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post #1 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Looking at the "one and only HD DVD addon thread", there are a lot of questions that come up time and time again. I think it would be pretty helpful if we answer them all in a single place.

Playing HD DVD

Can it play HD DVD at 1080p via Component?
No. Max HD DVD resolution for Component is 1080i. Over VGA or HDMI you can get 1080P. Note that this doesn't mean the 360 cannot do 1080p over component, it can. AACS rules limit the max resolution of a HD DVD over component to 1080i. Your XBox will automatically switch resolution to 1080i if you have it set to 1080p when you play a HD DVD.

Does it matter?
No. Film content is 24P, both 1080i and 1080p should display all the information in the individual film frames. A good 1080p display should correctly deinterlace the 1080i signal. See here.

Can it output 1080p24/48/72 directly?
Not at this time. Amir suggests that this could be provided at some point in the future. Until then you're stuck with motion judder, unless you have a really good video processor that supports a 24 multiple.

How is the picture quality compared to the HD-A1?
Anecdotal evidence so far suggests it is about equal.

Can it output True HD or DD+ in an uncompressed form?
No. The addon re-encodes everything to your choice of DD, DTS, or WMA Pro.

Which is better? DD, DTS, or WMA Pro?
Hard to tell, on different equipment, and depending on your personal preference, any of those may sound better than the others. Theoretically, WMA Pro should give you the best quality, if you have a receiver capable of decoding it (Pioneer receivers, I believe). You should choose whichever sounds best to you.

I chose the DTS option, but my receiver reports it as Dolby Digital
Yes. All audio tracks get re-encoded as the codec you choose.

The sound is terrible! There's no dynamic range!. SD DVDs sound better!
Yes, it appears that due to a dolby requirement, the original software release forced a compressed dynamics mode on all DD+ decodes. You need to get the latest update from xbox.com or off XBox live. (The update will automatically download and install if you are connected to Live, and you try to play a disc)

I got the update, but there are no audio settings in the Dash that let me choose DTS
The settings are not in the dash, they're in the player itself. Play a HD DVD, while it is playing, press B on your gamepad and select "Advanced" (Or press "Display" on your remote). Choose the "Digital Audio Settings" button to get to the correct settings dialog.

Does it play homebrew HD DVD's written to DVD +/- media? Dual Layer?
This has been confirmed by some users. It will play HD DVD formatted DVD-R and DVD-RW discs.

Playing SD DVD

Does it upconvert Standard Def DVD over VGA/HDMI?
Yes. It will upconvert a SD DVD to a max of 1080p over VGA or HDMI.

Does it upconvert Standard Def DVD over Component?
No. The max resolution for SD DVD over Component is 480p. This is a CSS rule. Over component, your SD DVDs will be 480p no matter what resolution your dash is at.

Does a regular DVD look different on the Addon compared to the internal drive?
No.

Connections

Is there an HDMI option?
Not unless you have a XBox 360 Elite.

Can we get 5.1 LPCM through HDMI with the Elite?
No, the Elite apparently cannot pass a 5.1 LPCM signal. You can get 2.0 LPCM, or the same compressed streams you get out of the optical.

What about ICT?
If a disc has the ICT flag, it will be displayed in a degraded form over analog connections. No current HD DVDs have this flag, and the studios have mentioned that they do not have any plans to turn this flag on in the near future.

I have it connected by VGA, but the colors are all washed out!
That's not technically a question, but yes, some TVs expect PC levels (0-255) in their VGA input, and the 360 sends video levels (16-235) by default. The result is that a video black (RGB 16,16,16) looks gray, and white (235,235,235) looks grayer too. If you have this problem, you may be able to solve it by making sure you have the latest Dash update, and then finding the VGA levels setting. Try setting it to Expanded.

Does it need to be attached to the 360 to play movies?
Yes. It's just a drive. The 360 does all the hard work.

Will it work on a PC?
Some AVS members have connected it to their PCs with varying results. It recognises as a Drive on XP, on some machines, the HD DVD filesystem can be read (if your PC supports UDF 2 - 2.5). On Vista it recognises fine and discs can be read. Someone has successfully played a standard def DVD off it on a PC.

Will it play HD DVDs on a PC?
Yes. See this post and the rest of that thread. There are a lot of hoops to jump through, and you need a pretty beefy machine, but it is definately possible. I believe a number of the official software players now support it too. Note that this function is not supported at all by Microsoft.

Troubleshooting

I got the Addon but it looks terrible and squashed on my TV (connected with VGA)
Go into your XBox settings blade and set your resolution to the highest your display will support. Also (if needed) set the aspect ratio correctly for the type of your Display. The default resolution for the VGA cable when you first plug it in is 640x480. User emonsh suggests that the best setting for VGA is the one closest to the true resolution of your display, so try that if you're having quality issues.

