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How Does XBox Stand Up as a DVD Player? 45

Luddite Joe asks: "I'm planning on buying myself a DVD player for Christmas, spending maybe 200 bucks or so. I've also considered that I might buy an Xbox a couple of months down the road - but that's less certain. So I think to myself, the Xbox is a DVD player, right? If I hold off a couple of months and just buy the Xbox, I won't be wasting money on a DVD player that is almost immediately redundant. Keeping in mind that I'm buying more or less a low end, single disc DVD - how do the capabilities and quality of the Xbox as a DVD player compare? I don't want to sacrifice quality or features (or level of DVD compatibility), as I can get a pretty decent DVD for what I'm planning on spending."
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How Does XBox Stand Up as a DVD Player?

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  • Well if you have a computer, you can buy a DVD for less than 50 bucks. And a Decoder Card (not required unless you want to be able to play DVD's and do other stuff at the same time) for another 50 bucks. If you want to play it out to your TV, you'll need a TV out video card at about 60 bucks. But if you already have a decent computer with at TV Out video card, and your not immediently worried about being able to use your computer at the same time. You can get DVD for 50 bucks! :)
    • Re:Computer DVD. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pete-classic ( 75983 )
      I went the PC-DVD route. It has its advantages, such as pretty easy region hacking, pretty easy macrovision hacking, really good quality (to my eyes software decoding looks good), less $$.

      OTOH, I bought a macrovison/region hacked standalone because I couldn't cope with the pain-in-the-ass side effects of using the PC. The biggest ones were having something happen on the PC (oops, forgot to close my mail client, and I got new mail) and having the movie pop back into windowed mode, and trying to use a wireless (RF) keyboard for a remote. Having to listen to the PC while watching a movie (frankly, I don't watch movies turned up real loud, and the sound of the disc spinning in the standalone bugs me sometimes.) was a drag, too.

      So, I don't recommend the PC method.

      -Peter
    • No remote control (Score:2, Insightful)

      by erpbridge ( 64037 )
      The one problem with your setup is that there's no remote control included... to navigate the main menu, skip chapters, etc, you'll need to be at the computer.

      Now, that's not a problem for me, for regular movies. I start up a movie, then sit back and watch it. But, for things like Anime, where the include beginning credits and end credits for each episode, sometimes 5-6 per disc, you might want to have chapter forward capability.

      But, I have the same setup at home as what you described, and it works excellent... minus the decoder card, but a PIII-600 or higher kinda negates the need of a decoder card. Only drawback is you have to buy a software decoder (I'm talking from a Windows standpoint, not Linux.)

      A Software decoder, like Intervideo WinDVD, is $39.99. For that amount, go ahead and waste a PCI slot for $10 more. I don't understand why Microsoft didn't just go ahead and include a software decoder built into the OS (Windows XP), and put those guys out of business.... they've already screwed Winzip, PKzip, WinAMP (although I still use it), Roxio (EZ-CD Creator), and others. Once you have the software decoder installed, Windows Media Player (I know, many of you hate it) justs references the drivers and uses them as if they were codecs.
      • Windows XP included winzip? Damn the man! But seriously, I've always wondered why winzip wasn't bundled with windows in the first place, would have been "nice" of MS to bundle the shareware vesion. Oh well :)
        • Well, it didn't bundle in Winzip's software (like bundling in AOL's software). They made built-in Zip file functionality, built into the OS. No extra software is required to open Zip files, extract files, create new Zip files... there's gotta be some functionality of Winzip that didn't get included... and no, it wasn't a license of technology, like CD-burning was licensed from Roxio, or backup to tape was licensed from Veritas.
          • There is nothing revolut about the winzip implementation and it would be dumb not to include it. Not it just means that my XP works as well as my file manager in Redhat 7.1 - big deal - winzip isnt exactly rocket science and the dude has been making a squllion out of it for years.
            • I totally agree, considering the winzip algorithm is public. But I HATE the fact that find automatically searches through zip files for what your looking for. And I can't find a way to shut it off? Anyone know how??
  • To be honest, that's exactly the thought I had about the PS2 when it came out. I thought to myself "I could just wait to get one of those, and then I can play DVD's and games!"

    I didn't, though. Waiting to pay 300$ for a PS2 (which recently, I have acquired) became more of a hassle than anything. I ended up buying a middle-of-the-road toshiba DVD player.

    Why?

    Well, when I have company over etc., with the "component", there is no noise from fans etc. Also, since I have other equipment in my rack, the Toshiba definitely wins hands down over the game consoles as being "pleasing to the eye".

