Microsoft has finally announced pricing for their HD DVD Player add-on for the Xbox 360 in North America. While no date has been set, the device will sell for $199.99 USD, and will included the HD DVD version of King Kong along with the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote control. For those not in the know, the HD DVD Player allows you to view HD DVD movies, delivering six times the resolution of a standard DVD. With the next Xbox 360 dashboard update comes the ability to output the signal in 1080p (same goes for games, which will be upconverted.)
While not super-cheap, getting and HD DVD Player for $200 can’t be seen as anything other than a bargain, as the cheapest standalone unit runs for $500 USD - and that one can’t even play Xbox 360 games.
Some info from the Tokyo Game Show 2006 has stated that the XBOX 360 will receive 1080p support (1920x1080) through a dashboard update coming this year. Current games and even DVD’s will be up-converted to this extended resolution, but no native 1080p content has been announced yet. I would imagine that the update is namely due to the upcoming release of the HD-DVD add-on which supports 1080p media. It is also a good tactic to take away some of the hype from the PS3 being released in November, which will support 1080p. Now if they would only add an HDMI port to the thing, it’d be a true HD machine!
Read More | Playfeed
Earlier at the Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft promised that the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive would support the full 1080P resolution that the format offers. Now, a report on Seattle Post-Intelligencer indicates that the ability to display this resolution will be given to Xbox 360 owners via a free software update. Microsoft did not announce and HDMI cable for the system, but one would hope that the component and VGA outputs would support 1080P.
Update: Full 1080P scaling for DVD and HD-DVD will only happen over the VGA connection. On component video connections, DVD contect is restricted to 480P, and HD-DVD will be restricted to 1080i. Game content will support 1080P over component or VGA connections.
Read More | Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Sega recently displayed builds of Virtua Tennis for the Playstation 3 running in full 1080P resolution, according to a report by 1up. Assuming that 1080P resolution support makes it into the shipping product, this would allow Virtua Tennis to join Gran Turismo HD in the list of games that support the highest resolution display mode of the Playstation 3. People have debated the usefulness of supporting a resolution that so few end users will be able to access, but it is interesting to see what games will have the spare processing power to push that many pixels.
Read More | 1up
After its recent debut at the IFA, Philips has released its Ambilight TV with models 32PF9731D and 42PF9731D, featuring 1366 x 768 resolution panels, and its 37PF9731D with a 1920 x 1080 1080p set. All three feature Philips’ Pixel Plus technology integrated with digital tuners and boast 2x HDMI ports along with two RGB scart sockets, component video input, S/PDIF in/out and an Ethernet port on the rear. Philips also utilizes Dolby Digital for full surround sound, and a USB connector for easy play.
Philips claims that Ambilight “makes an impressive contribution to the overall viewing experience with ambient light to complement the colours and light intensity of the image on screen. It creates ambiance, stimulates more relaxed viewing and improves perceived picture detail, contrast and colour.”
To experience Ambilight for yourself visit Philips. At price points of £1,799 (~$3396), £2,499 (~$4717) and £3,000 (~$5663), we may have to wait to catch Ambilight at the neighbors’ next Superbowl party.
Read More | Trusted Reviews
Gee Sung Choi, President of Samsung Digital Media Business Electronics, delivered the opening address “The Next Step in the Digital Renaissance – Creating Rich Digital Experiences” at Berlin’s IFA 2006 consumer electronics exhibition this past Friday.
“By displaying Samsung’s products matched to European furniture and interiors, customers can really feel the experience of the newest designs of digital products,” Choi said.
An amazing array of products will be displayed at the IFA, including a full HD 1080p LCD TV, the first Blu-ray disc player for the European Market, a new concept MP3 player, and an extensive array of products for mobile TV. In addition, the company also is exhibiting 70” full-high-definition LCD panels, 82” digital information displays (DIDs) and other cutting-edge products.
Read More | Samsung Press Release
Just in time for the holidays, Plextor announced today that their PX-B900A Blu-Ray Disc drive will be released to distributors in North and South America this October. This new multi-function drive promises to support the next generation of optical storage data technology.
The PX-B900A can burn more than 9 hours of HD video (about 23 hours of SD) on a dual-layered 50 GB disc. Compatible with Windows software, it works with write speeds DVD-RAM, Dual Layer DVD, Double Layer DVD, DVD±R/RW, and CD-R/RW. The drive comes bundled with a rewritable 25GB BD-RE media disc and software WinDVD BD, Ulead VideoStudio 10 Plus, DVD Movie factory, BurnNow, Data-Add, and BD-DiscRecorder. Also included in this package is a 1-year full warranty and unlimited toll-free tech support.
As an early fan of Plextor, I am hoping that Santa is passing out lots of these, because at an MSRP of $999.99, it’s more than a tad over my budget.
Read More | Plextor Corporation
Samsung unveiled the world’s largest LCD panel, a mere 70”, at the International Meeting on Information Displays (IMID) on August 23, in Daegu, Korea. For now, this gives Samsung the second place seat in largest panel displays to Panasonic’s monstrous 103” TH-103PZ600U plasma display which will be available this holiday season on a Built-to-Order basis costing a cool $70k + tax.
The new Samsung display is not only big, but includes all of the latest and greatest technologies that only Samsung can bring to an LCD panel. It is capable of producing Full HD, or up to 1080p at 120Hz refresh rate giving you just over 8ms refreshes as compared to 17ms on a conventional display running at 60Hz. Additionally, the panel produces these hi-res images at a brilliant 2000:1 contrast ratio. Put this all together and you get today’s clearest scenes, from fast moving action to slow mushy romance. Additionally, the entire room can enjoy this 70” of clarity due to the 180° of viewing angle offered by the display.
The official release date and price of the Samsung 70” displays is not yet released, but don’t expect to see these puppies at your local Best Buy until at least next summer likely carrying a price tag somewhere in the neighborhood of a new Civic.
Read More | Samsung
One of the demonstrations that Sony made at E3 was a super-high resolution version of Gran Turismo, tentatively called Gran Turismo HD. The technical demo utilized the assets from Gran Turismo 4 ran at 1080p resolutions at 60 frames per second. Now, Japanese site Game Watch has made a set of full resolution screen captures from the technical demonstration available for download. At their site, users can grab a ZIP file with 10 high-resolution images. The sharpness of the images is amazing, and the screen grabs show some effects like depth-of-field. The environments are a little sparse, since they are based around the Playstation 2 version of the game, but still give gamers hope for what a full version of Gran Turismo could be for the Playstation 3.
Read More | Game Watch Japan