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Microsoft Introduces HD-DVD Accessory for
the Xbox 360

Xbox 360 Hd DVD Unit
Xbox 360 owners can rejoice and join the HD revolution with the new HD DVD add-on from Microsoft. Available in November 2006, Microsoft will offer this new accessory for $199US ($199 CDN) including remote control. For a limited time, you will also get a HD DVD copy of Peter Jackson’s King Kong bundled in.

The drive itself looks similar to a portable optical or hard drive, has it own power supply and connects to the Xbox 360 via a USB connection. All of the actual video processing demands will be handled by the 360 itself. Unfortunately, Microsoft has still failed to address the HDMI issue since player uses the Xbox 360's existing component outputs. This provides potential issues now and for the future as HD DVD discs can optionally have copy protection implemented that down samples HD content that is not delivered over HDMI. Although studios are not yet electing to use this feature, it’s hard to predict when it could become common, though it’s been speculated as late as 2012.

An advantage to having the drive offered as an add-on when compared to the PS3, gamers can choose whether they want HD disc capability or simply save money on their purchase if they do not. If you already own an Xbox 360, this is a very inexpensive way to upgrade to an entry level HD DVD player.

Hopefully a future hardware revision is in the works with the HD DVD drive integrated into the main unit along with HDMI output. Finger’s crossed.



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