Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP/Vista
Connectivity: USB 2.0
Official Xbox 360 HD-DVD Player Website
Last Christmas Microsoft launched their external HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360. At the time it didn’t sell too well for a number of reasons, two of which were its high price and the scant availability of quality titles, not to mention the fact that gamers bought the Xbox 360 for one reason – to play games not films. At the start of 2007 the drive was very rare and hard to come by, but now that has completely changed and they’re much cheaper too! In fact it’s so cheap that it currently is the best way to watch high definition films….on your PC and of course the 360. That’s right, this drive not only connects to your Xbox 360 via USB, but also connects to Windows XP and Vista. I’ll be covering my experiences in adding the drive on Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit.
Ever since Microsoft announced that the drive would connect to the Xbox 360 via USB 2.0 PC owners began to question whether the drive could be tricked into running on Windows XP. Let’s face it, at £130 it’s the cheapest HD solution you can currently get for the PC, and that price is extremely tempting to any Audio/Video enthusiast.
I won’t be doing a review here; I have a very good reason not to. Suffice to say that I run twin 19" Widescreen TFT’s (for the PC) and a single 20.1" Widescreen for the 360, with top quality Altec Lansing 2.1 speakers. I have no HD screen as yet, nor do I have a 5.1 Surround setup so it’s hard for me to comment on all the benefits HD-DVD can give me…however that is about to change over the next few months. Me good mate PR however has recently reviewed his 360 HD-DVD drive so check his review out!
Installation on a Windows platform
As I’ve already stated, the drive is an external unit that uses a USB 2.0 connection. Upon launch the only way people could connect this to the PC was via some software hacks. Luckily Microsoft now provides drivers for Windows platforms. What a bonus!
Windows Vista already has the drivers built into its driver database, so users of the latest Microsoft operating system are already set to go, and this is what I will be working with for this article. Windows XP users have it equally simple. Upon connecting the drive to the OS, XP will see the drive and an additional device, which will throw up the Add Hardware wizard for the newly recognised Xbox Memory Controller as the drive has a large buffer, how large I have no idea but I assume it’s for storing bookmark info etc. Windows Update contains the XP drivers so you can just point the wizard to check online and it should hopefully download and apply those drivers.
Once you have the drive recognised in your chosen OS, you’re almost ready to go. The drive should now work in Windows, and you should be able to read the data on the discs…playing them is an entirely different matter.