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Get Ready For Divx On Xbox 378

Posted by timothy
from the 200-dollars dept.
donnacha points to this ZDNet story which says that hackers have built a Divx player for Xbox. "As previously discussed ( Divx - The Real Xbox Killer App), the ability to play reasonably high-quality films, speedily burned onto inexpensive CDR media, is going to make (modded) Xbox ownership a far more attractive proposition. This will take Divx beyond the desktops of those with broadband connections and into the living rooms of those who don't own computers. Expect to see a resurgence of Xbox sales and much confusion in MS as to whether or not this is a good thing."
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Get Ready For Divx On Xbox

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  • Over hyped (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PyroMosh (287149) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @08:39AM (#3685245) Homepage
    The person who submited the article is seriously overestimating the importance of this. People without computers don't hack their x-boxen. Trust me on this one. I doubt anyone is going to go out and buy an x-box just because of this. But I do wonder weather MS will think this a Good Thing(TM) or not.
    • Re:Over hyped (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Slashamatic (553801)
      There are plenty of other consoles that have been mod-chipped, and many of those are in the hands of non-techies. Quite often it is just so that they can get over regional encodings on games.

      Maybe if DIVX is all that the mod will give the non-techie types, then it will fail.

    • Re:Over hyped (Score:2, Interesting)

      by scott1853 (194884)
      I don't think MS will like this. Remember they lose money on every box sold, so if you're not buying games, you're an evil pirate.
    • Re:Over hyped (Score:5, Interesting)

      by donnacha (161610) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @09:06AM (#3685411) Homepage


      The person who submited the article is seriously overestimating the importance of this.

      Um... that would be me. I don't generally have a tendency for hype but, in this case, all the pieces that are needed to make Xbox a powerful proposition are falling into place. It's important to stress that I'm not pro or anti MS, I'm just trying to predict how things will be in about a year or so.

      People without computers don't hack their x-boxen. Trust me on this one. I doubt anyone is going to go out and buy an x-box just because of this.

      That's not how it will work. There's already a burgeoning community [worldxbox.co.uk] of people willing to either mod people's existing Xboxes or sell pre-modded machines. The wholesale prices of these chips appear to go as low as $30 and they are becoming increasing easy to fit, with 12 wires options now replacing the original 29 wire options.

      I would suggest that it will become quite common for people to offer modding for about $90 dollars or pre-modded machines for about $270. In somes cases the prices will be even lower than this as budding entrepaneurs, just like MS themselves, will subsidize the initial costs in the interests of developing a substantial customer-base in their own community to whom they can sell films and games on an ongoing basis.

      In terms of both skill and capital, the bars to entry are extremely low and I expect that everyone will soon have a "friend-of-a-friend" who will offer these services.

      • ok micrsoft are not complete fools

        first of all the bios will be updated and so I am guessing will be the OS to support Windows Media

        MS has signed a bunch of DVD people to the wmp format and will at some point start to release films now for a studio whats better
        DVD
        o expensive media due to the newness
        o lots of region independant players (so they cant really relase when they want)
        o cracked so that people can copy them

        WM format
        o can use a CDROM and boy are those cheap
        o Control over regions
        o Control over Copying
        o Control
        o Total Control

        yes if it starts up then soon their will be a crack for wmp formats (search theregister.co.uk for version7)

        now the mods will have to be invented for the Xbox as sson as then change the bios

        thank god MS didnt use a decent arch and put the whole thing on a chip so we can Bus snoop (-;

        regards

        john jones

      • In somes cases the prices will be even lower than this as budding entrepaneurs, just like MS themselves, will subsidize the initial costs in the interests of developing a substantial customer-base in their own community to whom they can sell films and games on an ongoing basis.

        This is my beef: you're talking about blatant, illegal (duh) piracy of games and movies. "Budding enterpaneurs" in this field are underground morons who think that they won't get caught, but always do; and giant asian piracy cartels, who also generaly get caught with a shipment of 37,000 units before they hit the streets.

        That is a lot different that people who "preview" movies on KaZaa and then go see them. This is "pay $4 to me, d00d, and get SpiderMan instead of/before the DVD."

        • This is my beef: you're talking about blatant, illegal (duh) piracy of games and movies.

          We're not condoning it, we're predicting how the consumer technology and content landscape is going to change over the next couple of years. We're also trying to guess what Microsoft's long-term strategy is because it sure as Hell isn't what they say it is.

          People break laws, all sorts of laws, all over the world, throughout the ages. Sometimes that's a bad thing, sometimes it's a good thing. But predicting the future based on the assumption that people will stick to the rules is not a good idea.

          • This is my beef: you're talking about blatant, illegal (duh) piracy of games and movies.

