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Microsoft To Drop HD DVD 246

Posted by kdawson
from the quelle-surprise dept.
HockeyPuck writes to let us know that Microsoft has decided to stop making HD DVD players for the Xbox 360. No word on supporting Blu-ray on the platform though. "Microsoft said Saturday it would continue to provide standard warranty support for its HD DVD players. Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida last week estimated about 300,000 people own the Microsoft video player, sold as a separate $130 add-on for the Xbox 360."
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Microsoft To Drop HD DVD

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  • Now that that's over (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:10PM (#22538844)
    Will the new ones come with blueray?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No, rather than give into the accepted winner of a de facto standard, MSFT will introduce their own proprietary HD disc that only plays on an XBOX360.
    • by Loadmaster (720754) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:13PM (#22538878) Homepage
      Why would they? The old ones didn't come with HD-DVD. If you mean will MS make a Blu-Ray add on then maybe. They said back in 2006 they'd think about it if Blu-Ray won. I doubt it, though. MS said that before the Video Marketplace had much content. It's been speculated that MS adopted HD-DVD simply to confuse the market and indirectly push digital download services. Face it, MS wants DD to win because that's where they make the most money.
      • by DrXym (126579) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @06:55PM (#22539826)
        A case could be made that Microsoft dreaded a dead video format stinking up their console. So they produced an add on that could be discarded if it came to it but never produced consoles with an internal HD DVD player. They didn't even stick an HD DVD player in the Elite where it would have made sense. Now that Blu Ray is the winner of this war, the concern of backing the wrong horse should no longer be an issue.

        I think you are right about digital downloads though and they only saw HD DVD as a means to an end. They're probably in an interesting quandary right now - ignore Blu Ray and risk suffering by comparison to the PS3 (it's already happening) or embrace it and risk diluting their digital download message.

      • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @08:33PM (#22540608)
        Why would they be trying to confuse physical distribution? People will pay $10 or $20 more for a disc copy than the digital download because of the mindset that they're actually getting something tangible, archivable, and resellable.. it only costs someone a few cents to manufacture and press the disk and they're making obscene profits on top.
        • To quote a friend, "Meanwhile Microsoft has been quietly building one of the largest digital distributions systems in the world."

          Remember, the reason that MS is where it is today is because Mr. Gates saw the opportunity when it came time to sell software rather than including it with the computer. Now that time has come again, not to just sell software, but to leave behind the idea of selling the media it comes on and selling it as a download service.

          Consider that they can undercut Sony like nobody else.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Smoke2Joints (915787)

      No word on supporting Blu-ray on the platform though.

      does noone even read the summary anymore?
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Will the new ones come with blueray?

      That depends on if the Microsoft Negotiator doesn't hang up on the Sony Rep when hears a maniacal laughter and "100 BILLION DOLLARS!" on discussing terms of the BluRay license.
      • Would be such a pity if say, you suddenly had to start paying retail prices for all the copies of vista you ship on those laptops..
        • by shades66 (571498)
          Not a problem we will put Ubuntu on our laptops instead.. Now about that 100 Billion dollar blue-ray license you need for your entertainment system..

          LOL
  • by THESuperShawn (764971) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:12PM (#22538872)
    They are now called "Upconverting DVD players". And I hear they are all the rage these days. Didn't you read the fliers in todays paper?
    • What I find frightening is that they are still on sale at Best Buy.
  • by mgv (198488) * <Nospam.01.slash2 ... g ['tma' in gap]> on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:15PM (#22538890) Homepage Journal
    I think that this isn't a good sign for the xbox either. Existing owners feeling that they have obsolete hardware, and a clear advantage to the playstation.

    Microsoft has damaged its whole gaming platform by getting into a sparring match with Sony over video formats.

    Michael
    • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:20PM (#22538948)
      I don't know that they had a choice for the same reason.