    I understand that some people may use the PS2/Xbox etc for their DVD enjoyment, and that's fine. It definitely isn't for everyone, though. Think about what exactly you want in a movie experience, and judge from there. DVD players aren't that expensive anymore.
    • Well, we all have different stories to tell, but seriosly, Waiting to pay 300$ for a PS2? Where do you live? For at least the last 6 months in Florida (and I'd assume any largish state), if not longer, PS2's have been in stock. Maybe not floor-to-ceiling, maybe not EVERY store, but it shouldn't have taken more than 2 or 3 stores to find one. Now of course, they're everywhere.

      Back in early 2000 when DVD's were starting to take up more than one shelf at Wal-Mart, I thought about buying a standalone player. But I had committed to buying a PS2 for Gran Turismo. When Sony confirmed DVD capability, I waited for my pre-order call and picked one up.

      Now, all I buy or rent is DVD and my wife and I have no trouble in our living room. From the couch, the fan is inaudible and all we really need is a better TV to go with our sound system.

      And let's not forget soon-to-be-released hacks that will allow VCD or MP3 playback like the ones on Dreamcast. Of course, YMMV.

      GTRacer
      - Will Xbox for MAME

  • All your answers, opinions and favorite trolls are here [slashdot.org].
  • XBox lacks features (Score:3, Informative)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2001 @11:54AM (#2589883) Homepage Journal
    You can now get a DVD player for around a hundred dollars that will play DVDs, CDs, MP3s, VCDs, SVCDs, and mini-DVDs. I doubt you'll get all that from the XBox. Also, does the XBox offer digital audio out? Does it offer component video? Does the XBox run silent when playing discs?
    • by Cy Guy ( 56083 )
      You can now get a DVD player for around a hundred dollars that will play DVDs, CDs, MP3s, VCDs, SVCDs, and mini-DVDs

      I just saw an ad on TV from one of the Marts (K or Wal, not sure which and their websites weren't helpful) that said they will be having a one day only sale on an APEX DVD player for $69.99 on THANKSGIVING DAY ONLY.

      My understanding of APEX, is that even their entry level model (which I think is AD3201) can play all the disc format you listed (not sure of Svcds though) including copies you have burned yourself on CD-R and CD-RW. For $70 bucks, even if you did decide to get XBox, I don't see how it would be wasted money to have extra box around that can play so many forms of media. Even if just becomes an audio only player for MP3s burned to CDR, it would probabably worth it. I'm tempted to get for father who already has a older, namebrand DVD player that only plays Studio DVD's just so I can send him home-burned copies of my home video of the grandkid.

      (PS - if someone else catches this ad, please post here to which Mart it was.)
      • I know one of my friends just picked up two Apex 500W units for $88 at a Wal-Mart in Windham, CT, 2 weeks ago (one for his personal use, one for a gift for parents.) I tested it, and it plays CD-R VCD's just fine (Burned a MPG to VCD using a cheap CD-R, then played it.) So, that shows it has no problem reading cheap CD-R's. It plays his DVD's just fine. I just haven't tested the audio CD playing capability, which it also says it can do.

        One thing I'm curious about is if these things will handle the screwy copy-protection audio CD's.
      • I work at a Wal-Mart store as the Electronics manager while I attend college, and I know that the Apex model we got is the AD-1000. It's supposed to sell for something closer to $75-80, but I know different regions have different ads that come out, so YMMV. I know for the upper Midwest, all the stores I know are getting the AD-1000.
      • i think i saw that add too, and it was for k-mart (and their blue light wierd guy :)
    • Actually, the X-Box does offer digital audio out, although you need to purchase a separate adapter to have the optical port available. There are several adapters available, and they do include support for S-Video as well as component video. Some game discs will support progressive scan video, and since you need component video to play progressive scan anything, the support must clearly be there. And also - for those really wanting quality stuff - Monster Cable provides all of these accessories for the X-Box, although for a little bit more. But hey, it's Monster! Who's complaining?

      As far as running silent - why do you want your discs to run silent? Especially if you're worried about digital audio support? If you want that detailed of sound, then I don't think you'll be that picky about how quiet the discs spin, although I could be wrong. I own one, and it is definitely not noticeable (to me, at least).
    • Why was this modded up? It consists solely of baseless speculations about the XBox and provides no new information.
  • I can't answer the specifics of the question (whether or not the quality is in fact different), but I have found that DVD players, much like CD players, are all really the same. You pay for features, and maybe a little better error correction, but otherwise they're all pretty much the same quality.

    I have an Apex DVD player (the one that lets you run without copy protection or encryption), which cost me $180 (at the time, most players were selling for around $250, so it was unbelievably cheap). It's very good quality, and works very well (though I hear the special edition Abyss is one of the few DVDs it has trouble with).