            We're not condoning it, we're predicting how the consumer technology and content landscape is going to change over the next couple of years. We're also trying to guess what Microsoft's long-term strategy is because it sure as Hell isn't what they say it is.
            This is where lose me in the whole aregument. For two reasons:

            1- As this guy pointed out, M$ is not about to say that piracy is ok on their system. If they allow a system like DivX to go on their system, they are condoning it, and the MPAA and other probably won't be to happy about that
            2- (if I am reading between the lines right) You are making the assumption that anyone with high speed access is going to go out and get an XBox so they can DL movies in DivX format and watch them, and for me - and I would venture to say MOST people - that isn't the case. IMHO, the only people who this would be the case are the current movie pirates now. I don't see something like this making mainstream and getting Joe P Consumer to go out and buy an XBox to get into movie piracy.

            I guess that I am agreeing with Geeks In Training (and the AC who called this Overhyped) - I just don't see how something niche like this will really make a HUGE dent on 2 Million + units sold. Plus will this make a huge impact on sales of XBoxes compared to PS2s? Again, because this is a niche thing, I don't see that.

            RonB
          • But predicting the future based on the assumption that people will stick to the rules is not a good idea.

            Also promoting a culture of anarchy and lawlessness by saying "it happens, so we should just allow it to continue" is likewise not a good idea.

            I have visited the webpages listed in your profile, and read your other posts. You seem to be intelligent and not a troll; and I appreciate you replying to these posts thoughtfully. I just don't agree that because you can hack, we should "ebrace" the idea of creating a black market and series of gray markets to fulfill a niche based on the wants of a few selfish people, based on the notion that it's "what the masses have been waiting for."

            If I owned an XBox, I'd probably play games on it. If I wanted to hack it into a Linux/Divx/MP3 box, I'd wait until I can buy one for $30 at a garage sale. Think about it, if I had $300 to blow on a modified Xbox and then blow bucks on pirated, poor quality movies, why wouldn't I just go buy a $399 e-machines PC with lots more capabilities, and a licensed copy of WinXP? Then I can watch DVDs that I rent for $4 (or buy), surf the web, play games, etc?

            I'm not just some fatcat poo-pooing the idea in favor of corporate interests... far from it. But XBox is NOT all that you think it is, and I'm seeing that more people seem to agree with my point of view than yours.

            On the other hand, I don't think my point of view is necessarily 100% right just because it's popular or more enlightened than yours; I just think I'm coming from a point of view more consistent with reality than your ideological assertion of pirates on every corner. The IP revolution will come, but I've decded to largely spectate by sitting back and donating money to the EFF, instead of speculating on and promoting ways to screw the media cartels.

      • Re:Over hyped (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Nindalf (526257) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @09:50AM (#3685687)
        The ease of the mod is only one half of its potential appeal. The other half is value.

        The ability to play Divx on CD-R is just not a big deal. Sure, you'll probably see a few hundred or thousand video-trading geeks setting this up, so they can watch their stuff on the TV. There might even be a few who would buy an Xbox specifically to watch movies on CD. But you're just not going to see this make the difference to hundreds or millions of people.

        My reaction on hearing about this was, "So what?" And I even know what Divx is, which is more than you can say for the general population.

        Ordinary people don't think, "Hey, I'll go out and spend $300 so I can watch piles of the second-rate bootleg videos you can buy from that creepy kid who never goes outside!"

        You should learn the difference between, "Hey, this is exactly what I was looking for!" and "Wow! Everyone is going to want one of these!"

        • You should learn the difference between, "Hey, this is exactly what I was looking for!" and "Wow! Everyone is going to want one of these!"

          Excellent distinction but, all the same, I really do think that from a price / utility / necessary skill point of view, this trend has all the elements necessary to cause a fundamental shift in content piracy, especially in the majority of the world where most people don't already own DVD players.

          Ordinary people don't think, "Hey, I'll go out and spend $300 so I can watch piles of the second-rate bootleg videos you can buy from that creepy kid who never goes outside!"

          Again, well put, but I think that if Creepy Kid offers them a modded Xbox for $250 and promises to supply them with films, games and 6-hour CDs of the lastest music, all at $3 a piece, most people are going to say, "Creepy Kid, you've got yourself a sale!".

          My reaction on hearing about this was, "So what?" And I even know what Divx is, which is more than you can say for the general population.

          The general population don't need to know what Divx is, all they'll know is that there local pirate, whether he be Creepy Kid or part of a large-scale operation, is pushing it as better quality than video. The pirates will do this because copying and distributing via CDR is a great deal cheaper, quicker and easier than video and far less expensive than blank DVDs.

          • Re:Over hyped (Score:4, Informative)

            by Wakko Warner (324) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @10:48AM (#3686128) Homepage Journal
            Excellent distinction but, all the same, I really do think that from a price / utility / necessary skill point of view, this trend has all the elements necessary to cause a fundamental shift in content piracy, especially in the majority of the world where most people don't already own DVD players.

            That's great, but you're very wrong. While there may be a huge online pirated-movie trade, there's absolutely no physical analog in the real world. I can't drive into the ghetto and pick up "Attack of the Clones" on DivX. (I can get it on VHS or, perhaps, even VCD.) I can't mail-order the latest movies, or even good old ones, on DivX (I can on DVD.)

