Microsoft announced its HD DVD Player during the CES of 2006. The device was to directly compete with Sony’s Blu-ray capable PlayStation 3. Sony had to postpone its PlayStation 3 multiple times because of development and production delays regarding its build in Blu-ray drive. Microsoft’s and Toshiba’s HD DVD Player was also not ready to be implemented in the Xbox 360 at launch. But other than Sony, Microsoft learned from its competitor’s experience and therefore decided to introduce its console with a regular DVD player. It thereby got a head start over Sony. The decision to introduce the 360 without the HD DVD player also reduced the introduction price of the console, which was a unique selling point compared to Sony’s much more expensive console.
The gamble paid off. The Xbox 360 with its normal DVD player sold much faster than its predecessor and when the PlayStation 3 was finally introduced Sony (at first) had a hard time to catch up. Besides the price, the majority of the players did not jet own an HD capable TV, making the Blu-ray drive not for every one a worthwhile buy.
The HD DVD player in use
The HD DVD player is connected by a mini-usb connection. All the audio and video processing and output come from Xbox 360 itself. The unit can also function as a USB hub, with two ports on the rear. It also includes a clip for attaching the wireless network adapter to it, much like what Xbox 360 consoles of the time had. The device also has an integrated 256 MB memory unit which is used for storage of HD DVD data and is accessible to the user for saving other data such as saved games.
The drive plays standard DVD’s in addition to HD DVD titles; however, it does not read Xbox or Xbox 360 game discs, Audio CD’s or mixed media CD’s. No Xbox 360 with a built-in HD DVD drive was ever released.
The HD DVD Player was discontinued by Microsoft in 2008 just after Toshiba announced that it stopped selling its HD DVD players and thereby admitted that they lost the format war with Sony and Philips Blu-ray.
|HD DVD Player