Xbox 360 HD-DVD Player: For Consoles and PCs
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Xbox 360 HD-DVD Player
This week Microsoft officially released the highly anticipated external HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 console. You might be wondering why we are looking at an external console accessory on PC Perspective, but I can assure you the information that you'll find in here is going to be just as impressive to PC users as it is to Xbox 360 owners.
Since MS first announced their intentions to release an HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360, and at a $200 price point, there has been a lot of expectation from the community for it. At that price level, it marks the cheapest high definition next-generation DVD option on the market; the Toshiba set top boxes are going to run you about $500 and the Blu-Ray players are going for $1000 or so. And good luck finding a PS3 to use as a Blu-Ray device...
What you get for $199
So what can you expect to get when you head to your local gaming store to pick up one of these Xbox 306 HD-DVD drives? Surprisingly, you get a pretty good package for a component that is already priced low (comparitively).
The boxing for the drive gives away some of the surprise, including mention of a free copy of King Kong on HD-DVD, though this is probably a limited time offer for the initial run of drives.
Inside the box you'll find a user's manual, a quick setup guide, a firmware update disc for your Xbox 360 to use during initial setup and that free copy of King Kong in a retail packaged HD-DVD.
Also included is a remote for the Xbox 360, so even if you already have the premium system that came with a remote, you'll get this updated one to go along with the HD-DVD drive and its new features.
The drive itself is actually pretty big, as you'll see when we compare it to the size of the Xbox 360 itself. As far as included cables, you get a power cable with an external power block and a small USB cable for connection to the system. Yes, that's right, all of the data transfer between the HD-DVD drive and the system is being run over a single USB 2.0 cable.
A closer look at the front of the drive, in its stand-up position which is acceptable for use, shows us that Microsoft has stayed true to the design of the Xbox 360 as the finish and drive bay are basically identical to that of the console itself.
Laying down, the drive has an appearance of being the Xbox 360, just shrunk. Maybe a new revision of the system will be out in the future that is this size or smaller, ala the last revision of the Playstation 2?
On the rear of the HD-DVD drive, you'll see the power connection on the left, the small USB connection (used for connecting the drive to the system) and two additional USB ports that you can use just as you would a USB hub -- connecting additional devices to your system.
Here is the HD-DVD drive sitting on top of my Xbox 360 in my personal gaming setup at home. You can see that the drive is still somewhat large, in fact bigger than the new Nintendo Wii system. It does sit between the ventilation holes on the Xbox 360 console and won't cause any overheating problems that I can see.
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