            There's no market for this. There is nobody clamoring for something to play all their DivX movies on (those people already have computers.) Nobody needs this. Therefore, this is not a big deal.

            - A.P.
            - A.P.

          • Again, well put, but I think that if Creepy Kid offers them a modded Xbox for $250 and promises to supply them with films, games and 6-hour CDs of the lastest music, all at $3 a piece, most people are going to say, "Creepy Kid, you've got yourself a sale!".
            Priacy is never going to reach the mainstream they way you are predicting. The general populace will deal with Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, but won't even touch the situation you just described.

            Hell, I would go so far as to say that if any "Creepy Kids" tried to establish a system like this, he would end up in jail LONG before he could even sell 50 such kits. Most Joe P Consumers are law abiding citizens, and I would venture to say that at least 1 will alert the cops to a setup like this if he heard it. If he approached 300 people, maybe would sell 50 units, but end up in jail from 1 calling the cops, not good odds.

            RonB
      • He's right. There's no way that people are going to get excited about this -- for most people, renting a DVD is much simpler than getting ahold of a DivX CD. (Especially if they don't have a computer!!)

        Also, don't be surprised if this community of modders gets a big fat DMCA lawsuit. This is EXACTLY the kind of activity that the DMCA was created to make illegal. (It's a crappy law, for sure, but there it is...)
      • Your statement is over-hyped; It seems you haven't thought this through.

        1. Divx is a lossy format to begin with, The PS2 plays dvd's. If these people don't have computers to begin with where exactly do they pick up the divx's? Not only that but to watch a movie in low quality format? Not me, I don't even own a console but if I were to buy one I would of probably bought it primarily for the games and not for some cool extra.

        2. Who cares about the community? This isn't about them, when people go out to buy consoles most of these people are either Parents buying for their little kids or older adults buying to play. If I have a DVD player as I've said above and I don't have a computer how does the DiVX option help me in any substansial way? I could buy an Xbox plus seperate DVD Player and save money and get a better quality format. If I wanted to go the extra mile and turn pirate I'd just fucking copy dvd's. There are machines on the market that do that now as well as computers.

        3. Skill wise, I don't want to be bothered in opening a machine; you think people even open their computers? Skill wise FOR YOU it might be extremely low, not for 9 yr old bobby who doesn't give a shit about wires but about games and Xbox just doesn't have enough cool games; Infact I went to visit a friend and he was having a garage sale.. his little cousin is talking to me rambling at the mouth.. He says do you have a gaming system? I said no, but if I did I'd probably get a gamecube or something. He says well Xbox sucks cause all the games are like wannabes and I want a gamecube cause super smash bros is cool.. you should get one too so we can have a tournament.

        That says it all for me.

        So, think about the rest of the world and not just your community when you talk about the sales of a product going up based on some tiny detail that is supposed to revolutionize a product. This was the problem with the internet everyone hyped every tiny little thing that seemed so amazing in their own world but was practically useless to everyone else.

        DiVX on XboX you say? Who cares, I thought it was made for the cool games they were supposed to have?

    • "People without computers don't hack their x-boxen. Trust me on this one. I doubt anyone is going to go out and buy an x-box just because of this."

      But what about people that have:
      a) computers
      b) broadband
      c) technical smarts
      d) no DVD player for the home theatre (yet)

      Would you choose an X-Box at the new reduced price that could play DiVX you downloaded from the 'net or a regular DVD player with region controls and CSS?

      • Would you choose an X-Box at the new reduced price that could play DiVX you downloaded from the 'net or a regular DVD player with region controls and CSS?

        Considering you still need to buy an add-on for the XBox to play DVDs, the price is back over $200. For that price, you can get a region-free DVD player that plays VCDs, SVCDs, MP3 Disks, and has better audio & video out options than the XBox. (Like the Daewoo 5700, which costs $150)

        I seriously don't know anyone who would buy an XBox instead of a regular DVD player, when Xboxes don't offer as many features, or (IMHO) don't look nearly as nice as a standalone DVD player.
        • "Considering you still need to buy an add-on for the XBox to play DVDs, the price is back over $200. For that price, you can get a region-free DVD player that plays VCDs, SVCDs, MP3 Disks, and has better audio & video out options than the XBox. (Like the Daewoo 5700, which costs $150)"

          What about outside the united states? For example I live in Canada and all of these modded region free players, after importing, taxes, duty, currency conversion will cost CAD$700+ a piece. (Of course yout average cheap region-infested DVD player will cost less than CAD$250.) At that rate, the X-Box is more attractive.

