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Microsoft demonstrates external HD DVD drive for Xbox 360

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 08 Aug 2006 20:58 User comments (43)

Microsoft demonstrates external HD DVD drive for Xbox 360 Microsoft has demonstrated the external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 console to attendees at the DVD Forum in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Microsoft's senior program manager, Kevin Collins, remained silent about possible prices for the device but he did state that it would be among the least expensive HD DVD players to reach the market.
"All the audio and video processing is done inside the Xbox," Collins stated. He said that research is indicating that the majority of Xbox 360 owners already own an HDTV and that the drive will provide them with all the other required equipment to watch HD DVD movies. "This gives consumers choice and keeps their cost down," he added.

The picture quality produced by the combination of the Xbox 360 and the external drive has been deemed equal to that of most players shown at the event. Sony will launch its PlayStation 3 console worldwide in November. It will include an internal Blu-Ray drive used for both games and movies. Microsoft has insisted it will keep the Xbox 360's HD DVD drive as an external device to "give consumers the choice".

No release dates for the device were given but it is widely expected that Microsoft will have it ready in time for Christmas.


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43 user comments

19.8.2006 0:06

november gamestop is already taking orders here in the us for the november release

29.8.2006 0:36

Mmmm, me thinks i may pick one of these up. but is there any point if you havent got a HDTV yet. ive got just a flat screen widescreen TV, any chance the picture quality will be any better. or is the differnce negligible

39.8.2006 3:47

$300 atleast, if they price it any less they'll be taking a bigger hit than $ony. Now the question becomes, will all Xbox users be forced to upgrade or will this remain optional for some time? And then will they redo the system as one integrated unit, driving the cost of the old units down? I have a Sega CD feeling about this...

49.8.2006 4:16

The current crop of HD-DVD players and Bluray players are basicaly PC computers that include the PC type CPU,Ram,GPU and controller chips for the drives.They are expensive because of the processing power needed to decode High Definition. The 360 will do all the processing.The external HD drive is just that...a drive.That's why its going to be relatively cheap.End of...

59.8.2006 4:19

Cheap no way that drive will be no less than 250.00 U.S. dollars.

69.8.2006 5:50

Last I heard the rumor was the price would be around $179. Like ChromeMud said, the reason most other players are so expensive is because they do all the decoding in the unit. Since the 360 is already handling that and you're just buying a drive the price is going to be considerably lower. There certainly is a way for the cost to be under $250. As for xhardc0re, there's no reason to believe a price under $300 would be a "bigger hit" as we don't have any specifics on what the drive actually costs them to make. That's PURE speculation on your part. Second, you're misunderstanding the point of the HD-DVD drive. It's never going to be a mandatory update forced on 360 owners. MS has stated the drive is to be meant purely for HD-DVD films, not for gaming. Very few games actually need the 9gigs of space as it is. Simply put there is no reason for an 360 owner to purchase this unless they intend on watching HD-DVD movies. It's not going to be forced on anyone. And damo_red, without an HDTV you won't notice any difference. If I understand the specs correctly you wouldn't even be able to play the video. Though MS hasn't announced how they'll deal with the issue of the HDMI cable (probably bundled in with the drive). HD-DVD has a copy protection requirement that all HD-DVD players use only HDMI for output. The reason being that other outputs are too easy to copy. AFAIK standard def TVs do not have HDMI inputs so you wouldn't be able to use it at all.

79.8.2006 6:17

he will be able to see the picture but it will be only just better than a normal dvd anyway so there's no point. go for a high def tv then re-think.

YOU win some, YOU lose some, either way I WIN

89.8.2006 6:37

jab1981, good points, although one is slightly flawed. HDMI will not be required for playback of HD movies until at least 2010-2011 if at all. There was a lot about this 2-3 months ago. Either way the drive will plug into the 360 and not directly into the TV so the HDMI DRM could be "bypassed" in the 360 before the video signal is sent via the component out.

