Xbox 360 DVD Player Still Sucks After Update, HD DVD Not Great Either [Updated]

Illustration for article titled Xbox 360 DVD Player Still Sucks After Update, HD DVD Not Great Either [Updated]

We've known that the Xbox 360 DVD player was asstastic for a while, but surely this latest fall update would have improved things at least a little. No such luck, as the player still only got a 40 out of 130 on the HQV DVD test—which is a non-improvement from before the update. Are things better on the HD side?

No. Unfortunately its HD DVD playback is so poor that it scored a 0 out of 100. This is because it's testing deinterlacing of content, and the player only does 1080i. In comparison, the PS3 gets an 88 out of 100 for the equivalent Blu-ray side. There is a bit of good news, however. The Xbox 360 plays back content better that's been properly flagged as movie content, such as actual movies you buy from the store. The HQV test disc isn't properly flagged, and doesn't trigger the player's deinterlacing. However, if your eyeballs tell you your 360 isn't doing a great job at playing back DVD content, it's probably time for a new DVD player.

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Update: We spoke to an HD DVD professional, and he told us there were problems with this review. Apparently, the HQV discs are making players (even top of the line players) fail de-interlacing tests, which is pretty much all the disc does. What the reviewer should have done is test image quality, which would have made the Xbox 360 HD DVD player just about as good as the other standalone HD and BD players. The man we talked to didn't say much about DVD, however.

[ExtremeTech - Image also courtesy Extremetech]

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DISCUSSION

To make a true comparison, you need to test the same movie in both devices, connect to the same TV in the same way, and make absolutely sure the output settings (resolution, etc.) are the same.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, in my experience, the Xbox 360's component output is so-so. Much better to go HDMI (if you have an Elite) or VGA (if you don't, and if your display device supports VGA).

I use my 360 in my home theater with the VGA connection, which has been shown to come EXTREMELY close in quality to HDMI. Therefore I'd love to see a comparison of a stand alone player connected by HDMI with a 360 in VGA.