      Consumer: If I go with PS3, I get the next generation of digital video players as well.
      Consumer: If I go with XBOX I get none.
      MSFT: If we don't offer a solution to include consumers in the next generation of digital video players, they may go with our competition.
      MSFT: If we go with Blu-Ray, we may give the impression that XBOX is somehow inferior to the PS3 which inherently comes Blu-Ray equipped. Thus, we will go with HD-DVD.

      • by ianare (1132971) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:51PM (#22539248)
        No one would pay extra for a player nobody makes content for. So it also goes something like this:

        MSFT: "If HD-DVD wins then the PS3 is basically doomed to failure."

        • Why would it be doomed to failure?

          The PS3's duty is to play games. Even if Blu-ray completely failed, the PS3 would still play games, and the Blu-ray drive is still worthwhile to have in it because of its huge capacity. There are already some 360 games that come on 4 DVDs, and as the years go by, space is going to be in more and more demand.

          Microsoft should have put an HD-DVD drive standard on the 360 for that reason alone.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Gulthek (12570)
            Because so many, like myself, only bought a PS3 to play movies.

            The thing even comes with a movie as a pack-in now. Its priorities are clear.
      • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:58PM (#22539312) Homepage
        Oh please. Betting on the losing format would hurt them much more than any perceived inferiority ever could, and they would know that. If they hadn't thought HD-DVD would be more likely to win, they wouldn't have picked it. They just guessed wrong - like all the people who bought a HD-DVD player.
        • by causality (777677)
          This is why I'd like to see all such format wars result in both sides losing a lot of money.

          Really now, which of these two scenarios sounds better?


          Scenario 1: a format war with two major camps. Camp A and Camp B duke it out in the marketplace until one side eventually loses. If Camp A wins out, all customers who went with Camp B lose because they invested in a now-obsolete standard and vice-versa. Meanwhile, the uptake of new technology suffers since the wiser, more patient customers prudently de
          • Scenario 2: all companies involved decide that no one really wins a format war (particularly the end-users) and come up with an open standard, like we had with DVDs and CDs.

            Perhaps you don't remember the DVD / DIVX [wikipedia.org] war or the CD / DAT [wikipedia.org] war. There's always a format war, it's just that sometimes the winner is more obvious and the war doesn't last as long.

            • by causality (777677)
              Thank you for pointing that out, it helps me to put the current format war in perspective. I do remember that these occurred but for some reason (I'm open to this being a "grass is greener" fallacy on my part) they seem to have been relatively minor squabbles compared to the current HD-DVD v. Blu-Ray deal. For example, DivX had a built-in time-limit (a rather short one, too) that effectively "expired" any discs rented in that format which made it rather unpopular; it also required that the player had a ph
              • by samkass (174571)
                Ironically, DivX was at least as forgiving as any of the digital movie download DRM systems everyone is touting as the obvious technology that Blu-ray will lose to.
          • by CSMatt (1175471)
            The BDA and the DVD Forum knew full well that it would be financial suicide, and they did try to avoid a format war [wikipedia.org]. It was mounting pressure from Sun and Microsoft on both sides over which interactivity layer to use that ultimately caused the negotiations to fall through.
        • by CSMatt (1175471)
          If you really think that Microsoft had that much faith in HD-DVD, then why didn't they integrate it into the Xbox 360?
          • by suckmysav (763172)
            Ummm, because it would have made the xbox cost a lot more perhaps?

            Sony, being the primary driver for BD, had a vested interest in leveraging their expected sales in PS/3 units to build support for BD.

            Microsoft had far less vested in HD-DVD (They were not its primary backer) and were more interested in competing with Sony in the console wars as opposed to the HD format wars.
          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            If you really think that Microsoft had that much faith in HD-DVD, then why didn't they integrate it into the Xbox 360?
            Uh, because it would have made the XBox 360 much more expensive?

            Yeah, I know Sony included a Blu-Ray drive in the PS3... which is one reason that it cost an arm and a leg. Sony made the decision to risk that, and it may well have paid off, but it's a trade-off, and one that was equally valid for MS to reject at the time.
            • by CSMatt (1175471)
              That doesn't mean that they couldn't have made it a higher-end model.

