Using Microsoft Xbox 360 As An HD-DVD Player
With the convergence in the market of HDTV, HD DVD Players and
HD Game Consoles, it is inevitable that one would look to how to
use one device for all functions. In this review we look at using
the Microsoft Xbox 360 as an HD-DVD Player.
Picture comparisons were made by CNET using a Toshiba HD-A1, using
video output at 1080i. to HDTVs.
Design - stand the drive upright or lay it down
Operability - Easy set up. Although Microsoft
does not officially support PC connectivity, you can hack the player
to work with a PC, using a copy of DVD playback software, such as
WinDVD8, that supports playback of HD DVD discs.
Connectivity - connects to other Xbox 360 models
via USB cable. Package includes an Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.
Two rear USB ports on HD DVD Player. Dedicated snap on mount for
the Wi-Fi adapter. Output HD DVD in 1080p format using either a
VGA or HDMI connection, while the component video output is limited
to 1080i--just as on other HD DVD players.
Games - Peter Jackson's King Kong HD DVD exclusive
title comes included.
Image - Picture compares well with Toshiba HD-A1,
using video output at 1080i. to HDTVs. In standard definition, using
the HD DVD add-on driver and the HDMI output at 1080p it performed
nearly identically to the built-in DVD player on the Xbox 360. The
HD DVD player struggled in the jaggies tests and also failed the
2:3 pulldown test, never kicking into film mode and moire being
present in the stands.
Program material showed better performance, better than most. PlayStation
3 still has a slight edge.
Design - Outboard HD player design gives unconnected
feeling compared to fully integrated PS3
Operability - No HD disc player - need to purchase
an external Xbox 360 HD DVD Player. Need extra power supply - the
drive has its own external power supply. The Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on
is limited in high-resolution audio formats. It cannot output the
full resolution of Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD
Connectivity - Only one integrated rear USB Port.
Games/Film Image - Able to display video commentary
in a picture-in-picture window and eve download content from the
Web. Blu-ray won't be adding this feature until later.
Overall, 1080p performance over HDMI was pretty good, in spite
of the 1080i deinterlacing flaws, with significantly less artifacts
than the Toshiba HD-A20 in 1080p mode
Load times on the HD DVD add-on drive were comparable with standalone
players. [ 30 seconds to load, with movie playing in about 50 seconds].
Comparable to the newest Toshiba players.
VGA output was good, with solid lines in 1080i mode via component-video
; colors were well-saturated.
Even with some soundtrack drawbacks, the Xbox 360 HD DVD player
worked well as a HD DVD movie player. Adding $200 to the cost of
the Xbox 360 takes the total cost of the console to the same price
as the PlayStation 3 and its integrated Blu-ray drive.
The Xbox 360 Video Marketplace offers downloadable high definition
movie "rentals", obviating the need for an add-on disc
The PS3 is going to be the better overall solution from a design
standpoint with Dolby TrueHD playback.
Remember, to get the true video quality benefits of HD DVD, you'll
need an HDTV with your Xbox 360 connected to it via component video,
the optional VGA adapter, or HDMI [newer models].
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