99.8.2006 6:38

Why does it matter if we can only watch movies on it? The bluray in the ps3 will be a game format meaning huge games will fit on the br disc not to mention high def cut scenes.Who the hell would want an add-on anyways I would just buy a stand alone if I was going to do that.It will NOT be cheap.

pc games with gamepad support by tycobb.

109.8.2006 8:47

I would prefer an addon myself, I personaly have not seen any real movement with HD-DVD or Blue-ray formats. Blue-ray was on the burner for how long? HD-DVD just randomly came out of nowhere and all of a sudden blue-ray is in the game. I think both formats have potential.. but I'm just not sure they will get there before the next-next gen consoles are released.

119.8.2006 10:18

Add-on is always going to be better in this situation just for the fact that you have a choice( jus like it says above and like i've been saying forever). And yes, not many games made now need more than 9 gigs of space and they still look gorgeous. Oh yeah, sounds like some these people forgot about Sony's showing at E3 which leads me to believe despite anything they might say, PS3 is not coming out this Christmas or this year period.

129.8.2006 11:11

I have a 360 but no HDTV and doubt I will be getting one anytime soon. so therefor i could care less about HD-DVD or sony's crappy bluray. I do however wish they would reconsider making games to play on it considering dvd's are inadequte for storage space

139.8.2006 12:00

I say it will run 99-150 of the almighty US dollar...they want people to buy there ad-on..not go out and buy someone elses stand alone.

149.8.2006 12:39

Ok, Flakmnky......DVD's are not inadequate at all. Most games will not even eclipse the 9gig mark...and if they do just throw in another DVD to the mix, 18 gigs right there. Tycobb....HiDef cutscenes? Why wouldn't they be able to have HiDef cutscenes in a game? It's all data and since the HD content will be encoded into the game itself you don't need the player. Wow

159.8.2006 14:24

@jab1981 (Newbie) Well i shouldn't be surprised of your comment re: the $ on this. However, do you UNDERSTAND that even @800 retail those Blu-ray players still cost a $**tload to make? If M$ sold this for >$200 they would be taking approx $200-$300 hit. That is lunacy. Unnecessary effort to pull down $ony's PS3. but then again, if there's a way to scr*w over M$ i'm all for it :) :) :) Again, making an HD-DVD player & losing money for the purpose of one upping the competition is gaey. M$ won't be so stupid. Expect this to cost alteast $300. Ulitimately Blu-ray has more Hollywood player$$$ on board then HD-DVD. See HD-DVD become the Betamax of the dvd scene.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Aug 2006 @ 14:25

169.8.2006 15:15

Upside Cheaper launch and console price Downside The abilty to get 3rd tear devs to make HD DVD games upside if it goes well or HD DVD wins they can always throw it in the consoles 2 or so years down the line without effecting price.

179.8.2006 15:18

BTW the diffreance in HDTV and no HDTV is about 30-40% you do notice it but not enough for you wet your pants. I'd like to get a new TV 19-25inch with HDTY for under 200 mabye WALYWORLD WILL HAVE SOEMTHIGN I THE NEXT FEW YARS. dam caps ><

189.8.2006 17:35

Ok, Flakmnky......DVD's are not inadequate at all. Most games will not even eclipse the 9gig mark...and if they do just throw in another DVD to the mix, 18 gigs right there.
God Of War and Grand Turismo 4 are over 5-7 gig and they are CURRENT gen games( and there are more), by the time the xoboxes hardware is fully utilised theres going to be a need for 3 disc games. Can you imagine a 3 disc free roam game? like say GTA 5 or 6 comes out and its over 9 gig will you be prepared to change disc everytime you cross over to a new island?

1910.8.2006 6:38

Andrew691, I see your point with free roam games, however my point was for "most" games. "Most" games are not free roaming and are very linear in play, which would allow to easily be switched out. As far as free roamers go, who knows, maybe with the more powerful system they can compress files or maybe even have more effecient code. I just remember playing Final Fantasy VII on playstation, that was 3 or 4 discs, and I didn't have a problem switching discs at all. I guess the gaming world is getting so lazy that getting off the couch has now become a major concern.