              They might as well have put it in the Elite, since the down-conversion of ICT would have made a component-based HD DVD player almost worthless by the end of the decade.
      • by Admiral Ag (829695) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @06:18PM (#22539494)
        Back before either console was released, assorted media aficionados were saying that the 360 was being released too early and that the lack of an integrated HD drive would hurt it in the long run. What they missed is that Microsoft had to do this in order to get a head start over Sony: it was the only way they would avoid taking another beating. Consumers paid for it with poor quality control.

        The Blu Ray victory was the tipping point. Now the 360 is just a game console that plays pretty much the same games as Sony's, but which will probably break down, and costs quite a bit more when you include wireless and online gaming to bring it up to spec.

        While the format war was still on, blu ray on the PS3 was a curiosity (I know I bought mine largely out of curiosity about it). Now you are basically getting a free next gen DVD player with every PS3 - that is not something Microsoft will be able to match in price any time soon.

        Props to Sony. Whatever their other evils, they clearly kept their eye on the ball in this case.

        Full disclosure: I own both consoles.
        • Now the 360 is just a game console that plays pretty much the same games as Sony's....

          But only for the first two generations or so. Then PS3 games will likely come on BluRay discs, taking advantage of double-digit GB storage capacity while the 360 is still stuck at about 7GB [dvd-recordable.org]. Now, although the dreamcast had other faults, one of the main reasons why it died was because it only had a CD-ROM drive. Had the system come equipped with a DVD-ROM drive, perhaps it would've lasted longer. Nobody likes popping discs in and out when they're supposed to have an immersive experience. This goes for

          • by Concern (819622) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @10:28PM (#22541326) Journal
            Actually, Dreamcast used a proprietary "GD-ROM" [wikipedia.org] with a storage capacity of 1.2GB. You're still right in your main point, although I would have put it differently. It's highly unlikely that game disc swapping had much to do with Dreamcast's end. Sega had had a run of failures, culminating in Saturn, that cost them the confidence of partners and consumers alike. That made them vulnerable to Sony at the outset (with major players like EA publicly stating they would not develop for another Sega platform), but the PS2's capability as an extremely cheap DVD player (not much difference in price to buy a DVD-player or a PS2, in 2000, 2001) was thought by many to be a major factor in its success.

            Dreamcast _could_ play games on CD-ROM. Though I'm sure by the end, Sega wished it couldn't. Mid-way through the system's life, crackers discovered a ROM exploit that allowed burned discs to boot in the Dreamcast. CD images were soon all over the net, and playable without a mod-chip. Amusingly, the crackers compensated for the loss of headroom on the 700GB CD-ROMs (from the 1.2GB GD-ROM originals) without too much trouble; in many cases, all the space hadn't been used. In others, they simply downsampled sounds and textures; the results were usually unnoticeable. All but a few games ended up online that way.

            As time passes and media decays, this will probably ensure the survival of the Dreamcast catalog for future generations to enjoy. So it goes with all platforms.

            Dreamcast was a pretty awesome console for the interregnum between PS/N64 and PS2/XBox. They had about a year of being the best thing on the market in terms of graphics, network connectivity, etc. and sported neat ideas i.e. "tamagotchi" memory cards. They had a few of the best titles of the time as exclusives.

            Although it was tragic for Sega and for gamers (I recall in 2001 watching the Jet Grind Radio team bursting into tears on the stage at GDC while accepting an award), its failure did at least put an amazing game system in the hands of many who otherwise couldn't have afforded it. I still recall $50 dreamcasts (the cost of a new PS2 game got you a whole system!) and $5 games... there haven't been many deals like that before or since.
      • by aliquis (678370)
        .. or they could have gone with blu-ray ;D
    • by longbot (789962) <longbottle @ g m ail.com> on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:49PM (#22539234) Homepage
      This of course in addition to the inherent hardware unreliability of the Xbox 360. I only know one person who hasn't had one give the red lights of death at least once, and one of them actually had their console die on them three times.

