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on 13 August 2007
I too just made the upgrade to the HD DVD drive for the xbox 360.

Setting this up seems pretty straight forward and yes your xbox 360 needs to have connection to the internet so that it can download some updates. This won't take long.

The package and features include:
External HD DVD drive
Remote Controller and batteries
The HD DVD drive has 2 extra USB ports
installation disc and manual
Cable to connect HD DVD drive to the back of your 360
Requires its own power supply but thankfully its a lot smaller than the brick that you need for the 360.

Picture quality is great, again, as other reviewers have stated you will not really notice that much of a difference between the HD DVD's and standard DVDs but to be honest to really notice the improved detail quality, hook it up to a huge projector or massive 40+ in" LCD/Plasma TV and then play your old standard dvds on it and then say you can't notice any difference!

Also it might help if you change the resolution settings on your xbox 360 display (ie 720P, 1080i and 1080P if your TV supports these resolutions) plus use either component/VGA/HDMI cable instead of the composite (ie red/white and yellow connectors) These will give you a much noticable difference. But again what cable you can use will depend on what connections your TV/monitor can accept.

Another great thing about the HD DVD drive is that all HD DVD's are region free so you can play Asian, Japanese, USA, UK and European HD DVD movies in your HD DVD drive (This does NOT apply to standard DVDs). I recently purchased a HD DVD that had quite a lot of scratches and it played fine Plus you can hook the external HD DVD drive to your pc and watch movies on there (provided your pc is powerful enough to do that)..

One last thing is that the external drive is quiet and don't heat up to crazy temperatues during operation, and after watching HD DVD's and other standard DVDs, taking them out of the drive and feeling how cool they are to the touch is assuring.
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on 10 August 2007
Just a thought...since it has USB leads, I've tried to run it through the PC to watch Hot Fuzz & it worked!!! It recognised it straight away and was up and running in no time. So if you want you can bypass the 360 and use it on the computer instead.
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on 15 March 2007
Just popped in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith and was blown away by what I saw! The picture quality is much higher than just in the standard 360 drive. So it confirms that it does indeed upscale using the VGA cable. I didn't find it noisy with the film on either. You can also play American discs as well so if you look at US Amazon you can browse through the many upcoming releases.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 August 2016
When this machine was first released, I thought it was excellent. At the time, there was a 'war' going on over which HD format would dominate. It was either going to be Microsoft's HD DVD player or Sony's Blu-ray player ... and, ultimately, Sony was victorious. Today, most people have completely forgotten about HD DVD's ...

But such discs were equivalent to Blu-ray's. There was literally no noticeable different in terms of the experience of the viewer. Not knowing which would emerge the victor, I bought this player. It attaches to an Xbox 360 console. It plays HD DVD's, standard DVD's and CD's. The picture quality is superb. The player is designed to complement the Xbox games console.

Yet it was to become obsolete within just a couple of years ... So I bought a Blu-ray player. Personally, I'm happy with either. Given that HD DVD's haven't been manufactured in years, I don't recommend this product to anyone. But while it lasted, it was nice.
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on 1 March 2007
For what you are paying for this little unit, it's an absolute bargain!

Installed mine last night and sat down to watch Babel and The Departed. Both have stunning picture on my 32" Panasonic HD LCD. The whole menu interface has changed as well on some discs. With The Departed, the film starts playing right away and you can bring the menu up on screen at any time, it just slides up from the bottom with some rather neat animation and overlays itself.

Just to clarify some previous reviews regarding region coding...

At present, there is NO region coding on HD DVD's. You can buy American discs and they will play fine (both the discs mentioned above are American imports). However, some of the HD DVD's come as combo discs which have the new HD format on one side and the standard DVD on the other. The (region free) HD DVD side will play fine but the Standard DVD on the flip side is still subject to the current region coding structure. If you have a UK Xbox 360, this is region 2.

There has been some issue made over the omission of any facility to provide an audio output capable of supporting DTS HD & Dolby True HD (new sound encoding formats). At present, the player takes whatever audio track is selected and downmixes it to regular Dolby Digital 5.1. I've got a full 5.1 home theater to take advantage of this and having listened to a wide range of DD and DTS 5.1 soundtracks in the past, the output from the player is more than sufficient. Rumour is abound that Microsoft are working on an update that will allow the player to convert the audio stream to full 1.5mbps DTS instead of Dolby Digital.

