Nintendo's hot Wii U console is set to ship next year, but one thing that won't be a part of the package is DVD or Blu-ray movie playback. According to Nintendo, customers already have DVD and Blu-ray players, and they are so cheap that you can get one easily without them bundling that into the Wii U software.
Wii U does not have DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities. The reason for that is that we feel that enough people already have devices that are capable of playing DVDs and Blu-ray, such that it didn't warrant the cost involved to build that functionality into the Wii U console because of the patents related to those technologies.
Announced at Comic-Con, the new price drop on the HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 will lower the unit’s price to $179 (down from $199.99) starting August 1. As an added incentive, Toshiba’s Perfect Offer has been extended to the 360 HD-DVD Player – anyone who purchases the HD-DVD add-on will be able to select five free HD-DVDs from a list of 15 through a mail-in offer. Don’t expect the greatest selection of movies, though, as is the case with the five free Blu-ray movies that come with the purchase of a PlayStation 3. But free is free.
Microsoft also teased the HD-DVD release of Heroes: Season 1 and 300; Xbox Live will be home to some exclusive content. On August 14, 300 will be available for download in HD, and for a limited time, the pilot episode of Heroes will be free to download.
It certainly looks like Microsoft is pushing hard with HD-DVD, and understandably so – Blu-ray has been the more successful of the two next-gen DVD formats as of late. And the success of Blu-ray is of major support to Sony and the PlayStation 3 - and Microsoft isn’t looking to do them any favors.
While the Xbox 360 is a great game machine, apparently DVD movie playback leaves a lot to be desired. By many accounts, the HD-DVD add-on plays back high definition content well, but according to a report on ExtremeTech, the DVD playback engine has horrible playback flaws. Many argue that the DVD playback on the Xbox 360 is good enough, and since the technology is essentially included for free, there is little room to complain. However, ExtremeTech details the flaws with specific examples, starting with the failure of the Silicon Optix HQV benchmark disc. A “perfect” device would score 130 points for the tests on the disc, but ExtremeTech indicates that the Xbox 360 scores a meager 20 points total. In contrast, the Home Theater Blog review of the Playstation 3 gave the console 120 points for DVD playback.
ExtremeTech follows up with specific DVD examples of the flaws in the DVD playback, and some of the examples are stark. The comments for the article are also somewhat illustrative, highlighting some possible issues with the review itself. There are some just complaints; despite ExtremeTech’s claims that the Xbox 360 fails to outperform cheap DVD players, all of the comparisons come against an $800 Denon DVD player. In fairness to ExtremeTech, the Denon serves as an example of the gold standard DVD player that gets things right, but some examples against a lower cost DVD player would have been nice. Other complaints stem from the fact that some of the source material might be unfair due to flaws in the mastering process; perhaps the article’s author will clarify some of these issues. Overall, though, the flawed DVD playback sticks out only because of Microsoft’s excellent execution in gaming and HD content, and given Microsoft’s responsiveness in the past, highlighting the issue may mean that a future system update will fix the problems.
Read More | ExtremeTech
© Gear Live Media, LLC. 2007 – User-posted content, unless source is quoted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License. Gear Live graphics, logos, designs, page headers, button icons, videos, articles, blogs, forums, scripts and other service names are the trademarks of Gear Live Inc.