886852)

Consoles have always had one major advantage over PCs as a gaming platform: consistent hardware. An Xbox is an Xbox is an Xbox. When producing a game for a console, you don't need to test every possible combination of a dozen video cards, a dozen processors, a dozen motherboards, etc. You test it on an Xbox. It works on your Xbox? It works on your customer's Xbox.

I'm worried about the possibility of fragmentation that may occur here, if other companies are allowed to make their own Xboxes. Even if there are a set of standards, there's nothing stopping them from skimping on parts, or even using slightly different architectures which throw the whole thing out of whack.

There is precedent (2, Informative)

Quila (201335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887154)

The Panasonic Q. It was a Nintendo Game Cube with DVD player functionality added. But the game-playing guts were exactly the same as a regular Game Cube so it didn't interfere with game development.

Re:There is precedent (2, Informative)

G Fab (1142219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889632)

Also, Sony made the PSX, which is a playstation 2+DVR media center. Had the first XMB system, too.

It was a huge flop, but this might not be. If I were to buy another XBOX, I would avoid a Microsoft built one if other manufacturers were known to make these in a more reliable form.

Thing is, Isn't the PS3 able to be a DVR with a minor upgrade? I think Sony is just waiting on that to keep the Media companies in bed with Blu Ray, but this might push Sony to get that DVR attachment out faster.

Also, if the XBOX is really getting cheaper to make, then Microsoft is again forfeiting a lot of profits by not making these on its own. They paid for all the loss leader models, and now Toshiba gets to sell all the profitable ones? Strange move. But I'm sure it makes sense from the HD DVD side of things. MS is, yet again, trying to screw with Sony.

I prefer my 360 a lot. In spite of RROD (more than half the 360 owners I know have had one or more), in spite of the online fees, in spite of MS being the very paradigm of an uncool corporation, the 360 offers more fun than any other game console. But I sure do not want to see MS win the console wars to the extent that they become the defacto system you must own to play the best games.

If they do, you can believe that MS will get every penny they spent killing Sony out of our pcokets. We will pay heftier subscriptions and have forced upgrades. Viable systems will be obsolete by plan. Just like Windows. Sometimes that seems impossible to ever occur, and sometimes it seems inevitable.

Of course, this isn't just MS's fault, they're a brainless profit machine and the chairmen have their fiduciary duties. But Sony could have fought a better battle and instead blew their chances with glorious arrogance. I hope 2008 proves that Sony can fight harder by giving me some real games.

Re:What does this mean for console development? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21887224)

Look up the MSX and how it worked ok in Japan.

Re:What does this mean for console development? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21887348)

I don't think anyone is crazy or dumb enough to even remotely be thinking about going into the Xbox hardware biz after the 7+ billion dollars Microsoft has lost on the endeavor. These 'open up the platform' moves almost invariably are companies throwing their hands up and effectively giving up on a product.

There was an interview with one of the main Microsoft execs just a month ago where when asked about the insane hardware failure problems the 360 was still having after two years on the market he only talked about what a great repair service Microsoft has. And there are stories all over the Net about the latest model with the new chips and designed motherboards failing just like the older 360s.

I would imagine that Microsoft will start to ramp down their own production of the 360 hardware while making some announcements about one or more companies expressing interest in getting into the Xbox hardware manufacturing business that never pan out and Microsoft essentially eases out of making consoles and goes back to pc gamers and developers.

Re:What does this mean for console development? (3, Informative)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887508)

"Even if there are a set of standards, there's nothing stopping them from skimping on parts, or even using slightly different architectures which throw the whole thing out of whack."

Sure there is. Microsoft. There's not a chance in hell MS would let anyone make another one that wasn't 100% compatible with the current ones. There's plenty of room (and common sense) for MS to allow others to make a 360 and to control the specs they are made to.

What does this mean for enhanced media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21892662)

Well one this was long coming with the whole TV/Computer convergence. Two I touched upon this in the TV news thread but since most people have cable and a lot of them have fat pipes (as compared to dial-up) between head-end and customer, another part of the puzzle falls into place with a standerized cable-box (console) that's not wimpy in specs.* I don't know about anyone else but I see a lot of possabilities for anyone working on the media end. It's just a question of will media companies see and grasp the potential before it's too late?

*The DVR part is really incidental to this idea.