What are those black bars at the top and bottom of my movie? Is my addon busted? (No... really... a lot of people ask this. If someone invents an AVSForum Drinking game, you should have to down your drink everytime someone asks this)
No, your addon is not busted. It's your TV. For some reason, your TV is finding it hard to bend space sufficiently to convert your 16:9 TV into a 2.35:1 version. This is not surprising. A simple application of Relativity shows that the TV would have to be travelling up past you at 0.65C (or 121800 miles per second) to achieve this contraction in the vertical direction (the speed for a 4:3 TV is left as an exercise for the reader). It would be difficult to watch a movie like this. When it fails at this task, it is forced to compensate by displaying black bars at the top and bottom of your screen. This site shows some examples.

Can you make the remote eject button eject the addon, and not the console tray?
Apparently not. The Eject button appears to only eject the console tray. Why do you need this functionality? It's not like you don't need to get up to change discs anyway

I installed the update, and tried to play a movie, but it stutters and behaves horribly
Try a full reboot of your console. A number of members have reported that power cycling the console when this happens fixes the problem.

General

Is it loud?
There are conflicting views on this so far. Some users say it is loud, others say it is almost silent. If you think your 360 playing DVD or at the Dash is loud, then you will probably think it is loud.

How many have been sold?
No clue, but you can go to this thread and see how many AVS'ers have them (or add yourself)

Will the US version work in the UK/Wherever
Yes according to Amir. All you need, apparently is a US->UK plug adaptor. Note that a US HD DVD addon used on a UK console will not play region 1 (US) SD DVD discs. Region control is a function of the console, not the drive.

What are the load times compared to the HD-A1?
Load times are much shorter than the HD-A1. From the Dash, with the disc already in the drive, startup time is less than 9 seconds. If you have to insert the disc, it's around 20 seconds.
For comparison, the time to first video when inserting a disc into the HD-A1 is about 1 minute, 15 seconds.

I keep getting online notifications while watching a movie! How do I turn them off?
It is possible to turn off notifications while movies are playing, but the method to do so is a little obfuscated. It's not in the system blade, and it's not in your gamer profile.
Method: Hit the Guide button (the silver one with the stylized green X), navigate down to "Personal Settings" and hit "OK" or the A button. Now navigate down to "Notifications" and hit OK, navigate down to "Show During Movies" and hit OK to deselect it. Now you can hit "B" repeatedly to exit.

Is there some way to have movies play at 1080i/p and games at 720p
Yes. Go into the system blade and switch resolutions when you play movies. There is, unfortunately, no way currently to do that automatically.

Can I put game discs into the HD DVD addon and play games from it?
No. There's nothing stopping you physically putting game discs into the drive, (just like you could also put a slice of cheese, or a round piece of sandpaper), but the game will not play from that drive. It would be nifty to be able to switch between two games, but alas, that is not possible.



Any other questions I should add? I'll start adding links to reviews too as they start coming out.

Reviews
DVDTown.com
Krunker.com
Gamespot.com
PC Perspective
hidef.com
User Reviews (Off Forum)
http://aroganworld.blogspot.com/2006...dvd-drive.html
Forum Reviews
DPowers
DMRSX
RAVEN56706

Links
Official HD DVD Addon page at Xbox.com

(Note I'm not doing this in any official MS capacity. I'm doing this as an AVSForum member who has seen the same questions go past 20 times on the other threads.)
Answer to relativity problem posed above: 0.82C, or 153000 miles/s
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post #2 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:13 PM
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Thanks, good info for those that have questions. Hopefully will be made a sticky.
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post #3 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:13 PM
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If you have a rear projection CRT HDTV that is 720P compatible; what resolution is better to display HD DVD movies, 720p or 1080i on the X360 with HD DVD add on? Also do you have to manually switch to 1080i for movies if that is better back in the dashboard or does the software upgrade allow of a custom specific resolution for HD DVD movies? I normally use 720p as I was told that it was better due to the fact that most games are rendered natively at that resolution. Any help appreciated.
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post #4 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:21 PM
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There is only one setting for the console for both games and movies. you can choose from 720p, 1080i or 1080p. Which one is best for you? I would just try them all and see which one is best, I keep mine in 10801 for everything, I dont see a difference when playing games between 1080i and 720p.
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post #5 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:24 PM
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I have not gotten my add-on yet (supposed to be shipping today) but on my 720p DLP I've noticed that 720p is sharp while 1080i gives me a softer look.

My personal opinion is to go with the native resolution of your display, but I could be wrong.

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post #6 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:29 PM
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It all depends on which scaler is better.... the one on the 360, or the one on your TV.