      Much as we all love to hate on Sony for being evil, the PS3 has proven itself more reliable than the Xbox 360, and as such is an additional point as big as the choice of HD video format they picked to support.
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:50PM (#22539246) Homepage

      I have a 360. I couldn't care less. That was an add on who only served to play movies. It had no other function. The fact they will no longer sell it doesn't alter my opinion of the console.

      My understand is that the DVD playback on the 360 is horrid. I've never used it for that, but I've read about it. You can find more than a few examples with a quick Google search [google.com]. That has always made me weary of the HD-DVD playback the console would offer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      >Microsoft has damaged its whole gaming platform by getting into a sparring match with Sony over video formats.

      First off, MS barely sold those add-ons. What exactly is wrong with add-ons? If anything, its Sony wh o took the bigger risk.

      Hell, whats so wrong with hd-dvd. It was the superior format with no region encoding, PIP early on, cheaper production, etc. Gasp, cant we admit MS was on the right side for once. If there is such a thing as being on the right side when it comes to proprietary drm format
      • by pizzach (1011925)

        What exactly is wrong with add-ons?

        The stigma of addons is that they split the console base into the haves and the have nots. If you develop game requiring the addon, you are limiting your audience and therefor limiting your profits.

        But the HD-DVD addon wasn't used for games so I agree with you that it was not a bad thing.

      • by DrEldarion (114072) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @08:26PM (#22540546)

        It was the superior format with no region encoding, PIP early on, cheaper production, etc.
        Compared to Blu-ray's higher capacity, unscratchable coating, and higher data read rates. Each format had their benefits.
    • by MrSteveSD (801820)
      If it was somehow possible for Sony to prevent Blu Ray working with the X-box 360, I wonder whether they would do it, to kill of their rival?
    • by DeepZenPill (585656) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @06:06PM (#22539384)
      Microsoft certainly did not damage its gaming platform by siding with HD-DVD. HD-DVD was always an add-on for the 360 and never a major selling point. This (along with questionable quality control) allowed Microsoft to release the 360 a year ahead of the PS3, gaining significant market share and pressuring developers to focus on creating games for the 360 rather than its competition. This strategy has paid off for Microsoft because those who wanted a gaming system got a gaming system as well as a large library of games. The attach rate for the 360 is currently the highest by far among the 3 consoles competing in this generation. As a gaming platform the 360 is doing pretty well for itself.

      Sony, on the other hand, has been making progress in terms of consoles sold undoubtedly because of its blu-ray capabilities, but the slow start due to blue laser shortages and the high expense of blu-ray components has significantly hurt their sales. PS3 is still in 3rd place in terms of the attach rate and has suffered from developers supporting the 360 as the PS3's expense. In the end, these machines are primarily games consoles and their media playing capabilities are a secondary function. Microsoft focused on games as a selling point and has been the most successful in that respect while Sony focused on the media capability with Blu-Ray, but at significant expense. High manufacturing costs as well as studio support both took a toll on Sony's bottom line for a high-def disc market that is still in its infancy.

      To the average Xbox 360 owner, the format war has been a non-issue because their console uses DVDs. Cross platform games still look equally good on both platforms, so the size constraints of DVDs is not yet apparent. This may change in the coming years, but for now DVD is still king in most living rooms.
      • by CSMatt (1175471)
        While this is a factor, I think the main reason Sony is in 3rd place is because it hasn't produced any killer games, which admittedly is partially due to Microsoft's early start (much like how the PS2's early start aligned even more developers with Sony by the time the Xbox came out)*. A rare kudos to Sony for finally taking the time to make a decent console (you can defend Sony's game lineup, but I think we are mostly in agreement that the first two PlayStations were crap hardware-wise), but their earlier
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fermion (181285)
        The average games may not be concerned about the format war, but MS was, since this is all about how we will pay for entertainment, and who will profit. In this way the format war was simply a skirmish in the larger "battle for the living room". MS has put a lot of money into winning the living room, most especially in selling MP3 players and game consoles at prices that are arguable below cost, and arguably at a loss that cannot reasonably be made up by secondary licensed sales.