2010.8.2006 7:19

@psyantist Before you "wow" at me get your facts strait. They get bigger in file size with every console generation.With ps1 they were on cd's which held 700mb and that was lot for then so when dvd's came out it seemed like over kill but now games are much bigger.The games will get bigger trust me. This happens with every next gen release. High def cutscenes are impossible with regular dvd just like high def movies are impossible with dvd.They compress the textures on dvd.The dvd game is in "higher" res but the textures are low resolution textures.Get it? The typical video resolution for an NTSC disc is 720 × 480, while a PAL disc is 720 × 576. The specifications for video files on a DVD can be any of the following: * Up to 9.8 Mbit/s (9800 kbit/s) MPEG-2 video * Up to 1.856 Mbit/s (1856 kbit/s) MPEG-1 video * PAL: 720 × 576 pixels MPEG-2 (Called full D1) 704 × 576 pixels MPEG-2 352 × 576 pixels MPEG-2 (Called Half-D1, same as the China Video Disc standard) 352 × 288 pixels MPEG-2 352 × 288 pixels MPEG-1 (Same as the VCD Standard) * NTSC: 720 × 480 pixels MPEG-2 (Called full D1) 704 × 480 pixels MPEG-2 352 × 480 pixels MPEG-2 (Called Half-D1, same as the China Video Disc standard) 352 × 240 pixels MPEG-2 352 × 240 pixels MPEG-1 (Same as the VCD Standard) All MPEG video must be 25 frames per second on PAL DVDs. On NTSC DVDs MPEG-2 video can be either 29.97 frames per second or 23.976 frames per second, (with the player repeating frames via 3:2 pulldown to achieve NTSC's standard 29.97 frames per second) while MPEG-1 video can only be 29.97 frames per second. Interlacing is only supported for MPEG-2 video on both PAL and NTSC DVDs. 16:9 anamorphic video is only supported at 720x576/480. Note that some DVD-hardware or software players may play discs whose MPEG files do not conform to the above standards- however these discs are non-compliant with the specification for DVD-video. Some hardware players will now play DVD-ROMs or CD-ROMs containing MPEG video files - these are 'unauthored' and lack the file structure that defines a DVD-video. (These files contain extra information, such as the number of video tracks, chapters and links to extra features, which DVD players use to navigate a DVD-video). This is not the case with bluray as bluray can output 1080p natively at 60fps.That's great for games.They can also be encoded with high def formats like VC-1 to take advantage of the high def format.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Aug 2006 @ 7:34

pc games with gamepad support by tycobb.

2110.8.2006 11:34

tycobb is right on the frame rate & other stuff with PAL (Europe) & NTSC (Japan/U.S./other) Question is, when will doing 60FPS games be a smart idea? Until enough HD televisions are sold to justify it, there's no reason to even include that mode. That is what takes up all the space on games these days. Not the programming. But the media. Audio/Video is probably 80% of a games size. Just like the internet, text is low bandwith but audio & video really +++ the bandwith.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Aug 2006 @ 11:35

2210.8.2006 14:08

@xhardcore we're agreed for the most part there. This 60fps( for games NOT movies) can be done anytime whether or not you have an HDTV.However you are correct people without hdtv's will not benefit from bluray or hd-dvd(with the exception of longer games).Therefore the only people which should buy this HD-DVD add-on should be people with hdtv's(common sense). Be assured games have gotten much bigger as time goes on.Take gta san andreas for instance.Hey tombraider legend is 7.3 gb.It's not HDTV it's the 3d modeling software they use to make the charactors.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Aug 2006 @ 14:17

pc games with gamepad support by tycobb.

2310.8.2006 14:21

xbox core 299.00 xbox premium 399.00 xbox bundle 599.00 add HD-DVD drive 150.00 to 250.00 it will be more than the ps3 if you want to do everything and yes i know the HD-DVD vs bluray but if i could get a game system and a blur ray player built into one im saving money ........ xbox you will need 2 disc drives to do every thing and a monthly online fee ..ps3 1 drive to do everything so far no online fee i for one dont do the online thing so that is no a selling point and down the road i could always buy a stand alone hd-dvd/blue ray movie player or when the replacemnt drives come out for the ps3 they might support HD-DVD and bluray

2410.8.2006 16:47

lfzombie Ya but the PS3 dosent mess with your head with the low end high end crap the main diff in the 360 low/high end is wired pads and a HD. I'll admit the PS3 has more thought putinto it hardware wise but al in all its not much better than the 360.

