Why No HD-DVD Drive In Xbox 360?
Why Didn't Microsoft Ship the Xbox 360 with an HD-DVD Drive? | Alexander Grundner wants to know why Microsoft didn’t ship an HD-DVD drive with the Xbox 360. I would suspect that one of the largest reasons is cost. It is estimated that Microsoft loses $126 for every Xbox 360 sold, and that’s with a standard dual-layer DVD drive. It’s not cost-effective at all to ship an Xbox SKU this year with an HD-DVD at a reason price. The two options for that would be to wait to release the unit, or suffer the financial consequences. Getting the Xbox 360 out before Sony’s PS3 was clearly a goal, so forget about waiting until it’s more cost-effective. And at the ~$126 lose per system now, adding an additional components to the Xbox 360 would present too much of a loss. However, Microsoft and Toshiba signed their “cross-patent license” deal so if cost wasn’t the issue, it was likely the lack of drives that would have been available for this years launch. And again, they didn’t want to push back the launch until 2006 to match Sony.
Another reason for not including an HD-DVD drive is that Microsoft knows you will be able to make a Managed Copy of your HD-DVDs and will likely get those copies to stream to an Xbox 360. I brought that point up 6 months ago and its re-enforced by the latest CableCARD information. We know that Microsoft has some sort of plan (HDCP/HDMI Output?) to allow secure output of protected content on the Xbox 360, since it was approved by CableLabs. I wouldn’t doubt that secure output of HD-DVD titles would be far behind that.