Re:What does this mean for console development? (1, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888828)

An Xbox is an Xbox is an Xbox.

But is an Xbox 3D0 -- sorry, Xbox 360 -- likewise an Xbox 360?

Some have hard drives; others do not. Some have HD-DVD drives attached; others do not. Some have HDMI ports and the necessary hardware to drive them; others do not.

I would say that the fragmentation you are concerned about has already begun.

Re:What does this mean for console development? (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 6 years ago | (#21890174)

For gaming, the only thing that matters is whether a harddrive is available or not.
MS are not allowing developers to use the HD DVD drive for games, and a HDMI port
looks exactly like a VGA output to the hardware (same part of the console settings).

Still wish they had harddrives with all models, though.

Re:What does this mean for console development? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21895058)

MS are not allowing developers to use the HD DVD drive for games

A symptom of another problem with the console industry, one that's been around since the launch of the Playstation 1 or even before: manufacturers are telling developers what they CAN NOT do with the hardware.

In the early generations of console gaming, developers were allowed and even encouraged to exploit the system in ways that the hardware designers never expected. The Atari 2600 hardware was designed to run Pong-like games; that the developers found ways to abuse the display chip to create Pitfall or Adventure or even Space Invaders is amazing. Undocumented features of the NES were used in games as simple as Super Mario Bros. (to keep the score area at the top of the screen static where the rest scrolled, for example).

If a developer has a great concept for a 360 game but requires use of the HD-DVD drive to bring it to fruition, why should Microsoft stand in the way?

Re:What does this mean for console development? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21900124)

Yes, but those games would work on every NES and every Atari 2600 out there, nothing other than the system was required from the users point of view. Utilizing undocumented features is very different than requiring expensive hardware that only some users may have, if the HD DVD drive were utilized most 360 owners would not be able to run the game. Really I think requiring games work on every 360 is a good move.

DVR, neat angle, it actually might work (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886878)

3DO was an attempt to "license tech to manufacturers". It died, because it meant 3DO machines on shelves that cost a grand, and when introducing a console, it's customary to subsidize it somewhat. Nobody will pay 1000 bucks for a "made by Toshiba" Xbox 360.

But DVRs, offered through (fav cable co), with 360 tech built in, for 5-10 bucks a month, might actually be a winning formula. People are getting them anyways, why not pick the one that plays games/etc too.

Remember, the 360 as an IPTV client has been announced nearly a year ago. A switch to IPTV could be the savior of bandwidth-starved cable operators.

However, the Xbox360's media service competes with services like Comcast's On Demand, so I can't imagine they'd be all that receptive. These days, everybody wants the whole pie.

Re:DVR, neat angle, it actually might work (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887080)

[3DO] died, because it meant 3DO machines on shelves that cost a grand, and when introducing a console, it's customary to subsidize it somewhat.

Couldn't a subsidy work here too, though? "If you want to sell Xbox 360 variants, we'll pay you $X per unit to offset some of your costs." Microsoft is "losing" the same amount per unit, whether they build it or someone else does, but presumably they'd see a return on game sales both ways.

the Xbox360's media service competes with services like Comcast's On Demand, so I can't imagine they'd be all that receptive.

That's just one service, though, and it ought to be modular enough that a Comcast-branded 360 box might work with Comcast's On-Demand service, possibly reworked, possibly in partnership with Microsoft, or possibly even just a Comcast-branded version of the same video service other 360 users get, with a portion of the profits going to Comcast. There are lots of ways you can approach it.

Of course, this is all just brainstorming and conjecture, but it's interesting to think about.

Gates (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886942)

Gates could do all kinds of things at the CES... this really ain't any kind of news.

Re:Gates (1)

ShedPlant (1041034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887156)

1. Baseless speculation
2. Speculation denied
3. Post to /. and discuss the XBOX's fan noise.

Wait, what?

License The Platform == Console Market Exit (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21887106)

You've been hearing the rumors for most of the second half of 2007 - Microsoft is preparing to exit the console market.

And now the reality is finally here.

After two years Microsoft has failed to find a way to fix the 360 hardware failures with even the latest models still giving the infamous RRoD right out of the box for many people. After six years and now some 7 billion dollars with the 360 essentially selling to just the US market like the first Xbox Microsoft has had enough and are looking for other hardware manufacturers to come in and pick up the pieces and try to salvage what they can of the existing Xbox infrastructure. They will never make back anywhere near the billions they've lost but at least they can bring in licensing fees on their way out of the console market.