        If MS did not concern it

    • by BigDork1001 (683341) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @06:12PM (#22539442) Homepage
      I own a 360, I don't feel it's obsolete. I bought it to play games, not watch movies. I don't own a HD-DVD add-on and never planned on buying one. If I did own a PS3 I doubt I'd own Blu movies. I buy game consoles to play games, not watch movies.

      Why is it so hard for people to grasp this simple concept? My Wii doesn't play movies at all and yet it still sells well. If people really cared that much then I would say that yes Microsoft is in trouble. But no, you can't say that this is a nail in the coffin of the 360.

    • Microsoft has lost over a 1 billion dollars on the Xbox360 and its a failure. This is despite the red ring of death from many people who just chose to repurchase a 360 when the original one dies.

      People are choosing the wii mostly due to price besides a few cool new features like the wii mote. Parents like to save money and children is where the market is for most gamers.

      MS can save a fortune by not including a HD-DVD player and could price more competively with the wii. So in essence this may help MS sales
    • I don't really see how it can make a difference, although I'm not sure if you're under the impression the 360 has an HD-DVD drive built in? It doesn't.

      Anyone who bought the HD-DVD addon already has a 360, by their HD-DVD drive becoming useless it's not going to somehow un-sell the console and reduce adoption and it's unlikely to stop people buying games for the 360. Chances are if people weren't fussed about the games they'd have bought the much cheaper Toshiba EP30/A30 HD-DVD player.

      If anything I'd say it'
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I have a 360. Why would I feel it is obsolete? It plays games as well as a PS3 (more so because as of this writing it still has way more cool games.)

      (But I also have a Wii, and when we play it on our HDTV and I get sick of shaking my arms around like an r-tard, I DO feel like I bought obsolete hardware!)

      PS3's are still over-priced for a game system as far as I am concerned.

      Xbox 360 will most likely drop it's price another $50 bucks this year too. A $299 price point is very tantalizing for people. It

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Blkdeath (530393)

        PS3's are still over-priced for a game system as far as I am concerned.

        What are the relative prices where you are? To get a console unit with an integrated hard drive and a bundled game I'm looking at $399 for either system at Future Shop in Ontario, Canada. Sure, to get an "Arcade" XBox 360 without a hard drive and with no games will only cost me $279.99, but hell, I don't want to start buying memory cards! These new consoles are supposed to be about rich multimedia experience, not about slow antique technology that's easy to lose/damage.

        Moreover, the PS3 gives me integra

    • by CSMatt (1175471)
      Actually I'd say that Sony would be in even deeper shit if Blu-Ray lost, because Blu-Ray is also the format for PS3 games. Microsoft using HD-DVD in the same manner would have quickly spelled death to the Xbox, but at least in this case the only ones screwed are the few Xbox owners who purchased the add-on, and even then it's not as bad as if they had invested in a standalone HD-DVD player instead.
  • Microsoft comes out with an external Blu-Ray player. According to people's comments on various forums I read through, the end of the Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD war was not only suppose to kill HD-DVD but the 360 as well. (as if everyone who bought a 360 bought it for the HD-DVD capabilities)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nagora (177841)
      Microsoft comes out with an external Blu-Ray player.

      They'll probably be too busy laughing to say anything.

      TWW

    • as if everyone who bought a 360 bought it for the HD-DVD capabilities
      I know I didn't. I bought the 360 for the exclusive RPGs and better price. The draw of Final Fantasy seemed to leave with Sakaguchi-san for me (dunno why, exactly; was he really that important to the series? But the feel of it has changed for the worse, I think.). On the other hand, Lost Odyssey has been awesome so far (though it has some bugs, so save often, lol), and I'm looking forward to Fable 2.
    • by morari (1080535)
      All of those Playstation fanboys, who did purchase a console largely for video playback, might just think such...