    If you're interested in saving a few bucks, I'm pretty sure the DVD player in the XBox or PS2 is as good as any basic player out there (though I'm not sure if a remote is included with the unit). The Gamecube is $100 cheaper, but if you pick up a $100 DVD player, you're about even. If you want something special, like progressive scanning, then you'll need to get a seperate player.
    • DVD players are not all the same. Without even getting into progressive scan or other advanced features there are many quality differences between DVD players. This is different then CD players, since the DVD data is encoded, and requires decoding while CD audio is unencoded and just needs to be converted to analog. Poor quality decoding can cause video artifacts that you may not notice if you're used to VHS, but if someone pointed one out to you, you'd hate your player forever. Once you know what to look for you can't stop looking.
  • Xbox DVD cannot be taken advantage of without purchasing an optional remote control. According to this article (click on the "Choosing a console link on the left"... Don't shoot the messenger if this has changed since it was released. G
    • Here's the links. Sorry... http://www.msnbc.com/news/621512.asp G
      • Well even that link is kind of vague, but here is ablurb om MS reasoning for this from FGNonline [fgnonline.com], they claim that they did it to make the box more affordable, partly blaiming the cost to license the DVD movie decoder (interesting to hear MS complaining about the MPAA's IP policies in this way).

        But provided you are willing to pay the additional $30 for the remote/receiver package, you may find that it is harder to find than an Xbox console itself. (for example Amazon is currently out of stock [amazon.com]). I guess MS guessed wrong when they thought only 10-15% of Xbox buyer would want the DVD playback capability. But of course, its no secret that one of MS's historic problems is trying guess what consumers want built-in, then making the decision for them whther they like it or not.
  • From other posts here on Slashdot, it has been reported that in order to play DVDs on the XBox, you have to buy their DVD Remote for another $30+.

    Gotta love MS and their "DVD support".
    • This is exactly why I hate opinions about Microsoft from /. users. XBox does have DVD and yes to take advantage of it you have to buy a 30 dollar remote.

      So where do you get off saying-

      'Gotta love MS and their "DVD support"'

      I can't think of one game station that didn't cost money to upgraded. Nintendo 64 and their 4mb memory expansion card.

      "Gotta love Nintendo and their "High-Resolution Game Support"

      PS2 and their hard drive expansion.

      "Gotta love Sony and their "Memory Storage Support"

      They all have expansions. It is part of console dogma. Release a console, add accessories to make money. Next time you make a comment as stupid as that last one you made about the DVD Support. Why don't you go out and the street and let your mom kick you in the back of the skull to give you some common sense, because right now you sound like a fucking moron.

    • Hmm, let's do some figuring..

      Both consoles: $299

      DVD Support
      PS2: Included
      XBox: $30

      Hard Disk
      PS2: ~125 (estimated-unreleased)
      XBox: Included

      Draw your own conclusions.
      • Since when did you need a hard drive to play a dvd?

        People want the console to play games, and dvd movies, the hard drive is a non issue right now.

        so the correct calculations to play dvds are:

        Xbox $299 + $30
        (or in the UK 299 gb pounds available sometime next year + about 30 pounds)

        PS2
        $299 (or in the UK 199 gb pounds)

        So if your in the US you save $30, if your in the UK you save about 130 pounds and a 3 or 4 month wait - Make your own mind up.
        • "Since when did you need a hard drive to play a dvd?"

          True enough. But let's remember, we are talking about a *game* console, here...buying a PS2 with the sole intent of playing DVDs is silly. And a hard disk will have definite implications for console gaming. All I'm saying is that I'd rather pay $30 for an add-on to watch movies, as opposed to a $125 add-on to actually improve gameplay. That's all.
  • Since the Xbox can talk HDTV, what about the built-in DVD player? Is it a progressive scan?

    If so I'd get one as I'm about to upgrade my DVD player....
  • I've been thinking about doing the same thing with a Playstation 2. Can anybody compare the quality of a PS2 with a certain DVD player? I understand the first model had some issues. Does the remote control option work well?

    And before anybody tells me to rent one and try it, I did already. Only problem was, somebody that rented the machine before me setup the parental controls with a password. It would only play G rated movies and I don't own any.

  • I think that the DVD features on the XBox are going to be pretty crappy, just because the dvd-playing feature was a bonus to entice people to buy. Yes, I may in fact use the DVD features on it if I get a VGA converter box for my monitor, and that's just because my parents won't allow a TV in my room, and I probably will get an XBox for christmas. O_O. Don't feel like shelling out $50 for a dvd-drive if I don't have room to put it in my comp.

    -the little man's perspective-
  • I own both an xbox and a dvd player. I am selling my DVD player because I also purchased the $30 playback kit for the XBOX, and it works well for what I want. I'm not an art student or independent film maker, so I couldn't care less about all of the features. I just want it for plug-and-play! Plug in the DVD disk, and hit play. It works well. It also frees up an A/V port or S port. I have too many cables hanging out the back of my entertainment center.
  • xine. 0.9.4. With dvdnav plugin. Running on debian.

    Currently connected to a monitor and regular TV, poor-man version of 1024x768 projector (overhead projector+projection LCD panel) didn't arrive yet.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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