It looks like right around middle of 2007 when the shit hit the fan up in Redmond and a bunch of messy meetings took place that decided the fate of the 360:

Microsoft finally bit the bullet and admitted to the RRoD failure problem and announced the 1.1 billion they were going to spend to keep fixing the existing failing consoles.

Peter Moore was fired

The primary Xbox first party developer left Microsoft

Two major Xbox exclusive developers Bioware and Bizarre went off to EA and Activision leaving Microsoft with pretty much just Rare and maybe one or two other minor first party developers

The worldwide sales figures showed that the 360 was selling at virtually identical sales rate across the US, Japan, and Europe making it clear that the 360 was going to be once again an almost entirely US based console

And finally Microsoft has been increasingly focused on moving Xbox technologies and services over to Vista

Microsoft obviously has decided they have had enough in the console market and are looking for someone to come in and pick up the pieces. Console hardware obviously isn't an area Microsoft can compete in. Ideally they would like to have PC developers locked into Vista exclusive titles with Microsoft pocketing console type licensing fees without having to waste billions on hardware.

Re:License The Platform == Console Market Exit (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887492)

Why the AC post? +1 Interesting

I'm not so sure the writing is on the wall, though. Much like they learned with DirectX (D3D specificly), Microsoft knows they can substantially influence the future development of other companies. They pretty much dictate an API and the graphics guys tailor their hardware to it (to be fair: along with extentions to OpenGL... but at least with those they control what device-specific parameters to use).

I mean, you even have John Carmack commenting, "I especially like the work I'm doing on the [Xbox] 360, and it's probably the best graphics API as far as a sensibly designed thing that I've worked with." []

The thing is that the XBox line has to permiate all levels in the market, like DirectX was carried on Windows' shoulders. They probably do have an ultimate plan to drop hardware altogether and just release a specification, but it's an ultimate plan. The money their games division is dwarfed by the revenue generated by Microsoft as a whole. If it's part of the business plan, they really don't ever have to turn a profit on the games division, if it so pleases the shareholders. It'd be a relatively short-term sacrifice for a long-term cash cow.

Now I'm not saying there's a tricky part to this, but, if there was, it'd be staying one step ahead of the PS3 and Sony's responses. So far they're doing ok, but IMHO it's not so much marketing prowess as it is Sony being just so out of touch with the gaming public. Since the XBox landed on the scene in 2001, it seems to be held in place by that unholy barrel o' cash of Microsoft's and nothing else. I won't believe the console market truly is big enough for three separate companies until I see all three of them post a profit.

If you rewind a 8 years or so and have Sega with the assets and unrelated income that Microsoft has today, I wonder if the Dreamcast would be following the same footsteps.

Re:License The Platform == Console Market Exit (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887564)

I've noticed that an argument that people frequently make is that the 360 is doing horrible in Japan but good in America...what I want to know is, what is so bad about this?

Japanese gamers and American gamers are quite different insofar as what the "average" one enjoys...just look at the majority of games that come out over there compared to what comes out over here. Is it such a bad thing to have a console targeted towards our market? If anything, I would say that's a plus. Now, I'm one of the few that enjoys all genre's of games (including jRPG) so I like it when a console has a wide variety of games available for it (Dreamcast, PS2, etc.) I still don't understand what is bad about having a console tailored for North American players, though.

After all, Microsoft is an American company and as such I would expect it's products to be primarily made with Westerners in mind...::shrug:: I don't think Microsoft is getting ready to leave the console-gaming arena, I think they are just learning their lessons.

I will say that if Microsoft DID leave the console arena, that would be the perfect time for Sega to make their comeback (unlikely, due to all the agreements they have with Nintendo now)

Re:License The Platform == Console Market Exit (1)

G Fab (1142219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889724)

The main that is so bad about that is that the American dollar is weak right now, and frankly will get weaker as we fight this war and our government cleverly exploits the weak dollar to cheapen the US debt load and increase our leverage against China.

Every PS3 Sony sells in Europe of Japan means more profits relative to every PS3 sold in the US. Especially considering future game sales.

