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Official XBox 360 HD-DVD add-on Review Thread


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#1 of 212 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted November 09 2006 - 07:38 AM

Looks like MS beats Sony to the punch as the first HD-DVD add-ons for the 360 hit the stores. Of course, in limited quantities. If you happen to be one of the lucky persons to obtain one, please place a review of the device. My local shop is Out of Stock but it looks like Amazon has availability.
Thomas Eisenmann(Last updated 09/30/11)

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#2 of 212 OFFLINE   Adam Portrais

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Posted November 09 2006 - 11:39 AM

Will be getting mine tomorrow along with Gears of War (and if I had the money; Call of Duty 3, Tony Hawk Project 8, Viva Pinata...too many good things happening at once). I'll post my thoughts Friday night.

#3 of 212 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted November 09 2006 - 12:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Portrais
Will be getting mine tomorrow along with Gears of War (and if I had the money; Call of Duty 3, Tony Hawk Project 8, Viva Pinata...too many good things happening at once). I'll post my thoughts Friday night.

My copy of Gears of War should be sitting on my doorstep when I get home tomorrow. Thank goodness it is not next week, or I would have about 6 HD-DVD's delivered too, and it would be very difficult to decide whether I should watch a movie or two, or play GOW. I think GOW would win out, and I am afraid that once playing started, I will not be able to put the game down. Oblivion fever starts again.......Posted Image

One must have priorities.
Thomas Eisenmann(Last updated 09/30/11)

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#4 of 212 OFFLINE   Mike~Sileck

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Posted November 09 2006 - 12:20 PM

I'll have mine tomorrow afternoon and will be putting it through its paces tomorrow night and through the weekend.

(offtopic - still debating if I should pick up Gears of War .. hmm...)
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#5 of 212 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted November 09 2006 - 12:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike~Sileck
I'll have mine tomorrow afternoon and will be putting it through its paces tomorrow night and through the weekend.

(offtopic - still debating if I should pick up Gears of War .. hmm...)

Gears of War, the MS XBox 360 PS3 killer. If ever a game could be considered a system seller, GOW is it. To top it off, the graphics and gameplay, as reported by about a dozen or so review sites, simply puts most of the Sony releases to shame. This game is not the next Halo, it is much more refined. A game that not only lives up to it's hype, but far surpasses it. Perfect gamming. (Do I sound excited?) You bet, I am.

Let the wars begin.
Thomas Eisenmann(Last updated 09/30/11)

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#6 of 212 OFFLINE   Mike.P

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Posted November 09 2006 - 12:48 PM

Mine will arrive tomorrow as well.

Already picked up GoW today, played it for 4 hours straight. It's been good so far, but there really are some minor annoyances that can grate on you.

Sometimes your squad AI is just completely busted, and will cause you to have to run out from cover, try to save him, but usually get gunned down.

Hopefully co-op will take care of that.

#7 of 212 OFFLINE   Mike~Sileck

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Posted November 09 2006 - 12:49 PM

Ahh you guys couldn't have just said "Its a terrible game, save your money" could you...

Aww shucks, another hit to the wallet .. darn
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#8 of 212 OFFLINE   JackKay

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Posted November 09 2006 - 03:04 PM

You ain't going to believe this but I will be getting my 2nd one tomorrow (?). I had a Pre-Order at Game Crazy since late August. Kept calling all last week about ETA and got a lot of 'I don't knows'. After reading that so many were getting theirs over on AVS I called a local (seattle) CC and the guy told me he had 4. Ran out and grabbed the last one and took it home and low and behold it was a clunker! I had already downloaded the update last week, but I still put the disk in the 360 that came with the drive. Everything looked good, the 360 said aok. I put King Kong in and all the dashboard said was 'READING'. After looking at that for several min I put in 3 different SD DVDs in and the drive starting making rhythmic burring noises. Not with King Kong, but just with the SDs. Half hour on the phone with Microxbox they said take it back to CC. Then I called Game Crazy this evening and they said 'looks like we will have them in tomorrow. If that holds up I will return one to CC and pick up the other in the afternoon. Sorry about taking 2 players up.
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#9 of 212 OFFLINE   Joe Cole

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Posted November 09 2006 - 03:47 PM

My unit arrived this afternoon from an on line retailer. After setting the HD-DVD up with my 360 I popped in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. This film was startling in HD, the computer generated art work used in this movie was actually beautiful. Shadows of which there are a lot of in various sections of this movie are deep and sultry. Images are very sharp but the colors of this movie are muted so they don't jump out at you but blond hair does as do the character's eyes. Eyes are life like and liquid.

