With the system correctly setup, I can now enjoy a complete HD experience, so in went King Kong and onto the couch I went with the wireless keyboard and mouse.
Using CyberLink PowerDVD Ultra version 7.3, I was able to play our HD media with no fuss and the player is easy to use thanks to the fact that PowerDVD has come bundled with DVD players for a number of years now. After selecting the right optical drive under the select ‘source menu’ and clicking play, the movie started to play! Since I am not using an Xbox 360 the included remote control wouldn’t work, so the wireless keyboard and mouse saved the day.
In just a few minutes, I was able to hook up the Xbox 360 HD DVD player and use it on my HTPC. The HD content was easily handled my the ATI Radeon 2600 XT graphics card and the HDMI cable seemed to handle the audio and video content just fine. Finally, I am able to play DVD movies in High Definition!
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
If one were to purchase Toshiba’s HD-A2 low-end player from Best Buy, you would pay about $300 and will be limited to 1080i whereas the Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD player does true 1080p and is just $200. After adding the Xbox 360 DVD Player to my HTPC, I added up the bills to tally the entire cost of the player that I purchased. Since I purchased all of my items locally, they cost a bit more than what they can be found for online.
My little local shopping spree set me back $236.98 excluding tax and, of course, the cost of my HDTV and HTPC. This is only a small cost compared to the large investment I have made into my HDTV and HTPC, but it stung when I went to buy and rent movies. Only after I built my system did I find out that in my home town, just outside St. Louis, that I didn’t have any rental stores that carried HD DVD’s. I also quickly found out that even my local Wal-Mart didn’t carry HD DVD’s as the local market didn’t meet the criteria for keeping them in-stock. I then headed to the Best Buy store and found one four foot wide shelf of HD DVD titles versus the three four foot wide shelves holding the Blu-ray titles. I picked up Van Helsing from Best Buy for $24.99 and quickly realized that I have sunk ~$262 in an HD DVD player and one movie title. I then had this unsettling feeling that I have made a mistake with the move to HD DVD. In a sense, I did, as I can’t pick a movie up when I’m running errands, but at the same time Net Flix looks like they just got another customer as they have a wide range of HD DVD movies available for rental through the mail.