2510.8.2006 21:51

So, if the HD-DVD is only to play movies, Xbox360 owners are still stuck with DVD-9. That's really limiting developers, unless the HDD would be used to d/l additional content and push the limit from ~9GB to about 12 or more. That's still hours of time d/l on Broadband. There is no way I'd get a 360 unless the HD-DVD also played games. Can you say...vaporware?

if you're a college student, do NOT settle with the RIAA

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2611.8.2006 6:28

i probaly wont get one either unless they play games. but i might get one if their under 100 pounds otherwise it is a rip off and is pointless gettign one.

2711.8.2006 7:35

basicly it can't cost that much...$100 tops. They have to compete with sony, which already has blueray built in. So like the guy mentioned earlier..after you buy all the 360 crap then add on the external hd looking at about the same price as a ps3. Now why would M$ want to come out with some expensive piece of hardware when people have the option to just go spend there money on a stand alone HD-DVD player..which they won't because if you could buy the external hd player for $100 dollars then M$ wins.

2811.8.2006 8:01

yeah thats sounds abou right to me :P so about 60 pounds for uk people

2911.8.2006 9:45

xhardc0re Look at the sega CD sicne it was a add on it didnt get alot of devs,altho if the HD-DVD add on got as many games as the sega CD it would be a mircle,the main problem in my eyes with the HD DVD add on it well tis a add on and I dout MS will try and ramp up dev support for it becuse they are cheap..and they didnt work on deving the 360 right....bascily unless MS stunk HD game abilty in the add on ,new format games on the 360 is a near imposabilty. the PS3 is going infor the long haul and figured we can lose sales for the frist 2 years MS will have to have a new system out in 3 or 4 years jsut to catch up with a mature PS3. Much like me preordering FF12 I just dont have the heart to waste 50+ on a game that is simpely not worth it. So the only new console I can even think about pre orderign is the Wii ,even then I have 2 Ds's and 1 DS game to get,comp hardware 200-300,and mabye 200 more worth of odds and ends by december. I need to update my HDs to raid sata,2 160GBs will be prefect in my eyes,altho 2 100GBs will be great to *L*

3011.8.2006 11:15

@xhardcore Yep to the best of my knowledge it will only play movies.That's the big thing the ps3 has over the HD-DVD add-on.I have a 360 and would love bigger games like ps3 will have unfortunately it's not gonna happen :(

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Aug 2006 @ 11:15

pc games with gamepad support by tycobb.