      In all fairness though, at least the few decent games on the PS3 aren't all eventually released for the PC as well like anything on the 360 is. Wii FTW!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Redmond 24th Feb 2008 (for the beast works Sundays)

    Microsoft today announced a new High Definition DVD format they have labeled MSOpenDVD. Microsoft chairthrower Steve Ballmer said, "this is a very exciting project by combining MSOpenDRM with our SilverLight technology and embedding the DVD data in XML we have created an open extensible platform that will confound anti-trust regulators for decades - Muhahahaha".

    The MSOpenDVD format will be publicly released under the Microsoft patent promise next quarter.

    • Next Circuit city will come out with HD divx and it will fail like the old divx and they will just fire and rehire all of there works at min wage.
  • by AugustZephyr (989775) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:31PM (#22539032)
    ... the cartridge [wikipedia.org] to make a comeback.
    • by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:48PM (#22539216) Homepage
      ffFFWwFFFWWWW FFWwwfWWWWf fWffFwWwwW

      What? I'm sorry, I couldn't here you over cleaning my SNES cartridge.

    • by MrSteveSD (801820)
      Packed with 50GB of Flash memory :)
    • by timeOday (582209)
      I guess that was a joke, but I absolutely want solid state to take over optical media. Of my kids' DVDs, and the ones we get from the library, hardly any actually work. I would much rather have their movies on GBA-like cartriges. I think flash capacities will catch up with DVD in just a few years, but now Blu-Ray has raised the bar that much more.
      • I would agree. So little of the overall cost and price at the cast register of a movie or music recording on DVD or CD pays for the actual disc. Even if the media were slightly more expensive, it should not add to the cost at the cash. I think it would therefore be much better to buy a Read-only Flash or cartridge based system so long as the life-span and durability of the product are the same, with no DRM so that I can copy on my computer and music players.
      • You're in luck, then - Blu-ray is nearly unscratchable due to the protective coating they put on the discs.
    • by Frogbert (589961)
      You know as silly as it sounds the price of flash drives today means a flash cartridge could at least be feasible. 8gb of flash is pretty cheap and can store a fairly decent game.
      • Arg! Not enough substantial info to crunch my teeth into! A very important thing to note is 8GB is the size of an XBox 360 DVD. Therefore 8GB is more than fairly decent game storage.

        On ebay, an 8GB Sony USB flash stick can be bought for about $30. The average cost of N64 cartridges are 25 dollars according to Wikipedia. So yeah, cartridges would actually be very feasible. It's even more feasable when you realize that Xbox 360 games average at about 4.5GB in size.

        BUT third party games would jump by

  • by Tancred (3904) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:37PM (#22539104)
    Or will online distribution overtake it? I don't buy physical CDs anymore and would like to buy video content online as well.
    • by SpecialAgentXXX (623692) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:46PM (#22539202)
      From some of the forums I've read, Blueray rips can be up to 27GB. Even with high-speed broadband, that's still several hours or more to legally download a movie. All that bandwidth will cost the distributer a lot of money. So I'm assuming they will compress the hell out of it (like HD-lite) and you'll see artifacts. Then what's the point of HD if there's a bunch of macroblocking, etc.? Plus, legal downloads are DRM'd to your PC. What if I want to transfer it to my media PC in the living room? Or if I want to watch a late night movie in my room? No, I don't think online disto can compete with the quality and "freedom" of a physical disc.
      • From some of the forums I've read, Blueray rips can be up to 27GB. Even with high-speed broadband, that's still several hours or more to legally download a movie

        Bah, kids these days. You should have been about fifteen years ago. I left my 56k (which was really about 33600) connection up more than two continuous days (re-dialing every 8 hours which was the limit before prodigy disconnected you) to download some mp3s.