    • Yeah, those people who don't own computers won't hack their Play Stations, right? OH! You mean that's already happened on a massive scale? Damn! (and don't tell me "it's not the same" because it is.)
    • Not to mention the fact that people without computers can't cut their own divx movies either. In fact not many people *with* computers would bother either, since it takes a bloody age to do from a dvd. The only alternative is to download them from somewhere via p2p which then requires a fast adsl link and takes a long time too, not to mention the question quality of whatever you're downloading.
  • Microsoft might be trying to dominate the console market, and at the same time, they're trying very hard to prevent hackers from running unlicensed software on it. This has probably stopped many a person from buying the Xbox, instead going for a PS2 because of its relative open-ness.

    Wouldn't it make sense for Microsoft to just open the box up a little more, thereby causing numbers of people to purchase it on hack factor? I could see that their numbers would increase, which couldn't be too bad. Yes, I realize that they're selling the hardware at a loss, but wouldn't this help their standing in the "Top 40 Charts" of video game consoles?

    just a thought...

  • by colmore (56499)
    somehow i doubt it, Tim.

    i don't think there are that many people who will be willing to crack open their X-Box just to play pirated movies, especially when VCD enabled DVD players cost about as much as an X-Box.

    Saying that an X-Box modchip is going to bring DivX to the masses is like saying the PS1 mod chip brought Japanese-only retail games to the masses. It was cool for a handful of enthusiasts, but it was never a very big thing.

    Aside from the hyperbole, this is pretty cool. I'm still happy with my Gamecube, though.
  • by NTSwerver (92128) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @08:48AM (#3685300) Journal

    ...XBox developers are going to be the first to move into Microsoft's new headquarters. [bbspot.com]
  • Maybe at $200, having a set-top Divx player would be worth it to some technophiles out there. And of course, every XBox sold is another $100 or so loss for Microsoft :)

    Personally, I'd rather spend $200 on a nice DVD player, or a cheap DVD/surround home theatre system.
    • (I hope I don't get flamed down for making Anti-MS statements. That's not what this is. This is just a clarification.)

      Remember that while MS may lose $100 on the sale of an XBox, that same XBox sitting on the shelf unsold would be a $300 (or greater) loss for MS as they would be shelling out the entire cost of the product and recouping nothing.

      In short, if you truely desire to hit MS where it hurts, don't buy an XBox. Just let it sit there on the shelf.
      • No, you're wrong. That's seriously, seriously flawed logic.

        If I don't buy an X-box and it stays "on the shelf" MS loses $300.

        If I buy an X-box, MS replaces that X-box with another one (they keep stock levels constant). Hence, MS loses $100 from the one sold to me, plus $300 for the new one produced. Total = $400.

        If MS had a fixed number of Xboxes, then yes, not buying one would hurt. But they don't, so by *not* buying an Xbox, you're actually helping microsoft.
        • But they don't, so by *not* buying an Xbox, you're actually helping microsoft.

          You're making my head hurt. Stop confusing me. :P
        • I agree with what you are saying, but that replacement XBox is likely to be bought by someone else (an average consumer), along with some games, etc. Thus lessening the financial burden on MS.

          I think that this argument is sort of circular and we both are right.

          I feel, anyone who buys an XBox (including you and I) is very likely to buy at least one or two games, and maybe a second controller, thereby dampening the financial hit to MS through the license fees that they will recoup. (Then again, buying "used" titles wouldn't give any more money to MS, it'd just keep it floating around in more private circles...) I fel that even if someone doesn't want to buy games initially (simply in order to buy a XBox to 'hurt' MS or to play Divx titles) would want to use the system to it's full capacity eventually.

          In light of this, and the fact that (as far as I'm aware, please correct me if I'm wrong) there isn't an established third party / underground development community (like there is for DC and GBA), I feel that if you are trying not to support MS it would still be 'best' to not buy a XBox.
          • Yea, it's a very cumulative effect, though- if MS maintains, say, 1,000,000 shelf units, they're out $200,000,000. If over the course of 1 year they sell $5,000,000, verses selling none, you can see where they lose money.

            Of course, the less boxes sold, the less incentive for game developers to make games, and the worse it makes MS look. I'm not going to buy one, just pointing out a potentially weak argument ;)
  • DivX : Putting the X in X-Box.
  • ...much confusion in MS as to whether or not this is a good thing.

    AFAIK the cost of building the XBox is still more than the $200 they're selling it for. The original idea was to lose money on the hardware and make huge profit on the games. So if people are to buy the XBox but no games, it's a loss for MS (at least $$$). When it's hacked in a way to simply use it as a linux PC without much hastle, you can buy the hardware, theoretically taking money away from MS, and have a relatively powerful cheap PC.
  • or you could... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by numatrix (242325) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @09:02AM (#3685390)
    So let's see, I can spend $200 on a machine that I probably wouldn't otherwise buy to watch divx movies, or I can buy a $50 dreamcast [amazon.com] and use the divx player [dcemulation.com] that's been around for a while on that. Hmm... difficult decision. Not to mention there are already emulators [dcemulation.com] for ALL of your favorite old-school platforms for the dreamcast. -jordan
    • From your own freakin' link:

      Videos can be up to 496x496 but 320x240 or lower recommended.

