Monday, February 25, 2008

No More Xbox 360 HD DVD Players

As if we didn't expect this: Microsoft says it will no longer produce HD DVD players for the Xbox 360. However, according to Reuters, the company will continue to service the ones that have already been sold, honouring the warranty agreements.

Currently, the hard cover book-sized HD DVD player for the Xbox 360 sells for about $130, but that price is likely to come down very soon.

The fact that Blu-ray has won the high-definition DVD format war could very well affect the gaming market. Without the option of an add-on player, Sony's PlayStation 3 has a serious advantage over the Xbox 360. It's obvious that Microsoft sees this advantage, given that it recently dropped the price of the Xbox 360 console by $50 in order to better compete in the market. (It's worth noting that both consoles, as well as the Nintendo Wii, are selling very well).

But when I think about it, will HD movie watching really have that much of an effect on the sale of these consoles? Most people I know that watch Blu-ray movies using the PS3 didn't buy the PS3 for that purpose: it was just an added benefit. And a smart one at that. But I don't think the built-in Blu-ray player will be the deciding factor between an Xbox 360 or a PS3. The games and the overall gaming-related experience is what will make the difference. The Blu-ray functionality is just icing on the cake. With that said, it is some pretty tasty icing.

There is still no word on whether Microsoft plans to launch a Blu-ray player for the Xbox 360, but I wouldn't be surprised to see one surface in the future.


Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with these devices. Will the HD DVD player play DVD's on my TV?

Marketnews - Christine Persaud said...

Hi Anonymous,

The HD DVD player for the Xbox 360 connects to the Xbox 360 (which is for gaming) and then would allow you to play HD DVD discs (not "regular" DVDs) through the player and to a connected TV. It acts much like a "regular" DVD player, except you need these special types of disc and a high-def TV to watch them. The picture quality is better than "standard" DVD. However, the HD DVD format is essentially no longer in existence; so your choices are now "regular" DVD, or the other high-def DVD format, called Blu-ray. You can purchase a Blu-ray disc player that will play these discs on a high-def TV. There is now currently no option for playing high-def discs using the Xbox 360, but the PlayStation 3 has a Blu-ray player built into it.

I hope this answer hasn't confused you too much! Let me know if you require further clarification.


Anonymous said...

out of the battle HDDVD is and always be the better format.

Lee_D said...

At the moment, the consensus amongst pundits is that Microsoft is unlikely to release a Blu-ray peripheral for the XBOX360, as they are working hard on increasing the traction of XBOX live as an A/V platform.

But who knows?