3111.8.2006 11:31

will not even eclipse the 9gig mark.
That is not true they said that the PS2 games would never be as big as 1Gig they have pass that so far games grow everyday at a slow pace but im willing to bet you in 2 year there will be games for PS3 that would reach 20gigs. 1080p sets on the market Samsung HL-R5078W 50" Widescreen 1080p DLP HDTV by Samsung Westinghouse LVM-42W2 42" 1080p LCD HDTV by WESTINGHOUSE Westinghouse 37" 1080p LCD Monitor - LVM37W3 by WESTINGHOUSE Samsung HL-R6168W 61" 1080p Widescreen HDTV with Digital Cable Ready Tuner by Samsung Samsung HL-S5087W 50" 1080p DLP HDTV by Samsung Sharp LC-57D90U 57" AQUOS high-definition 1080p LCD TV by Sharp Toshiba 56HM195 56" Theaterwide Integrated (1080p) HD DLP Rear Projection TV Samsung HL-S5687W 56" 1080p DLP HDTV by Samsung Sharp AQUOS 37" HDTV - LC-37D90U by Sharp Zenith Z37LZ5D 37" LCD HDTV by Zenith Sony VPL-VW100 1080p HDTV-ready SXRD front projector by Sony 40" 1080p LCD TV by JVC Company of America Samsung HL-S6187W 61" 1080p DLP HDTV by Samsung Mitsubishi WD-57731 57" 1080p DLP HDTV Mitsubishi WD-57731 57" 1080p DLP HDTV by MITSUBISHI Sony KDS-60A2000 Grand WEGA 60" SXRD 1080p Rear Projection HDTV by Sony Mitsubishi WD-62627 62" 1080p DLP HDTV by MITSUBISHI Westinghouse LVM-47w1 47" HDTV-ready 1080p LCD monitor by WESTINGHOUSE Mitsubishi WD-52627 52" 1080p DLP HDTV by MITSUBISHI Samsung HLS6188W 61IN 1080p DLP - Select by Samsung Mitsubishi WD-62628 62" 1080p DLP HDTV by MITSUBISHI Mitsubishi WD-73727 73" 1080p DLP HDTV by MITSUBISHI Samsung HLS5088W 50 In 1080p DLP - Selec by Samsung Toshiba 72HM195 72" Diagonal Theaterwide Integrated (1080p) HD DLP Rear Projection TV by Toshiba Toshiba 62HM195 62" Diagonal Theaterwide Integrated (1080p) HD DLP Rear Projection TV Samsung HLS5688W 56 In 1080p DLP - Selec by Samsung Samsung LN-S4095D 40" 1080p LCD HDTV Samsung LN-S4095D 40" 1080p LCD HDTV by Samsung Samsung 71" Widescreen HDTV with 1080p Resolution - HLS7178W by Samsung Sony KDS-50A2000 Grand WEGA 50" SXRD 1080p Rear Projection HDTV by Sony Mitsubishi LT-46131 46" 1080p LCD HDTV by MITSUBISHI Toshiba 62MX195 62" Cinema Series® High-Definition 1080p rear-projection DLP TV by Cinema Series Mitsubishi WD52628 52 inch 1080p DLP HDTV by Mitsubishi Toshiba 62HM196 62" 1080p DLP HDTV by Toshiba Mitsubishi WD-52631 52" 1080p DLP HDTV by MITSUBISHI SAMSUNG LT-P468W 46" Widescreen LCD TV HDTV Monitor with Multimedia Input by Samsung Westinghouse LVM-37w3 37" HDTV-ready 1080p LCD monitor by WESTINGHOUSE Ixos XHT458-200Pro Hdmi To Hdmi 1080p 2 M/6.5 Ft by Ixos Mitsubishi LT-37131 37" 1080p LCD HDTV by MITSUBISHI Hitachi Ultravision 55HDS52 55" Plasma HDTV by Hitachi JVC HD70FN97 70" 1080p HDILA Rear Projection TV by JVC
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Aug 2006 @ 11:55

3211.8.2006 13:54

all this is true think about this m$ has been late to everything and always 25% right as to what the public wants sony has a better grip as to what the public wants now and will need later it all boils down to one key factor how much will you get for the money you spend M$ will do nothing but supply you with hardware upgrades for the 360 and you will forced to upgrade because all the games will need it to play(sony learned that with the hard drive for the ps2)i think sony will win this match because of instance market of people that will want to play Blu-ray movies on a player that is cheaper that a stand alone player and you get to play games too

3311.8.2006 14:06

From Sony's product manager for data storage, told that due to copy protection issues and lagging software development, the drive will only play user-recorded high-definition content from a digital camcorder, and not commercial movies released under the BD format." Yup, Blu-ray is the way to go for sure. I sure would like to pony up a bunch of money for a system that doesn't even have proven media storage. At least with the ad-on HD DVD you aren't going to be left out in the cold either way.

3411.8.2006 14:13

psyantist I dout it Unless sony thinks it will get away wth a non BR movie playing BR palyer...Altho sony is knowen to pull shit...but then so is MS LOL

3511.8.2006 14:43

@psyantist: What in the f**k!?!?!? Is $ony serious? Does that mean it won't play BD movies? Commercial movies (like Spiderman & The Da Vinci Code, both of which $ony make)???? If that's true, they are CRAZY. I'd never buy a PS3 in that case. I'll stick with the Wii & wait till $ony gets their arse clocked by Nintendo.

