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Sunday, November 12, 2006
XBOX 360 HD-DVD impressions
I've been playing around with the new XBOX 360 HD-DVD player off and on all day, so I though I would share my initial impressions.

XBOX 360 HD-DVD player unboxed

1. Installation
The player is a breeze to install. After plugging it in and connecting the USB cable to the 360, all you have to do is insert the setup disc (in the 360, not the HD-DVD drive) and wait about 10 seconds for the software to install.

2. Picture quality of HD-DVDs
The picture quality with HD-DVDs is very impressive. Better than the HD I was watching throughout the day on DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket.Using the included "King Kong" disc, I was able to see even the smallest beads of sweat on Jack Black's face. You could also see every piece of stubble on Adrian Brody's face.

3. Picture quality of DVDs
Standard DVDs look much better when played on the new HD-DVD drive than they did on the 360's DVD drive. I am able to see a noticeable improvement in the PQ compared to the DVD in the 360 itself (I used "Revenge of the Sith" for the comparison).

4. The menus
I think my favorite part, aside from the PQ, is the menu system that HD-DVD uses. All menus are accessed in real-time as the movie plays. The video below shows how the menus work and how quickly each scene loads.

XBOX 360 HD-DVD in action on Vimeo

Overall, I think the XBOX HD-DVD is the best way to jump into the HD-DVD/Bluray battle. For less than $200, you get an HD-DVD player (most standalone players are $500), a better 360 remote and the "King Kong" HD-DVD. And if you're a Netflix subscriber, you don't have to shell out a bunch of cash to try out some HD-DVDs. I've got "Mission Impossible 3" and "V for Vendetta" coming this week.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.