        And yeah, the senile posters who are going to talk about the dinosaur era in BBSs can refrain
      • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @07:03PM (#22539902) Homepage
        No, rips (not encodes) can be up to 50GB because the disc is 50GB, I don't know anyone who'd make a 27GB encode. Maybe you're confused with HDDVD rips that usually is close to 30GB? Encodes usually go for DVD5/720p and DVD9/1080p sizes, 1080p is 6x the pixels of 480p so roughly the same quality per pixel as a 2CD rip but with each pixel only being 1/6th the size in the total picture.

        Remember there's a lot more headroom in the Blu-Ray standard, a regular DVD9 only in HD resolution would be 6xDVD9 = 54GB in MPEG2 but H264/VC-1 compresses a lot better so in reality you have more bandwidth per pixel on top of having a much higher resolution. Given the number of people that must be blind or something and can't tell HD from 480p, only a very small minority would be able to tell these rips from the real Blu-Ray disc. I'd say they're better than any HDTV you can get over the air in the states (ATSC is MPEG2 at 15-20GB/movie).
    • by Jugalator (259273)

      Or will online distribution overtake it?

      Granted, I've seen ~5 GB HD movies spread on The Pirate Bay, and they seem to be of good enough quality, despite being much more heavily compressed than their 25 GB variants. But I don't think I'd want to go much lower if this is still about 1080p movies. And then, the question becomes how much of a hassle downloading a 5 GB movie might be? For me on a 100 Mbps connection, not so much in theory, but it's 1) still very common with much slower DSL lines, and 2) the problem with centralized bogged down server

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by R3d M3rcury (871886)
      Depends on the content.

      I could see online distribution taking over the rental market, but I don't necessarily see it overtaking the purchase market.

      "Huh?" I hear you ask.

      Consider the content of Amazon's current top selling DVD, American Gangster. It has the original movie, as seen in theaters. It has a new "extended version." It has commentary, and a couple of documentaries on the subject matter and the making of the film. Almost 7.5 hours of video!

      That's a lot of stuff.

      Conversely, if I go to, say, an o
  • Royalties (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrKaos (858439) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:41PM (#22539136) Journal
    Won't Microsoft have to pay Sony royalties on blu-ray players if they were installed into 360's?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pddo (969282)
      Not too sure if they'll have to pay Sony (I think yes) but they'll have to pay Sun as all blueray menu's are now j2me driven... But i guess they are used to paying SUN.
    • by Rudolf (43885)
      Won't Microsoft have to pay Sony royalties on blu-ray players if they were installed into 360's?

      Maybe. Did they have to pay Toshiba for HD-DVD?

    • Re:Royalties (Score:4, Informative)

      by abigor (540274) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @11:04PM (#22541566)
      Why do people have the idea that Sony somehow has exclusive rights to Blu-Ray? The Blu-Ray Disc Association is a collection of a whole bunch of companies, many of whom were involved in the format's development. Sony is just one of these companies. Some others are Apple, HP, Sun, Matsushita, etc. etc.
  • Whack, whack, whack, the sound of the last nail in the coffin of HD-DVD. I'm glad it's dying earlier, rather than later.
  • Given that Microsoft didn't really make these but just bought other HD drive production, and that these will no longer be produced, there was no other option but to stop selling them.
  • Microsoft should be publicly humiliated for taking sides in the first place. It's not for them to take sides in terms of media.

    Would they (for example) not support MemoryStick but choose to support SecureDigital? of course not. People want to just use their computer and have the freedom to choose, not have the decision made for them because the alternative media is made by a rival in another market.