      320x240 or lower recommended? Ye-haw. Pardon me while I go re-rip all 120 of my 720x480 rips so that I lose 75% of the clarity, and squint the whole time instead of spending the extra $150. I know that the weeks of re-ripping will pay off, so long as I consider my time worth less than $.25 an hour.

      And no, I didn't pull 75% out of my ass, either. 320x240 is 1/4th (more or less) of 720x480.
    • Re:or you could... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by karnal (22275)
      While that is definitely some fun information (re- dreamcast), it's not for everyone.

      Per the divx page on dcemulation.com,:

      "Status: - Videos can be up to 496x496 but 320x240 or lower recommended."

      So, no real full-screen 720x480 video for me.....

    • Interesting point - unless you've actually tried to use the Dreamcast DivX player. It's a disater - films need to be encoded at very low resolutions, and don't work half the time anyway. A Dreamcast is a great machine to have - great games and very cheap prices, and the afformentioned emulators (especially the NES ones) make it a good investment. But DivX is definitely *not* its forte.
    • Videos can be up to 496x496 but 320x240 or lower recommended.
      Sorry chief... I don't like my pr0n pixellated.
  • by cornjchob (514035) <thisiswherejunkgoes@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @09:05AM (#3685406)
    I followed the link to the story, then to an xbox hack site, XBOXHACKER, and upon entering that sites FAQ, it said that DivX play wasn't possible, at least not yet. Who's right? the faq's here [siliconice.net]
  • Killer App? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkZero (516460) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @09:11AM (#3685436)
    I don't see how this is ever going to be a killer app for the X-Box. Unless Electronics Boutique and Toys R Us start selling pre-modded X-Boxes, far less than one percent of X-Box customers will have DivX functionality. The same really applies to all modded systems. With a modded PS2, I can download hundreds of free games. However, PS2s with mod chips are so rare that the international community of people online that are trading PS/PS2 games is, at most, ten thousand people out of the twenty-six million plus PS2 owners in the world.

    Sure, this is a killer app for a couple of geeks, but it isn't going to change the X-Box's sales or revolutionize the movie industry.
  • ...instead of some expensive video-cd player. Plus you can play on it. I can imagine the scene:

    CEO: "What is that toy?"

    me: "Sir, it is a new prototype to show customers our marketing ads in standard format. See? You can carry them around like regular CDs, plus they can be made at a very low cost, thus increasing our productivity, lowering our expenses, and making our company look like we are constantly hitting the technology cutting edge while taking care of our customers. And it has been made by Microsoft, it is a Very Reliable thing."

    CEO: "Good good. Keep researching."

    me: "Yes sir. I'm gonna borrow the TV in the main hall to test it in the server room for the presentation of tomorrow, if You wouldn't mind."

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @09:13AM (#3685450) Homepage
    Why do you think this will be a huge thing for x-box sales? Just because the xbox is a PC doesn't mean it's the only thing that could do that. It would be absolutely no harder to create a divx player for playstation, or dreamcast, or just about anything else. OK, so no one bothered. Someone could, and probably will if it turns out there's a demand for this kind of thing. Keep in mind, of course, that the nonexistence of a playstation etc version of this might mean that no one thought it was worth the bother, not that no one could or that Sony stopped them.

    I mean-- OK. Let me start over. First off, this is a nifty hack, and second off i'm glad people are making steps toward unlocking the stupid "copy protection" controls that keep any really independent development from happening on the xbox.

    But i just don't see this being something revolutionary. I know people for whom this would be useful, and i know people who would use it. But think: it can be assumed anyone with the ability to burn cds also has the ability to play divxes on their computer. So, lets look at their options:
    1. Buy an inexpensive computer->tv tuner/converter cable thingy from Radio Shack that would allow you to use a tv as the monitor for your computer. Watch divxes on your tv using whatever program it is that runs divxes fullscreen now.
    2. Buy a several-hundred-dollar Xbox, go through a complicated, possibly expensive transaction in which your xbox is modded and your warranty is broken. Hook that up to your tv. Then, every time you want to watch a divx, you have to burn it to a CD-- which costs money-- and transfer it to your xbox.
    I don't think so. This will probably raise publicity and possibly interest by people in the xbox (though i can't imagine it would be much), and this will probably be something really neat for people who own xboxes already. But i can't realistically imagine this becoming something people would buy an xbox for.

    That being said, i think this is the funniest line i've ever seen on zdnet:
    The developer, who identified himself only by his hacker name, "d7o3g4q," said in an email..
    Whatever. Wake me up when they get linux running on it.

    P.S. : I hate divx. I wish MPEG4 didn't have these stupid licensing terms. Grr.
    • I can see it swaying sales... Slightly. To that person who is looking for a console with an "open source" future, it might just convince them.

      "But think: it can be assumed anyone with the ability to burn cds also has the ability to play divxes on their computer."