The only verified benefit from having the 360 do the scaling is that it could reduce latency since the scaling is done local to the console, rather than adding delay caused by your set scaling and de/interlacing the image. this could be important for gaming and audio synchronization.

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post #7 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:32 PM
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I second for this to become a sticky. For the love of all that is holy...
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post #8 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:35 PM
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1080i/p summary:

1080p over component
Games - yes
1080p HD DVD movies - no
480p HD DVD extras - no
DVD - no

1080i over component
Games - yes
1080p HD DVD movies - yes
480p HD DVD extras - yes
DVD - no

1080p over VGA
Games - yes
1080p HD DVD movies - yes
480p HD DVD extras - yes
DVD - yes

1080i over VGA
Games - yes
1080p HD DVD movies - yes
480p HD DVD extras - yes
DVD - yes
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post #9 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:37 PM
 
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now sticky and lock it!
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post #10 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:46 PM
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Since your TV is 1080i, I would just set the 360 to 1080i.

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post #11 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:46 PM
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great post, answered 3 of my questions in 2 minutes. sticky vote from me
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post #12 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkilian View Post


Will it work on a PC?
Some AVS members have connected it to their PCs with varying results. It recognises as a Drive on XP, on some machines, the HD DVD filesystem can be read (if your PC supports UDF 2 - 2.5). And someone has successfully played a standard def DVD off it on a PC.

Will it play HD DVDs on a PC?
Unknown at this time.

Very nice! Hope to see the PC thing get confirmed.

HDPLEX
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post #13 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:51 PM
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Oh thank you. For those of us who have stuck with the thread since it's inception I was growing really bored with some posters' inability to use the search function. There was a ton of bad info being slung all over the place. Great idea and nice synopsis!

Sticky please!

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Simple. Clean. information about high definition
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post #14 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkilian View Post

Looking at the "one and only HD DVD addon thread", there are a lot of questions that come up time and time again. I think it would be pretty helpful if we answer them all in a single place.

Does it Upconvert Standard Def DVD?
Yes, and No. It will upconvert DVD over VGA. It will not upconvert DVD over Component.

Can it play HD DVD at 1080p via Component?
No. Max HD DVD resolution for Component is 1080i. Over VGA you can get 1080P. (AACS Rules - The XBox 360 is fully capable of 1080p over component)

Does it matter?
No. Film content is 24P, both 1080i and 1080p should display all the information in the individual film frames. A good 1080p display should correctly deinterlace the 1080i signal. See here

Will it work on a PC?
Some AVS members have connected it to their PCs with varying results. It recognises as a Drive on XP, on some machines, the HD DVD filesystem can be read (if your PC supports UDF 2 - 2.5). And someone has successfully played a standard def DVD off it on a PC.

Will it play HD DVDs on a PC?
Unknown at this time.

Is there an HDMI option?
No. Currently the only HD connections supported are VGA (to 1080P) and Component (to 1080i). Microsoft has stated in the past that "if they see enough need for HDMI, they will provide it", but there is currently no such option.

What about ICT?
If a disc has the ICT flag, it will be displayed in a degraded form over analog connections. No current HD DVDs have this flag, and the studios have mentioned that they do not have any plans to turn this flag on in the near future.

How is the picture quality compared to the HD-A1?
Anecdotal evidence so far suggests it is about equal. I will update this question when proper reviews come out.

Does a regular DVD look different on the Addon compared to the internal drive?
No.

Can it output True HD in an uncompressed form?
No. The addon re-encodes everything to DD 5.1. Multiple users on AVSForum have stated that the resulting encode is better than DVD audio, and that the TrueHD option on the HD DVD provides even better audio than the DD+. See this post and this one for examples.

I got the Addon but it looks terrible and squashed on my TV (connected with VGA)
Go into your XBox settings blade and set your resolution to the highest your display will support. Also (if needed) set the aspect ratio correctly for the type of your Display. The default resolution for the VGA cable when you first plug it in is 640x480.

Does it need to be attached to the 360 to play movies?
Yes. It's just a drive. The 360 does all the hard work.

Is it loud?
There are conflicting views on this so far. Some users say it is loud, others say it is almost silent. If you think your 360 playing DVD or at the Dash is loud, then you will probably think it is loud.

How many have been sold?
No clue, but you can go to this thread and see how many AVS'ers have them (or add yourself)

Will the US version work in the UK/Wherever
Yes according to Amir. Note that a US HD DVD addon used on a UK console will not play region 1 (US) SD DVD discs. Region control is a function of the console, not the drive.

Any other questions I should add? I'll start adding links to reviews too as they start coming out.

