Hacking the XBox 360's HD-DVD for the PC

Hacking the XBox 360's HD-DVD for the PC

Summary: Dan over on UNEASYsilence has come up with a interesting way to get a cheap HD-DVD drive for a PC - by using the HD-DVD drive designed for an Xbox 360!

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TOPICS: PCs
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Dan over on UNEASYsilence has come up with a interesting way to get a cheap HD-DVD drive for a PC - by using the HD-DVD drive designed for an Xbox 360!

So, how hard is it to hack the HD-DVD drive to work on a PC?  Do you have to solder/change components/invalidate the warranty?  The answer is no, in fact, all you have to do is plug the drive to the PC using a USB cable, add the magic drivers (these are needed to access the HD-DVD file system - for CDs and DVDs you don't need them) and your PC is HD-DVD ready.  All you need now is software to play HD-DVDs (such as WinDVD 8 - a special Japanese version that is HD-DVD compatible) and you're ready to experience HD-DVDs on your PC.  Not a "hack" in the true sense of the word, but still very cool!

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The Xbox 360 drive is also compatible with Mac OS (no drivers are needed to recognize the drive) but the author of the article didn't have any software to play HD-DVDs available.

If you take a look at the pictures posted on UNEASYsilence you'll notice that the drive has a strange looking connector on the back - that's a mini ATAPI port which is commonly used on laptop and notebook drives.  With a mini ATAPI port to IDE adaptor the drive could be removed from the enclosure (note that you are invalidating your warranty in the process!) and then it can be fitted internally into your PC.

So, for $199 you can put together a system that plays HD-DVDs on your PC - today!

Topic: PCs

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5 comments
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  • USB connector? No special drivers needed for Mac?

    Does this mean that the drive is just a USB Mass Storage device, then? I was expecting something more, considering the HDCP/HDMI thing with HD TVs.
    Zogg
    • Yep

      ... Like you I guess I was expecting, well, more. The Windows drivers are needed to access the HD-DVD file system, I'm not sure if drivers would be needed on the Mac to do the same.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Is it just the filesystem that you can't access?

        I don't suppose you could try plugging the drive into a Linux machine and seeing if you can read raw IO data? Because if you can then I can imagine the "DVD Jons" of the World getting their teeth into this.
        Zogg
        • more microsoft attachments for the mac? sweet.

          this will go well with my microsoft mouse and microsoft keyboard. and as for mac os and hd dvd (and blu-ray too), i'm betting it'll be something in mac os X 10.5...it'll give people a real reason to spend the $130 on the os upgrade.
          nix_hed
          • Mac...

            Come on...

            There is no reason to dump good money on an upgrade when you can run it on your Windows XP machine right now!

            I am guessing Linux will run it as well (likely with a whole lot of painstaking work and grief)

            I may try it tomorrow, say after I frollic under the sheets with Angelina Jolie... lol

            Thanks Adrian, this is the best story I have read in a year.

            Keep up the good work,
            Information_z