I've always been an early adopter of new technology but with the current prices of both standalone HD DVD and Blu Ray players, this is a safe bet until there is a clearer picture of which picture which format will prevail in the long term.

Who knows? If Blu Ray does eventually come out on top (personally I don't think it'll happen though), what's to stop Microsoft releasing an add-on Blu Ray drive?? Stranger things have happened....

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on 28 February 2008
Got the HD player for Christmas and I am really delighted with the quality of picture/sound that it gives out. For the price you really cannot beat it, the player also upscales normal DVD's so all my DVD's HD or not look great!
I also took adavantage of the 5 free HD DVD's from Microsoft which is superb, 5 free DVD's for nothing so that made the whole deal even better.

The only dark cloud on the Horizon is that Toshiba are no longer going to support this format, which means that the Xbox 360 is shortly going to be the only way that you can view HD DVD's. How many movie companies will produce HD films on this basis?? I doubt very few if any. It seems that Blue Ray is going to win out.

The only way that I can see this format being saved is if the coming Xbox 360 Ultimate has the HD player bulit in (as rumoured) and there are massive sales resulting in a demand for the HD format and other HD players.
Unfortunately I think it is unlikely. So in short its a great player but you may have nothing new to play on it before long!!
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on 29 November 2006
This DVD drive is a big money saver and for once the big company isn't forcing you to buy it as it isn't essential, only when you're good and ready to be able to have this technology do you then think about adding this to your home entertainment, unlike a certain sony product...

I have viewed this in action and if you have sky hd, which looks pretty good, bbc preview hd is a good channel to see how clear hd is, this is nearly a next step up from the quality from this, better audio is also noticable (tru surround).

In my opinion, got a hdtv, got a xbox 360, got some money to burn, oh and an explosive sound system, then go for it, you wont grumble!

To concur with the last review I read, it does have trusurround and so on, this is ran through the console itself, the only warning is you need to make sure you use the correct connections as some do not supply the tru surround support, which the last reviewer must of experieced, but now I've clarified this, make sure you have a component cable or vga, as this will set in stone your full on experience with hd technology.
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on 30 June 2007
I bought this from another store at a cheaper price. (Game something) you guys can figure it out. This is the best way to get into the Hd dvd world at a less costly manner. It is cheaper than stand alone hd dvd player which cost around £299. The picture queality is amazing, you get up to 1080i on this but if you have an elite with hdmi connection it delivers a 1080p resolution. You can really see the difference with HD movies. The first movie i saw was harry potter and the goblet. That was simply amazing to see the bright colours, sounds etc in hi def.

standard DVD's also look great in this. Regarding the movies available on hd dvd. There is a small but good range available in the uk online and in stores but they are expensive. Try virgin mega stores as you can get most hd dvds for around £15 onwards. Also try american sites that sell hd dvds. They have a much wider range than the uk and newer releases than us. Like the matrix which is not even out here yet and yet it is out on hd dvd in the US. Try i bought around 70% of my hd dvds from them. They are english guys in the us.
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on 12 January 2007
The (current - rumours suggest there may be a revised model toward the end of the year) XBox 360 can only output multi-channel audio via the optical cable, which means that you cannot get uncompressed TrueHD audio from the machne, just as other reviewers have suggested.

Currently, the 360 reads the on-disc audio (including Dolby TrueHD streams) and uses the hardware encoder to turn this into standard Dolby Digital just as with any game. However, Microsoft have revealed that the next dashboard update will allow the stream to be converted to full (1.5Mb/s) bitrate DTS, which should sound a lot better than the current solution, and as any old laserdisc owner will tell you, full bitrate DTS is pretty impressive in itself.
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on 1 September 2012
I purchased an HD DVD upgrade unit for my Xbox 360 last year (2011) for approximately £10. Now, although the HD DVD has lost it's war with Blu Ray as a media, it does not deter the fact that quite a lot of films that were transferred to the HD DVD format are actually superior than those that went to Blu Ray!

Couple the great quality with the cost of the films, you can now pick up bargain HD DVD's off Amazon and from other stores from as little as £1. My entire Bourne collection cost me £4.25, £20 cheaper than the blu ray alternative and better quality.

I will concede that this device is not for new release films as there will not be any new releases on this, but the trade off is that the films that have been released already have dropped in price so quickly that it is a crime not to pick them up!

Any useful tips, fire "list of hd dvd" into a search engine and you will be quite supprised at how many films have already been released, then transfer those titles to Amazon and check the price compared to the blu ray edition.

I hope this is helpful.
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