      As to that point, this is a huge market in Asia. You don't need a computer w/a burner to be buying the pirated VDCs and DiVX crap. Again, not sales dynamite, but enough to sway somebody. Of course, it's assuming MS can gain a foothold in Asia as well, since buying VCDs and DiVX on the corner isn't quite as popular in the US.
  • But, the Xbox can already play a high quality movie format. Plus, that format supports mutli-channel surround sound. Comes on really special discs that look like CDs, but hold anywhere from 10 to 30 times the data. AND, a two hour movie, with tons of extras, languages, and so on, often costs less than a 30 minute music CD.
  • With XBox sales slouching below predicted levels, it would be so terribly ironic if DivX, OSS, and hacking were to come to the rescue and SAVE MICROSOFT's product.

    • "With XBox sales slouching below predicted levels, it would be so terribly ironic if DivX, OSS, and hacking were to come to the rescue and SAVE MICROSOFT's product."

      Keep in mind that DivX was originally a hacked version of a Microsoft-home-grown codec.

  • Say what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @09:22AM (#3685499) Homepage
    • much confusion in MS as to whether or not this is a good thing

    You are joking, right? First, this requires a hardware mod, which Microsoft despises - hey, it's a Microsoft Xbox, packed full of juicy Microsoft intellectual property and trade secrets, right? They'll likely have mods prosecuteds as DMCA violation, because they bypasses DRM mechanisms.

    But worse than that, it allows godless heathens to run FREE SOFTWARE on their hardware. Given the foaming-at-the-mouth FUD they vomit forth whenever the GPL is mentioned, expect them to suggest that Evil Pirates will run the notorious hacker OS Linux on it, allowing the viral GPL to spread throughout the whole Interweb, corrupting and assimilating all that it touches. ZDnet will faithfully reproduce pretty much any FUD they produce about this.

    Further, given that PVR opponents seem to have escaped a mainstream press drubbing for describing ad-skipping as theft, expect them to assert that Xbox purchasers have an implied obligation to purchase Microsoft - and only Microsoft - games and add-ons for it, to support the subsidised initial purchase. I'll even predict the phrase, which will be spoken by a flat voiced, dead eyed corporate zombie: "Of course, the Xbox is about having fun, and we want legitimate Xbox purchasers to have fun. But they have to be responsible about it, and support legitimate software development. We think its very important that we educate legitimate Xbox gamers about this, and that we explain why hacking our Xbox and running pirate and viral GPL software kills legitimate developers. And their children, their beautiful golden haired children. Won't someone think of the legitimate software developers' golden haired children!" Er, OK, that last bit might just be implied (or feature as a ZDnet "editorial"), but you get the point. ;-)

    And lastly, what do they care about DivX? They are busy touting the DRM benefits of WMF and trying to persuade hardware manufacturers to support WMF alongside MPEG2. They do not want other players in this game. Note that their apologists at ZDnet invite you to infer that DivX is only useful for piracy. Yes, I know that de facto it is heavily used for distributing unlicensed copies, but that's because it's a damn efficient codec with cross platform implementations. If unlicensed copies switch to using WMF (with the DRM turned off) to distribute, will that become a "controversial" format? I think not.

    No, I don't see that Microsoft will be in confusion about how to handle this. It's their box, containing their trade secrets, and we should keep our filthy commie hacker hands off of it. The hobbyist market is simply too small to make a difference to their income: in fact, every Xbox purchased by a hacker loses them money. They won't like this. They won't like it at all.

    • The people selling the modchip should bring out a transister radio kit or some other innane PCB kit (a inverter kit, a 'build your own' vibrator kit, etc) that utilises a couple of the transisters built into the modchip. & then design the website arround these inane PCB kits. As well as selling the inane PCB kits they could also sell 'spareparts', including the chips by themselves.

      Then on the site they could mention 'BTW this chip does have the ability to make the XBox compatible to X86 code that the XBox wasn't designed to run, We don't recommend using these chips in this way as they weren't designed for this use & therefore can't guarantee the results', & then link to some Geocities fansite that provides the instructions & everything one needs for Xbox installation. :)

      Remember how Kazaa won their court case because their software had other uses other than just downloading copyrighten software/music.
  • hey wait a minute... (Score:2, Informative)

    by paradesign (561561)
    i thought ZDNet was afiliated with Micro$oft. is this just another stunt to keep the Xbox in the news?

  • This comment in a discussion last month [slashdot.org] pointed to Microsoft's apparently unnoticed but reasonably obvious larger scale ambitions and suggest that they will be willing to spend a great deal more on winning this fight than Sony and Nintendo not because they have more money but because they are playing for far higher stakes.

    The most important thing to realize is that their primary objective is to establish the Xbox as a sort of hardware (and therefore competition-free) incarnation of MSN Messenger, positioning it as a communications device with a far, far more mainstream audience than just gamers. This is the motivation behind their massive global investment in Cable companies and their apparently insane over-investment in hosting capability.

