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!
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!