back to article Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD player

The shops are jam packed with HD tellys in the run up to Christmas, but there's surprisingly little HD content available in the UK at the moment. Sky and Telewest customers are sorted - for a somewhat large fee - but other than that there's little else to show off your brand spanking new set for a reasonable price. Until …

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VGA

HD content is exempt using VGA cables from the ICT issue and therefore al you need to do is purchase the VGA cable for the 360.

This completely bypasses the problem and as most users will have VGA connections on their displays not an issue.

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Re: VGA

Hi Lee,

ICT is a function of the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) encryption used on HD DVD discs, not HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection).

AACS encrypts the content, HDCP just protects the digital link between all items in the chain (ie disc -> decoder -> graphics card -> display).

ICT only applies to analogue connections, and as VGA and component are both analogue, if it's turned on then the 360 has to downscale the output.

However, since it's unlikely to be implemented until the Blu-ray/HD DVD war is out of the way, for fear of confusing consumers even more and putting them off one format, it's likely that either an HDMI cable for the 360 will exist by then or a successor to the 360 with HDMI built in.

Will

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New PowerDVD Ultra Software for the Xbox HD DVD Player on a PC

Hi Will,

Great article on the XBox 360 HD DVD add-on player!

I just wanted you to know that there is official PC software that can use this player to play HD DVD on the PC.

It is PowerDVD ULTRA by Cyberlink and it is available on their website for about US$99.

I wonder if you could put a footnote onto your article to mention it?

Thanks and best regards,

Edward Downer

http://www.hdnowonline.com

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PC compatibility

Hi

Could you extend this review? Apparently they work with PC's.

Would be good to hear about the ins and outs of that.

Cheers

Alex

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Scratch that last comment

Clearly I can't read properly.

Thanks

Alex

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Anonymous Coward

Not Impressed At All

I'm afraid I have to tally disagree with the review. I like many others, have found that if you have a good set up then this HD-DVD player doesn't really offer much over normal DVD.

I've compared both King Kong & Serenity on both formats and couldn't see that much difference and I do have 20-20 vision. This was via a an Arcam DV88+ and Panny TH-42 PH9 panel. It would be helpful if the reviewer stated on what equipment he based his review. I only started to notice a real difference once the picture was outputed via my projector on to 90" screen. Also, disappointingly, the reviewer makes no mention of how poorly the Xbox decodes 5.1 digital sound tracks or how at the present time it can't handle True HD audio or Dolby Digital +.

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Anonymous Coward

Not sure what you were looking at.

To the previous poster, I'm not entirely sure what you were watching. Can't find any info about your Plasma, but are you sure its a decent resolution? Just because it's labelled HD Ready it doesn't mean it does true 1280x720 or higher.

I've compared King Kong, V for Vendetta, Superman Returns, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Serenity, Swordfish, Van Helsing and Mission Impossible III on DVD/HD-DVD on my Toshiba 32WL66 HD LCD, and on my Panny PT-AX100E projector (at about 70" diagonal). Using XBOX360 connected via component for HD-DVD, and an upscaling DVD player (Panny DMR-EX75) connected via HDMI to play DVDs.

On both displays you can clearly see a huge difference in quality when watching the HD versions. Kongs fur/scars look nowhere near as lifelike on standard DVD as they do on the HD release. The plane rescue scene in Superman is unbelievable and only the HD version does justice to how good the effects in that scene really are. The dragon/egg stealing scene in HP blows the SD version away.

On all the movies the darker scenes are much more clearly defined, and detailed on the HD versions, and all have much more realistic colours and definition that almost jumps out of the screen.

I could go on, but I won't. Suffice to say that the jump to HD is great, and all I wish now is that Fox would jump of the Blu-Ray ship and get the StarWars saga out on HD-DVD asap. :)

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Anonymous Coward

The Plasma Issue

Like most plasmas the Panasonic TH-42 PH9 only has a native resolution of 1024x768 (a 4x3 res requiring some odd stretching for Widescreen).

This is much closer to the 960x576 (Widescreen Anamorphic PAL) coming out of a decent de-interlacing DVD player than the 1920x1080 that the HD-DVD disks are encoded in or the 1280x720 (composite) 1366x768 (VGA native) that the XBOX 360 will be outputting to most LCD screens.

Hardly surprising that there is not much difference between DVD and HD-DVD on most Plasma.

As far as I know no plasmas actually have a proper widescreen pixel format other than the very latest (and largest) 1080p native models.

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Tom

I agree with previous poster

I completely agree with the previous poster. The guy who wasn't impressed has a huge 42" screen with a measly 1024x768 native resolution, so it's no wonder it doesn't look that much better.

The xBox360 with HD DVD is a BUDGET solution.

I think the unimpressed guy is missing the point. I may not have a "good setup" but I have an 32" HD CRT (480p/720p/1080i), an xbox 360 with an xbox HD-DVD, and a 5.1 system. I can watch iDTV, HD-TV, HD-DVD & SD-DVD, as well as being able to play SD/HD games all in 5.1 surround sound.

The point is, all this cost less than £900.

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Spinning disc hell

Hasn't there been some concern over discs which spin fast and external drives before? I seem to remember that a few external drive manufacturers began to include a breaking mechanism which activated on tilt into their draw based CD drives.

HD-DVD spins quickly, puts out quite a lot of data throughput and slowing the disc down could be detrimental to this. If the breaking mechanism is excluded, well, frisbee? Or more to the point, evil microsoft odd job style frisbee.

I can hear the lawyers knocking at redmond now.

I have little trust in what microsoft produce, with burning Xboxs and virus ridden operating systems. Something has to be wrong with it, the old addage "if it sounds too good to be true it generally is" is the sub note to the microsoft OS mantra, "Faster, more reliable, more secure, more stable"

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