    Modding will hurt game sales, no doubt about it, but it will, especially with this new Divx capability, greatly accelerate the machines market penetration. MS are secretly delighted to exchange their short-term earnings on content to further their progress towards becoming the world's chat-room / paid dating service / whatever else comes with total control of the largest network on the planet (and don't forget that a $199 price will get them into a lot more homes that even the cheapest Dell machine - think India, think China).

  • Problem.....that statement assumes there was initially a surgence of sales, which if I remember correctly....
  • DivX on ps2?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tezzery (549213)
    Shouldn't the linux kit for ps2 allow the possibility of DivX playback?

    come on ps2 hackers!

    I don't want to buy an Xbox.. but DivX on it sounds mighty tempting..
  • I would not use it to play since I am more than happy with my PS2, but if I could use it to watch my DivX CDs and play music, that would be nice.

    I have a laptop (a PII 400) which is a tad too slow to play DivX but is more than enough for my computer needs (Java programming, word processing and so on...)

    Now, if I could also play MAME on it and play my MP3 CDs, that would be swell!!!
    And doing all that on the expense of M$ is just the cherry on the cake ;o)

    • Yes but I am not sure the PS2 is powerfull enough.
      I mean a PII 400 can't cut the job, and the games you can play on the MAME port are only early 80's.

      The X-Box is faster than the PS2 and I am quite convinced (appart from 3d) my laptop is as well.

  • The suggested solution: Convert all of your movies to DIVX, burn burn them to CD and then hacking your Xbox with a mod chip so that you can play them.

    My solution: Get a TV-Out card and a Video Sender (transmitter) and hook that to your computer. That way you can play any CODEC, and easily delete the movie afterward if it sucks.
  • A bunch of the highly modded comments make this out to be old news or not very important ("my dreamcast can play divx").

    To clear things up, two major exciting point:

    1. The cracked XBox Bios is floating around the net along with wiring diagrams for the XBox motherboard. Therefore, anyone with a EEPROM programmer or even some PC motherboards can flash a old bios chip and wire it up themselves for essentially free. With this hack you can then run homebrew and unsigned software from ANY media the XBox reads AND the ethernet connection. Oh, and the XBox even has a hard drive for some more advanced apps.

    2. The guys who hacked the XBMedia Player together finally figured out how to read media from the ethernet connection. So essentially you pay $200 for a MP3, Divx, DVD, etc.,. player (plus it plays some pretty cool games too) that will play files over your network from your PC media server. You'll soon also see web browsers, instant messengers, etc.,. as well. I think this would be pretty sweet hooked up to every TV/stereo I own.

    Thanks MS!

  • Don't you mean a "surgence"?

    Thanks to DivX, they'll sell 5 more X-Boxes this month.

    - A.P.
  • Living Rooms? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hendridm (302246) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @10:37AM (#3686047) Homepage
    > This will take Divx beyond the desktops of those with broadband connections and into the living rooms of those who don't own computers.

    Give me a break. For the most part, anyone savvy enough to be able to install a mod chip into an X-Box probably already has a PC. Do you think the average Best Buy shopper is going to install one of these? Most people I know with X-Boxes don't even know how to solder, and even if they did, they would be too afraid to do it on their new $200 console. Only those who are savvy, already have a spare computer and just want a cheap DivX player, and those with the intestinal fortitude will do the Mod chip (which is still a lot of people, of course, but not my parents).
  • I don't think the ability to play DivX on my XBox is too big a deal, but the door a MOD chip opens up is...

    DVD burners are coming down in price even faster than CD writers did it seems. Couple this with some new software that will almost certainly be available in the near future, in addition to a modded XBox, now you have the ability to copy games, which is something I'm sure MS *IS* concerned with.

    More importantly though, as soon as I can run the popular emulators on my machine (read: MAME, mostly), then the geek population will have a reason to buy an XBox.

    Then there of course is putting Linux on it, which I know is being worked on, and although I'm not aware of it, I'm sure it's doable already. That further adds to the geek factor, which is certainly important.

    For me, buying an XBox was not a great move... I own about 10 games, only maybe 3 of which I play with any regularity. Yes, I have a list of about 30 that are coming this year that I look forward to, but it was with other things in mind that I bought it... emulators, a full OS (Linux or Windows or something else, I'm not particular), access to my network so I can surf the web properly in my living room, things like that.

    But then again, I'm a geek, I can mod the thing myself and I can take the time and effort that might be involved to install Linux and MAME and whatever else I want. Will the average consumer? Certainly not.

    My point? Ah, never really had one I guess. Simply that the DivX thing doesn't especially thrill me, but I *AM* excited about a MOD chip because I know there will be cool stuff coming as a result of it. That's all!
  • So the key to Microsoft's succeess in the Console market is Movie Piracy?? That's great news!! Now, if someone can just come up with a hack that allows the XboX to play mp3 CD's, we'll be all set.