You and I both prefer the 360. That's not to say that Sony might not be losing to Microsoft quite as badly as sheer numbers indicate. And you have the right outlook: who cares who wins as long as you have what you want.

I like your idea about Sega coming back. Sounds really cool, though you're right it isn't possible in the near future. In fact, if MS does what I think they want to do, it may become even more difficult to compete in this market.

I honestly think it's absurd that Microsoft will exit the console arena. They more likely will try something very innovative: letting several companies make compatible living room media centers running Microsoft software and relying on a subscription based XBOX live. It actually makes some sense, because a lot of people will want to download movies and such, and this could be priced to compete with Netflix. Games too, that work based on your Direct X equivalent level, could be sold to those who want them. Microsoft has millions of XBOX owners out there, and a ton of excellent games, and even if they haven't recouped their investment, they would not want to destroy what they have built.

This was always about dominating the living room. Sony would never try to just put software on 100 different brands of playstation, but MS pioneers such a model. I don't want MS to win, I don't like subscription models, but MS could very well have the vision to make something very successful here.

Re:License The Platform == Console Market Exit (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888872)

They're not going to cede the living room to Sony while the PS3's only selling point is being the cheapest Blu-ray player. They might start licensing the platform to third party manufacturers (Vista Console Edition?), but they will never abandon it. The future is not in PCs.

Re:License The Platform == Console Market Exit (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21891506)

while the PS3's only selling point is being the cheapest Blu-ray player
I beg your pardon... you obviously have no idea what games/features are available for the PS3 right now.
Seriously, stop the "not enough games" BS, ok? We've already crossed the threshold into "have more great games available than time to play them", the more, the merrier.

They might start licensing the platform to third party manufacturers
Isn't this what the GP said??

The future is not in PCs.
True or not...
Until Microsoft makes as much money as OS platform and office software sales from departments (when me shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbet), they will do everything in their power to make you wrong. Expect to see more "box running Windows" from Microsoft in the years to come.

Re:License The Platform == Console Market Exit (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21894982)

Well that would certainly explain why the 360 sold games so poorly all Fall and into Christmas. When you compare to the paltry 5 million copies that Halo 3 sold, compared to the massive 150,000 copies that the best PS3 AAA titles sell and the 400,000 selling powerhouse Super Mario Galaxy, it's clear that the 360 is completely washed up and about to be abandoned.

Re:License The Platform == Console Market Exit (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897800)

Those aren't rumors...those are trolls.

will have a cabe card slot and will it work? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887112)

The windows vista based system with don't work that well and SDV channels don't work as well.

One platform - Sega Megadrive! (0, Offtopic)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887460)

There - I said it.

This Is Not What The XBox 360 Needs! (1)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887654)

For the love of all that is holy: The XBox 360 does not need more expensive add on features!! Anyone who does not have the XBox 360 today isn't sitting on the fence thinking "If the XBox 360 was a even more expensive with features I didn't intend to use, I'd buy that!"

Microsoft's own marketing positioned the XBox 360 as a video game console. Anything that adds onto the price tag that doesn't help with that is detrimental to their message. It certainly isn't help their product line to cost this much money and then continue to ask for consumers to spend even more! Microsoft should be working as hard as it can to reduce costs in hardware and software while increasing stability instead of trying to add more gee-wiz features only the hardest of hard core will buy. If anyone wonders why Nintendo is going to run laps around Microsoft in this market it is because Microsoft continues to chase expensive niche customers instead of offering a wider variety, easier for everyone to play system.

Re:This Is Not What The XBox 360 Needs! (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888242)

I kind of disagree with you on a few points. First, "expensive add-on features". Let the xbox have as many add-ons as they want or is possible. You don't have to buy any of them. And as long as you're not limited to what you play because you didn't "add-on" this necessary piece I don't see a problem.

Secondly, "If the XBox 360 was a even more expensive with features I didn't intend to use, I'd buy that!". there very well may be some people who are thinking, "If only the 360 had the hd-dvd built in, and a larger hard drive..." Now if they want to pay more for that option, thats up to them.

I can see where you're coming from of it being an expensive system, but so is the ps3. Its kind of where we are now. I almost see the Wii as the niche product (although obviously very popular) since its price point is so much lower than its competitors.