Reviews
User Reviews (Off Forum)
http://aroganworld.blogspot.com/2006...dvd-drive.html
Forum Reviews
DPowers
DMRSX

(Note I'm not doing this in any official MS capacity. I'm doing this as an AVSForum member who has seen the same questions go past 20 times on the other threads.)

you are way off on one point. thru vga the 360 has to be set as close to possible as the native resolution of your tv.when its set right it is fantastic. too many problems that people report when set to higher than native thru vga.
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post #15 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 02:02 PM
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Great thread. Thanks for doing this. One more question(and hopefully answer):

Does the 360 add-on play homebrew HD DVD's written to DVD +/- media? Dual Layer?

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post #16 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 02:02 PM
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A post in the HTPC forum noted that someone in France has been successful at getting the XBox 360 HD DVD add-on playing HD DVD in Windows Vista 64bit. Can anyone translate French pour moi et chaque personne ici svp?

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post8865073

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post #17 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightWatcher View Post

A post in the HTPC forum noted that someone in France has been successful at getting the XBox 360 HD DVD add-on playing HD DVD in Windows Vista 64bit. Can anyone translate French pour moi et chaque personne ici svp?

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post8865073

I almost certain that post is BS or at least HD DVD is self authored(not protected by AACS).

HDPLEX
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post #18 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lymzy View Post

I almost certain that post is BS or at least HD DVD is self authored(not protected by AACS).

Even if that were the case, that would still prove the naysayers wrong.

There are a lot of people that feel that the drive will be locked out of Windows, despite having no proof or good reason for saying that. In fact, IIRC, amirm said that there is nothing specific in the drive that will prevent it from being used on a PC. It's just not supported in this type of usage.
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post #19 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuGsArEtAsTy View Post

There are a lot of people that feel that the drive will be locked out of Windows,

I am not one of those people. I always think it would be crazy stupid to lock this addon out of Windows. If I were Microsoft, I would sell those at cost or even a little below the cost to the HTPC crowd. Embed the HD DVD playback in the Vista hi-end version next Jan. How many people use PC to play multimedia files again? It will be at least a year before blu-ray burners could even come to the $250 price point.

BTW, I just think that particular french post is BS. WMP11 already play HD DVD? Give me a break.

HDPLEX
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post #20 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maverick0716 View Post

Since your TV is 1080i, I would just set the 360 to 1080i.

My TV will actually do both 720p and 1080i, so now that I know there is only one setting I can use for both games and movies, my question is still which one is best for HD movies? If they are actually 1080p and scale down to 720, then my guess is that it would be better to use the higher resolution of 1080i, especially as most film is only filmed at 24 fps so there is no inherent benefit to going progressive scan, but since I do not really know for sure I was trying to ask the experts. Hopefully somebody knows what will be the best setting if your TV does both, but does not support 1080p.
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post #21 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 02:47 PM
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bkilian, very helpful thread, thankyou!
P.S. Q: Will the XBox 360 be updated to include an integrated HD DVD drive rather than as an add-on?
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post #22 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 03:29 PM
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It may accept both resolutions, but your TV has a native resolution doesn't it?

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post #23 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 03:42 PM
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thanks I'll look for the thread

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post #24 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 03:57 PM
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I just tested a Single Layer DVD -R (The Terminal). It worked fine. I thought I had a Dual Layer movie laying around but I don't.

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post #25 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 04:19 PM
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Not sure, I probably need to go back and read the manual, as I have had this TV for about 3 years now. I actually hooked up the HD DVD player and tried both and it definitely looks a lot better on 1080i, so I guess that is the right answer for me. I wonder if games would actually look better at that resolution on my TV regardless of what the game was originally rendered in. I will check tonight of tomorrow.
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post #26 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 05:02 PM
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bkilian, I found the 5.1 sound was better when selecting a TrueHD audio track where available over the DD+ track (Batman Begins, V 4 V). Could be something to add as most people may be going with the default sound setting.

EDIT: I see the info is there already, probably before I made this post.
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post #27 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 05:02 PM
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It works under Vista. Now if I could just find software to playback.
LL

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post #28 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Williams View Post

It works under Vista. Now if I could just find software to playback.

I can play my own home brewed Red Laser HD-DVD's under Vista build 5840 by doing the following. (not using the Microsoft HD-DVD drive though)

Loading PowerDVD 7
Loading VLC player 0.8.5

Browse to the HDDVD_TS folder and open one of the video files with either VLC or Media Player 10.

I get GREAT video but choppy audio.

Give it a whurl and see what happens

I am NOT fat, my aspect ratio is just set wrong....

-=[Arpeggio]=-
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post #29 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by andreo View Post

I just tested a Single Layer DVD -R (The Terminal). It worked fine. I thought I had a Dual Layer movie laying around but I don't.

Andreo, is that a homebrew HD DVD or just a copy of a regular DVD?

You can always retake a class but you can never relive a party!
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post #30 of 655 Old 11-10-2006, 05:56 PM
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has pal playback been confirmed?
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