I then watched about 30 minutes of King Kong. The grittiness of the early '30s is very sharp and focused and depressing. The few colors are vivid and uniform. Faces and eyes are again detailed and interesting to look at. The over all images of the movie are breath taking and over whelming because there is so much detail to look at. Beard stubble, out of place hairs eyes reflecting sun light and night life. And the boat just left NY city harbor when I stop it for the night.....can't wait for the island animal life.

The one problem i have with the unit is this: My other several hundred DVDs just became poor cousins. I'll just have to sit further back from the TV now when watching them.

So far it is the best $200 ever spent by me on HT equipment. Well I guess technically you would have to include the price of the XBOX 360 into the total.

Oh the audio is noticable better than standard dvd sound. Dialog is clearer and the total sound stage is well intergrated over all into the listening room. Sounds have more detail to me and it is only DD Plus.

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
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#10 of 212 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted November 09 2006 - 04:14 PM

I'm not a gamer...never have been but have to admit the commercials for Gears Of War does look rather cool. I mean really cool. I have absolutely ZERO hand-eye coordination Posted Image but look forward to seeing other fools duke this game out. Posted Image

#11 of 212 OFFLINE   Ryan-G

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Posted November 09 2006 - 04:47 PM

Mini-Review

The contents

The HD-DVD addon comes packaged pretty tightly. Included in the box is the drive, power cable and USB cable, the remote control(With batteries!), King Kong, and a installation disc for the drive. The drive is ~ 1/2 the size of the 360 with the same color scheme and the foldout instructions displays recommend places to put it(Centered on console, beside console, etc).

The remote is a fairly nice piece of work. It includes the same circle button the wireless controlers have to start the console, eject button, standard DVD player buttons including a number pad, volume, mute, channel buttons(It's a universal remote I believe). Additionally it includes all of the colored buttons found on a controller and a series of arrows to navigate. Finally it has a specific button keyed to activating the "Windows media" gateway for computer -> 360 transfers. Overall it's a nice remote, effective, and is very easy to use with the 360.

Setup

Here's where the first problems may arise. You're not supposed to plug the drive into the 360 without running the installation first. The only notice of this is on a small wrapping around the console end of the USB cable and is very easy to dismiss as the usual "If you're an idiot get help before trying to use this!" warnings. I suspect many will try just plugging it in right away, hopefully this doesn't lead to bad things...

Installing the CD first results in a prompt to update the console before running it. Which on my system resulted in it dropping to a black screen without activity. After 10 minutes, I restarted the console without issue. It then ran the install, then prompted me to run another update before using my HD-DVD Player. This went off without a hitch.

Navigation

This was not as easy as it should've been. The console prompts you to navigate the dashboard to start HD-DVD's. The menu it wants you to go to is under media, but there's no clear indication of what to do to launch a disc there. You actually have to scroll down to "Play game" and then one more click to get "Play game" to switch to "Play HD-DVD". It may be possible to start an HD-DVD through the use of the "Play" button on the remote, oddly I didn't think to test that yet.

Video, sound, and playing a movie.

The panel I'm using is a rather cheap Gateway 17" 1280x1024 panel. The sound is (Currently) wired through a servicable 2.1 Altec Lansing speakers.

The video was perfect, played without a hitch in good quality, without any blurring despite my cheap panel. While I'm sure it can look better, it looks damn good. No artifacting anywhere that I could see. Since I also own the SD version of King Kong, I started that at nearly the same time on my computer and compared video quality, impressive, and hopefully to prove to be better once I aquire a 1900x1200 panel.

The sound was very high quality despite my cheap speakers. I don't have time to wire it into my DTS capable 5.1 midiland setup to test it fully, but it appears to be doing it's job quite well.

Playing a movie was a fairly good experience. The HD-DVD drive is very quiet, but the 360 itself runs it's fans at full speed creating a continuous whisper of sound audible enough to probably annoy some. If you don't hear them while playing a game, you'll probably not notice them while watching a movie.