Re:This Is Not What The XBox 360 Needs! (1)

G Fab (1142219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21891082)

Well, that's the trick, 'eh? These add-ons will most certainly affect what games you can play. HD-DVD games? As companies realize they need to port 20 gb PS3 games? HDD? Already limits the field of 360s slightly.

This can be handled to some extent, because everyone can add-on these features, but it can intimidate buyers. Looking around the accesories, the hard drive add-on, the wifi addon, the hi capacity optical add-on, it's expensive, and you don't know if you need it.

IF the PS3 is $350 by the time these devices hit the shelves, there will be a much less confusing option: get the system that comes with all the cool stuff. It feels fully loaded, and it looks fully loaded. A Honda Civic can be upgraded to perform like a BMW, and it generally costs more by the time you're done. A BMW is a simpler choice, and though you have no choice but to buy all the expensive parts that come standard, this certainly about what you get lends a lot of prestige to the brand.

With 400$ consoles, being electronics with all those scary wires, a lot of folks will go for the system that always works with all it's platform's games, always plays the HD movies, always works with wi-fi and all the other stupid stuff.

The PS3 doesn't beat the 360 as things are now. 360's got the games, period. But if we see a bunch of disparate 360 systems that do not always work well together (this is microsoft, they can't even get their own machines to work reliably), the PS3 is going to look a lot more appealing.

I'm pulling this out of my ass, of course. I think if MS is smart they will keep all games on DVDs (the HDD disparity is pretty minimal), and this problem can be somewhat avoided. But MS loves differentiation. They love hitting every single price point they can, even to the detriment of consumer confidence. This new Vista, Office, etc, all share this attempt to gouge for little features that should be basic and in common. Has MS learned that's a bad move? Nope.

Grrrr (1)

sjf (3790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21887696)

Why did Microsoft have to start making things that I actually want and use ?
Sheesh, if they can add Divx playback to the XBXO 360, anything is possible.

Re:Grrrr (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889378)

Sheesh, if they can add Divx playback to the XBXO 360, anything is possible.
... and in related news, Sony DID in fact add DivX playback (as well as VC-1) in the last PS3 firmware upgrade [] . :)

wrong - do they do any research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21887866)

we already know MS is turning the 360 into an iptv/dvr - i thought that's what this article was about - it'll prob be announced for the next spring update.

this concept is old news that's been around for a while and it's been pretty hush for a while so i'd say that's what's comin up for CES

maybe they should fix their support first (1)

greywar (640908) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888174)

Yeah, Maybe they should fix their support first. I've spent 8+ hrs and 62 days waiting for them to fix my xbox live purchases after they replaced my console for the red ring of death. During that time I have: Been called a liar. Apologized to for calling me a liar when the e-mails from them proved I wasn't Told to re-purchase all of my content. Told that my content could not be accessed by others on my console. Told that people without Gold access could not access my content. Been told that recording any calls with them was a violation of Federal law. Been told the only recourse I have is to deal with the support rep who called me a liar-that I couldn't talk to a supervisor,OR have a different rep. Had my case closed repeatedly while unfixed. Been hung up on when transferred to a supervisor in the foreign support hell. Been promised that my problem would be resolved within 30 days. Been told later that it was a minimum of 30 days, but absolutely would be fixed within 30 more days. Its now 62 days. No one helps when I call. Best answer is always [it will be another 30 days]. I used to be a XNA developer. I've stopped now until this is fixed.

Wow (3, Interesting)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888396)

Just imagine, a cheap device that is "360 compatible". Plays any Xbox 360 game. Has any set of features any number of licensed OEMs would like to put in. HP could make one. Dell could make one. Panasonic could embed them in TVs.

If the licensing outlay is cheap and competitive enough, it would kill Sony.

It seems a bit far-fetched, though.

Re:Wow (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888902)

If the licensing outlay is cheap and competitive enough, it would kill Sony.

Just like 3DO licensees Panasonic, Sanyo and Goldstar leveraged that common platform to kill their closest competitors: Philips CDi and Pioneer LaserActive!

Re:Wow (2, Informative)

grapeape (137008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889544)

Hmm Lets See...


The most expensive console of its day (and probably of all time if adjusted for inflation)

Poor game selection out of the gate and little support afterwards.

Trip Hawking was too obsessed with making it a multimedia setup box rather than focusing on games.

Advertising was nearly non-existent and focused on the wrong aspects.