    This is what's wrong with Microsoft (and Apple to a degree too), they're way too involved in the media busines
  • Microsoft was originally backing HD-DVD because it had their VC1 codec on it. Microsoft made a few pennies for licensing fees on the codec for each HD-DVD sold. Sony's codec was inferior, so image quality tests were showing HD-DVD to beat Blu-ray early. Sony quickly adopted VC1, so Microsoft makes a few pennies sold on every Blu-ray also. Hence, they no longer cared who wins. The Xbox player was just a side effect of their early support for HD-DVD.
    • Not quite (Score:3, Informative)

      by Namarrgon (105036)
      • MS were pushing their VC-1 [wikipedia.org] codec, but that's available on both formats, not just HD-DVD.
      • MS also licenced their HDi [wikipedia.org] interactivity platform and authoring tools to HD-DVD.
      • Initial BD discs didn't have high-quality authoring tools available, so they had to use MPEG-2 instead. As a result, quality suffered.
      • Most BD discs now use H.264/AVC [wikipedia.org], not VC-1. H.264 is also available for HD-DVD.

      MS initially adopted a neutral approach to format support. They changed to supporting HD-DVD, citing its greater consumer frie

    • by pizzach (1011925)
      You're pretty close, but your argument is a bit slanted pro Microsoft. The reason why the quality of early Blu-ray discs suffered was not because of lack of VC1. It was because studios were using MPEG-2...the exact same codec as used by good old DVDs. Bluray also supports MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) which is actually modern and comparable to VC1.
  • Adding a BR player at this point has GOT to cost well north of $250 minimum perhaps more than $300. Are you willing to add $300 to the cost of an Xbox? I'm not. I'll just get a Wal*Mart Sony BDP-S300 $370 BR standalone player.
    • Or for that matter, a $399 PS3 that plays BD movies and also plays all but the exclusive 360 games on the market.

      Of course, according to Microsoft, people don't care if their game system can play high definition content (ditto to Nintendo, who actually publishes and encourages unique games).

      Microsoft's ONLY gimmick (and I don't use that word negatively) is their online Live feature. Sure the system has a few exclusives, and will surely have more, but the Playstation 3 also has exclusives, and a motion-sens
  • by Joseph Hayes (982018) on Monday February 25, 2008 @03:40AM (#22543326)

    Having been a console and pc gamer all my life (28 years) I have seen all the consoles come and go over the years. What it's really about is sitting down, chilling and gaming. Whether that is with your family, your best friend, or by yourself... it has to be fun. We'll see how the PS Home thing works out, but for now the 360 is king when it comes to playing while at home by yourself, because you aren't "by yourself", the whole world is waiting to play you. Hardware is only a tool. If you buy a game console for the optical drive then you are buying the product for a reason secondary to gaming.

    Being a former Wii owner and current 360 owner I can impart this into the conversation: My mom and dad got me a Wii because they remembered when they bought me a NES back in 1986 with zelda and excitebike. So they did a 20 years later kinda thing and it was great. I played through Zelda :TP and it was great, Ocarina of Time great. But I ended up hocking it on eBay this last Thanksgiving for $400 and bought a 360. Why? because the games just weren't what I was after. I hate to say it because Nintendo go this wrap back when the Genesis came out, but the games seem kiddish, plus it's nice to just kick back and play instead of standing and flailing about.

    The 360 and PS3 are a little premature in the "HD Generation" of gaming. HDTV's are just now becoming affordable at 1080p. I would hate to be someone who bought a 720p native resolution TV, but it's not that big a deal when it comes to watching TV, GAMING however is a whole different story. 1920x1080 is a beefy resolution for even the latest PC's to to handle at a playable framerate. PC gamers have been playing in HD for years now, ever since games were playable in 1024x768 on their monitors. But HD is the buzzword for the new tv market, and they have to give it name. I guess HD sounds cooler than HR (High Resolution).

    I for one look forward to the NEXT generation of consoles. 1080p Big HDTV's will be even more affordable, The format war is over, and consoles will have to huddle up with a company to come up with some really impressive hardware to ensure their console has a 4-5 year minimum lifespan. In that respect, Sony has delivered on with it's last two consoles with DVD, and now with the Cell and Blu-Ray. I am a fanboy of neither Microsoft or Sony, I am a gamer and I just want a way to play good games at a reasonable price. My opinion on this generation at this time, Microsoft wins.

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