Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Xbox 360 with built-in HD-DVD and DVD/HD-DVD hybrid discs revisited

Eek! There's several Xbox 360 pieces of news I want to cover, but I'll put two together as they are related.

Digi-times is reporting/rumoring that yet again, Microsoft is planning on making a 360 model with a built in HD-DVD drive (NOT FOR GAMES). This rumor has resurfaced at least a half a dozen times, and it gets debunked every time. Microsoft is still denying it of course.

However, Toshiba has re-announced their hybrid discs. They say the new discs are a triple layer hybrid that can have a single HD-DVD layer with a dual layer DVD embedded (8.5GB). The opposite is also possible, also allowing for a 30GB dual layer of HD-DVD with a single layer of DVD.

These new hybrids are a definite upgrade from the older versions. The first version of hybrid discs were double-sided, with DVD on one side and HD-DVD on the other side. The next generation had a single layer of HD-DVD and DVD on the same side. Obviously, this latest version will be the way to go.

What does this mean? These hybrid discs can be played in regular DVD drives, and have a HD-DVD version included, or extra HD content for those who have a HD-DVD player. This has the potential to make the transition to HD-DVD much easier to handle. For Xbox 360 gaming, a game could use the DVD dual layer and then have extra content (non-gameplay) on the HD-DVD layer.

Continue reading...

For those who have to make a Blu-ray comment, JVC has previously made similar hybrid discs, but those discs appear to have been dropped. Sony will have little interest in supporting DVD as they still have to pay royalties to Toshiba if they use the format. Not to mention the manufacturing process for hybrid HD-DVDs makes more sense than hybrid Blu-ray discs. HD-DVD and DVD manufacturing are similar where as the Blu-ray manufacturing process is significantly different.

There are already a few hybrid HD-DVD movies on the market (the double sided type). It seems that Toshiba will be making the most effort to make for a simple transition at this point.

The news on the new hybrid makes the built-in "HD-DVD drive" rumor a bit more plausible. Many gamers have already shown disdain for "early-adopters getting screwed" if a HD-DVD 360 was to come out next year. However, as long as the HD-DVD drive isn't used for games, everything will be fine. Microsoft has made it very clear that the HD-DVD drive is NOT to be used for games.


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