A horrible controller and only one controller port so controllers had to be daisy chained together.

No real exclusives other than an early jump on Street Fighter 2 turbo.

3DO never manufactured its own console it only licensed the platform, which meant all of them were starting from scratch.

Other than those...yep it sounds just like 3D0....

Re:Wow (1)

indecks (1208854) | more than 6 years ago | (#21894744)

(and probably of all time if adjusted for inflation) The SNK Neo Geo was the most expensive if you take it's software library into consideration.

Re:Wow (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21903174)

That's a good point, Microsoft, unlike a lot of other companies including Sony, is pretty good at getting other companies to use their stuff. To the point of illegally leveraging their monopolies to do it. Again, not great for Sony.

Re:Wow (0)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21891360)

What in the hell are 3DO, CDi, and LaserActive?

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21892938)

If only you had access to some sort of large distributed information source where you could find out what those things are. Ah well.

Death of Gaming (-1, Troll)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888494)

Yay, now we can all support Microsoft in their march to take over console gaming, so they can destroy that just like they wrecked personal and business computing. It's so great to support a convicted monopolist in their drive to extend their monopoly from the desktop to the console, when by all rights they should have failed with their first venture. It's too bad Sony couldn't have been more competent with the PS3 release, I hate to think of what shit console gaming could turn into if the only avenue for non-casual gamers is the xbox (which is, of course, microsoft's goal.)

I guess by hiding the Microsoft name on the box, the giant green X pulled one over on everyone.

Re:Death of Gaming (2, Insightful)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21890472)

so they can destroy that just like they wrecked personal and business computing

That comment is so wrong, it's incredible.

If there is one single company that moved personal and business computing forward, it is Microsoft.

Say what you want about their interface, their ethics, company has done more to move businesses and individuals onto computers than Microsoft.

The fact that 90% of the computers in the world run Windows should tell you something about their influence.

Re:Death of Gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21891098)

On the contrary, I would argue that MS has, if anything, slowed the natural progress of computing. It's true that they have expanded, but the market was bound to expand a great deal - the benefits are just too great to ignore for companies and individuals. Microsoft simply took advantage of an open position in the market and leveraged their way into most users' experiences through highly questionable if not illegal business practices. They achieved 90+% market share simply because of these practices. Once they held a grip on the industry, they did nothing but impede the progress of technology, the browser market being the prime example. After IE beat Netscape (again through probably illegal practices), MS sat on the progress of IE for years, effectively creating the spyware/adware problem. What does the fact that IE was only updated when Firefox came along tell you about MS's "moving computing forward"?

Mod that coward up! (1)

quitte (1098453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21891934)

I dont remember benefitting from anything microsoft did ever. I had a microsoft natural elite keyboard once. It was when the rumour was spread that microsoft cant get anything right but hardware. The thing died after spilling a minor amount of liquid over it. It seemed almost as if some wet sneezing would have been sufficient.
Also while Microsoft has been the leader in market share for quite a long time that hardly ever happened technology wise. There always have been alternatives. Most of the time they were superior.

Re:Death of Gaming (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21892254)

The monopoly/homogenous position that Microsoft held was necessary for computing to move forward.

The days of wondering which platform to use were gone. No more CP/M vs. Apple arguments. You could buy a Windows computer, and know that the software you purchased would run on it.

This is what allowed shrink-wrapped software to explode into a huge industry. If you remember going into a computer store in the 90's, the Windows software section was enormous. The Mac section was tiny- and there was nothing else. That very 'lack of choice' is exactly what made computing mainstream.

Now that the internet age is upon us, the platform is no longer important. With an internet connection and browser, most people can achieve everything they need on their computer.

But without Microsoft, computing would not have been brought to the masses. And without the masses, there wouldn't be thousands of 18 year old girls showing their titties on webcams.

Re:Death of Gaming (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893778)

Sorry to venture off topic,

But your argument sounds like the proverbial "if your only tool is a hammer" mentality of "business" computing. Microsoft is convicted of abusing monopoly power to push out competition. They didn't bring anything to the masses, they crushed their rivals so it seemed like there _was_ no alternative. And they were convicted of it, too.

