HD DVD For the Xbox 360 Rocks

I finally got home to Bonaire a couple nights ago, and among the first things I did was hook up my new HD-DVD drive to my Xbox 360 (which is connected to my Samsung 62” 720p DLP via the VGA/PC cable). Installation was a breeze, although in hindsight I should have connected the USB cable to the back of the Xbox 360 before loading the installation software because as it was, I managed to unplug a couple of things in the back of my Xbox 360 when trying to cable things up during the software installation. I then put the new HD-DVD drive through its paces with “King Kong” in HD-DVD format (included with the drive – also included was an Xbox 360 remote).

I also dug out my regular wide screen version of King Kong for regular DVD playback, put it in my upscaling DVD player, and then sync’d up both the HD and regular titles to the same point in the movie so I could compare current technology (DVD) and new technology (HD DVD).

All I can say is “Wow!”.

I had not realized what I had been putting up with as “good” quality with my regular DVDs until I compared them to the output of HD DVDs. And it’s only going to get better once I get my 1080p HDTV delivered in a few weeks. Last night I watched “16 Blocks” on the HD-DVD drive, and was tickled to be able to read the print on signs, papers, and other props in the movie with great ease because of the image clarity.

Whereas there are all sorts of scaling artifacts in the DVD image, the HD-DVD image is incredibly crisp and a delight to behold. My only complaint, and this is a minor one indeed, is that the HD-DVD drive has no display on it to show me how far along into the movie I happen to be during viewing. I know I can get the Xbox 360 to show this to me on-screen, but it’s visually disruptive.

In any event, now that I have tasted HD-DVD, I will be hard pressed to go back to regular DVD where a choice between the two exists. And as I was one of the unfortunate many unable to procure a Sony PS3 on Friday, I won’t be testing Blu-ray DVDs any time soon, although I suspect the visual difference between Blu-ray and HD DVD to be minimal or non-existant.

One thing I do like about HD-DVD titles I purchased is that most of them seem to include a DVD version as well, so that in locations where I don’t have HD-DVD playback (like my notebook computer when I travel) I can still watch the movie without having to buy a second DVD-only copy (as if I would do that anyhow). And Amazon.com has a deal where if you buy three HD-DVDs you’ll get a 10% discount on all HD-DVDs in 2007. Nice little additional bonus.

Now I need to go buy another HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 in my bedroom… At $199 it’s a pretty good deal, I think.

I give the HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 a 9.0 out of 10.0 on The Richter Scale.


One Response to “HD DVD For the Xbox 360 Rocks”

  1. Canuck says:

    Yes the Xbox HD DVD drive rocks, picked one up over here for $159 Canadian $$$. Using it on Windows Vista Ultimate x64 with Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra. No Problem.