    Yessiree Bob! Microsoft, in direct legal confrontation with the RIAA, MPAA, Disney and Sony, all at the same time? JOY!

    In the REDmond corner, the Divine Right to Innovate; and in the BLUE corner, Content Protection; in a steel-cage fight to the finish!

    Man, this will be better than the early Tyson fights.. Yeah..

    "When the whales fight, the shirmp are in big trouble" - Korean proverb.
  • by Oishii (459981) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @11:25AM (#3686416)
    In Australia, the modding of playstation (one)s was a HUGE thing about a year ago. Why? Because then you could play copied games. And yes, neighbourhood kids with a little savvy made quite a decent income out of being an "all stop shop". Mod-chipping was usually a $25AUD fee. ($US15)

    Come in, get your PS modded, buy a pirated game or three from my extensive copy library. Build your own collection, yes siree, at just $7 (AU) per disc, you too can have a game collection the envy of your friends.

    So, these same gameplaying Xbox owners, what do you think they'll say when the neighbourhood kid starts offering (1) a mod, (2) pirated Xbox games and (3) the latest release movies - especially in countries where hollywood delays the release date FAR behind the US one.

    I think there's a large market, provided the cost is right.

  • "As previously discussed ( Divx - The Real Xbox Killer App), the ability to play reasonably high-quality films, speedily burned onto inexpensive CDR media, is going to make (modded) Xbox ownership a far more attractive proposition. This will take Divx beyond the desktops of those with broadband connections and into the living rooms of those who don't own computers. Expect to see a resurgence of Xbox sales and much confusion in MS as to whether or not this is a good thing."

    Am I missing something? How do these people get Divx movies burned onto a CD without a computer? Can you get them at Best Buy?

    If you meant your supposed to score burned Divx movies from friends. Well, have fun with that..

    It's great that the XBox will be able to do this, but it's hardly a break-through for those without computers.
  • The Big Deal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mulletproof (513805) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @11:47AM (#3686641) Homepage Journal
    In itself, this is not going to send MS sales through the roof. It's not going to create a massive hype that gamers will flock to the stores in droves. DivX simply won't do that. It's mainly an internet traded format, and people who have internet have computers and monitors. Sure, it'd be nice to watch a DivX in your living room, but most people are going to say big deal before going through the hassle of modding their Xbox for that capability. Targeting VCD playback capability would have done more for sales, especially in Asia. It is has a huge market in both legal and pirate sales. It's a widly accepted format and it's a physical medium anyone can obtain without having to burn it themselves (ie; that person without a PC and/or burner)

    Be that as it may, here's The Big Deal(TM): This and other exploits prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the Xbox can and will be cracked. I don't care what you think about MS, you're looking at a small, $300 PC that you'll eventially be able to do anything with. Scream and hollar all you want, but that's a good deal.

    Stay with me now, because you might find this a tad intersting. Eventially word will get out that this machine can be cracked at will. HD mods? Linux? MP3 (or WMA in this case) jukeboxes? Pirated movies? No probs. No matter how much MS says they don't like this, it's a totally win/win situation for them and their Ultimate Xbox Goal; Control of the livingroom. Question: Would you be more willing to buy the new (more powerful) Xbox 2, knowing that it can probably be eventially easily hacked like the original? Just maybe. Oh, did we mention that MS has learned a few lessons by incorporating some of the hacks as native support, making it more useful to you? "Hey, now I don't have to go through any trouble to get ______ capabilities." Would you be more willing to buy it? They do it all the time in their other products. Whether by accident or design, MS really has the capability to subvert alot of unwitting consumers with the Box.
  • Does DivX as implemented on the X-Box support 5.1 channel surround?
  • To be perfectly honest, any DIVX movie you are going to fit on a CD is trash. I've come across a couple of ~800MB DIVX movies where the quality was tolerable for casual viewing of movies without much in the way of visuals, but if I want to watch a movie with interesting visuals or invite friends over there's no sense in using a DIVX CD.

    The quality of a 700 meg DIVX is just utter crap when compared to DVD or even VHS. This is especially compounded when it's of the filmed-with-a-camcorder-in-the-theater variety.

    A) If the movie isn't in the theaters yet, I don't want to waste my first viewing on a crappy DIVX.

    B) If the movie isn't on DVD yet, but I saw it in theaters, I probably won't be itching to watch it again since I saw it recently.

    C) If the movie isn't worth seeing in theaters, I can wait for the DVD.

    D) If the movie is out on DVD the only reason to use DIVX is if you are socially corrupt and don't feel like paying. Note that if you can afford an XBox and a CD burner, you can affor a DVD player.

    I have a feeling that the market for this "technology" is for people who A) want to show their friends how l33t they are because they saw Spiderman before it came out in the theaters and D) people who don't think they need to compensate members of their community before they take advantage of their work. That's a few percent of adolescent males, a tiny sliver of the XBox's total market.

    -Erik

"Just Say No." - Nancy Reagan "No." - Ronald Reagan

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