The bad

I've already mentioned the potential setup issue, the hang with updating, and the navigation issue.

The only other problems I ran into are...

1. When I returned to the Title menu after having started playing the movie to look into sound options, it generated a crash. Didn't crash the 360, but it did drop out of movie mode with a error message. Annoying, but doing sound selection before starting the movie did not result in any problems.

2. There's only 1 USB port on the 360(That I can find). So if you use a charge-n-play pack you'll be switching the USB cable frequently.

Overall

Overall it's a fairly decent package. Navigation needs work, and I expect there'll be a bug fix patch down the road if my experience with sound switching is any indication. But the addon does HD-DVD very well to my eye, without any killer problems I've yet found.

#12 of 212 OFFLINE   Stephen Williamson

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Posted November 09 2006 - 05:22 PM

The 360 has 3 USB ports, one on the back and two under the flap at the bottom of the front.

#13 of 212 OFFLINE   JodyL

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Posted November 09 2006 - 05:31 PM

Quote:
2. There's only 1 USB port on the 360(That I can find). So if you use a charge-n-play pack you'll be switching the USB cable frequently.

That's why the HD-DVD add-on gives you two additional USB ports on the back!

Plus the two on the front as mentioned by Stephen.
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#14 of 212 OFFLINE   Ryan-G

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Posted November 09 2006 - 06:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JodyL
That's why the HD-DVD add-on gives you two additional USB ports on the back!

Plus the two on the front as mentioned by Stephen.

LOL, funny part is I looked at the fool things while I was setting it up, turned around, and forgot they were there. Ty both!

#15 of 212 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted November 10 2006 - 04:17 AM

This is now the Official HTF Review Thread of the XBox360 HD DVD add-on.
Please use this thread for reviews by owners of the device only, as well as direct questions to owners.
No format-war type discussions, please.

(The thread is moved to the HD DVD Players Owners Forum.)


#16 of 212 OFFLINE   Mike~Sileck

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Posted November 10 2006 - 01:11 PM

Got mine today

The noise is a little distracting.. or maybe it was the volume of my HD-DVD.

Otherwise, superb picture quality on my Dell 2405 widescreen display (via VGA). Now I have another addiction!!

(P.S. My movie was V For Vendetta. I've heard the dialog on it was spotty, so I can agree with that. I'll be watching a few other movies over the weekend, so I'll post more reactions as I get to use it more. I gotta say that the inclusion of King Kong and the universal remote are HUGE pluses in my book. Thank you Microsoft for doing this right Posted Image. )
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#17 of 212 OFFLINE   JackKay

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Posted November 11 2006 - 01:38 AM

As I was hoping to in post #8 I got another player and it works like a charm. King Kong looks Fantastic! The only problem I have is that I need more HD-DVD movies.

Now here is a question. I have a Toshiba CRT (3 years old, 1080i) that is a 36 inch standard ratio screen. Will movies like Robin Hood and Casablanca fill the screen as the SD dvds do or will it be Window boxed?
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#18 of 212 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted November 11 2006 - 06:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JackKay
As I was hoping to in post #8 I got another player and it works like a charm. King Kong looks Fantastic! The only problem I have is that I need more HD-DVD movies.

Now here is a question. I have a Toshiba CRT (3 years old, 1080i) that is a 36 inch standard ratio screen. Will movies like Robin Hood and Casablanca fill the screen as the SD dvds do or will it be Window boxed?

It should fill the screen completly.
Thomas Eisenmann(Last updated 09/30/11)

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#19 of 212 OFFLINE   Tino

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Posted November 12 2006 - 02:00 AM

Anyone else disappoined in the sound??

Picture is stunning, but have listened to King Kong and MI:3 and they both sound very flat??

Have raised my master volume but still.....
It's gonna be a hell of a ride. I'm ready. .

#20 of 212 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted November 12 2006 - 04:38 AM

Quote:
I have absolutely ZERO hand-eye coordination but look forward to seeing other fools duke this game out.

Same here, Tim. About the only games I've ever been able to play are Pac-Man and Mario! But I do enjoy watching others play this stuff.


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