We should really tell all those Apple Macintosh users that wondering which platform to use is gone the way of CP/M. Or perhaps all the Linux users should consider the battle over and head to the Best Buy to get their Compaq Vista machines ASAP. :)

So, basically, your argument is hogwash and Microsoft's history (and current position) is nothing about moving computing forward... If anything, as others in this thread have stated, they have retarded innovation to the point of absurdity in some areas of development simply to maintain their 95% marketshare.
The machines we use, the operating systems we use, and the devices we use don't matter... the ability to read others' documents and data is the key.. and Microsoft has been actively trying to stomp that out of existence even with their own formats. (Thank God they didn't have anything to do with the Internet...)

Re:Death of Gaming (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21898794)

The machines we use, the operating systems we use, and the devices we use don't matter... the ability to read others' documents and data is the key.

Exactly, I agree 100%. And until recently, cross-platform access to data was very difficult. That is why it was so critical that such a huge majority of users were on the same platform.

Prior to Microsoft's dominance (and largely as a result of it) there were no 'standard' file formats. Everything was tied to a vendor, and the vendors were happy. Did you ever try to put your 5.25 Apple disk into ANY other drive? It didn't work.

It was not until the industry rallied AGAINST Microsoft, that the idea of standards really came into play. Once they knew they weren't going to beat Microsoft head to head, they decided to take a different tack- 'standards'.

My point is that the dominance of a single company had two beneficial results:

Result 1- in the early stages, computers could interact, because they were homogenous.

Result 2- the industry realizes that instead of allowing one company to hold the keys to everything, they need to make interoperable standards allowing computers to interact.

Plumbing fittings, electrical current, railroads, computers...without a ubiquitous standard, we would never have gotten as far as we are now. Those standards come from industry down a twisty road. Microsoft has played a huge part in making this happen in computing.

Not happening.. (4, Interesting)

rtechie (244489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889322)

This simply isn't happening.

The rumor within MS is that Microsoft would announce another VERSION of the XBOX 360 with PVR capabilities and Cablecard support. It is my understanding that this hinged on getting at least one of the major cable companies (TimeWarner and Comcast) on board. This apparently did not happen. Therefore, there will be no 360 PVR.

Re:Not happening.. (1)

|Cozmo| (20603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21891932)

If they have cablecard why the hell do they need to have a cable company on board? Please provide sources kthx.

Re:Not happening.. (1)

rtechie (244489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897978)

Did Kotaku provide a source for their rumors? I'm not going to either.

Ever seen a CableCARD-ready set-top box? No? That will tell you why they need the support of the cable companies.

Re:Not happening.. (1)

|Cozmo| (20603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21898874)

I guess you've never heard of Tivo.

Re:Not happening.. (1)

BBF_BBF (812493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21892336)

No PVR on the 360, eh? Maybe not a cablecard one, but software support for Microsoft's IPTV backend used by AT&T U-Verse in the United States.... that's old news. Too bad Gates already announced IPTV support for the 360 at last year's CES and specifically mentioned PVR support. [] Congrats to slashdot for displaying a headline that's suitable for an announcement from CES 2007

Re:Not happening.. (1)

rtechie (244489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21898586)

IPTV is distinct from the rumor that their will be a new "PVR SKU" in the XBOX 360 lineup.

This has been done before, seriously. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21891184)

I believe 3DO was the first system to be liscenced out to companies. The only reason I dont believe 3D0 survived was just because of its lackluster liabrary. I think if Microsoft went with this model it can achieve greatness. Also lets not forget how Microsoft runs its liscencing, they are seriously king at this kinda stuff.

Re:This has been done before, seriously. (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893846)

What has Microsoft licensed successfully? WMA licensing was somewhat successful although Apple still dominates DRMed audio file formats.

This isn't a secret! (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21892334)

Microsoft has been telling us that they're going to include IPTV and DVR functionality through a software upgrade for more than a year! This isn't news.

I was more surprised that it wasn't part of the fall update (since they claimed it would be available by the end of 07) than a rumor that they might actually announce what's happened to it and why it was delayed (probably because of a lack of service providers).

The technology is built. Microsoft desperately wants to sell more cable providers on microsoft's IPTV servers. How is this even speculation?

I speculate (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21899548)

Didn't we just see an article yesterday about what's wrong with the media?

I speculate that $COMPANY will announce $NEW_PRODUCT at CES. I have no proof, no statements by the indicated players, and I just smoked a garbage bag full of weed.
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