3611.8.2006 15:00

xhardc0re truth is stranger than fiction but in this case I dout,mostly becsue its the main selign point to the PS3 and well the games but..*L*

3712.8.2006 6:14

psyantist Can we please have a link to this info you gave us because i just check their site and i didnt see anything on there about this info you gave us on the PS3 Blu-ray drive.

3812.8.2006 7:11

I think psyantist was referring to a BluRay PC drive not the PS3 drive:,39029405,40091720,00.htm Notice that the statement came from a Sony rep in Australia. They may not have HDCP compliant hardware yet so this does not apply here in the US. We already have HDCP-enabled video cards from Nvidia and ATI. We expect the PS3 to play BluRay movies. Same thing with PC's with BluRay drives and HDCP enabled hardware.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Aug 2006 @ 7:13

3912.8.2006 7:46

he first Blu-ray (BD) disc drive for desktop PCs is here, but be warned -- it won't play commercial BD movies. Sony officially announced its BWU-100A product at its "Experience More 2006" event in Sydney yesterday, all the while acknowledging that there's significant room for improvement before the product is viable for integration into media centre PCs. Vincent Bautista, Sony's product manager for data storage, told that due to copy protection issues and lagging software development, the drive will only play user-recorded high-definition content from a digital camcorder, and not commercial movies released under the BD format. Bautista says that one of two reasons for this is the fact that commercial content is encrypted with High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), which can only be decrypted using a HDCP-compliant graphics card that offers DVI or HDMI connections. Since there are currently no PCs for sale offering graphics chips that support HDCP, this isn't yet possible. The second reason, according to Bautista, is that BD playback software that can decrypt HDCP isn't "released as a saleable item yet". Today, the only HDCP-supporting BD playback application is the OEM version of Intervideo WinDVD BD that's bundled with Sony's VAIO VGN-AR18GP notebook. The AR18GP also offers an HDCP-compliant HDMI connector, which makes it capable of playing commercial movies without issue. Bautista is optimistic that both issues will be resolved "soon", and says that despite not being able to play commercial content, the drive is still useful as a "storage device", particularly for those looking to create and distribute their own high-definition home movies on BD-R and BD-RE discs. The Sony BWU100A has a write speed of 2x and will be available this month for AU$1399.

4021.8.2006 9:50

Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on will cost $200 Posted by Reverend on 17 Aug 2006 - 19:59 GMT | 0 comments Add a comment The external HD-DVD drive add-on for Microsoft's Xbox 360 games console will sell for $200, according to media reports. Taiwanese tech paper DigiTimes reported that the external USB drive will be available to buy before Christmas this year. According to the paper, Taiwanese games developers and gaming service providers consider an external drive a better approach than Sony's plans to integrate a Blu-ray drive into the forthcoming PlayStation 3. An external model offers greater flexibility, and the inclusion of an internal drive in the PlayStation 3 could reduce its competitiveness in the market despite Blu-ray's greater disc capacity. Confirming the Xbox 360 HD-DVD USB drive at the E3 gaming conference in May, Albert Penello, director of global marketing for the Xbox 360, said that the add-on "carries with it an extension of the HD era that Xbox 360 offers, and provides the most visually stunning movie watching experience available".

4121.8.2006 10:17

lfzombie I guesss THEY have not learn that a add on system dose not work it has never worked well look at sega for christ sake devs arent willing to amke a game for add on for a non godly selling syste,with that said the only "flexibility" the add on gives is if one format DIES.......and with the advent of the dual drive..its more likely that both formats with live akin to + and -.

4221.8.2006 10:27

m$ attempt to play it safe is a bs move to sell more hardware

4321.8.2006 17:21

lfzombie pretty much but then how much more life would it get if it had HD built in and digi HD out that could have a HDCP adaptor? 1 or 3 years and thats pushing it.....

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