Microsoft today announced the release of the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator. It means film studios and disc authoring companies can model the behaviour of HD DVD disc content in a virtual environment before committing to burning a single hard copy. Crucially, costs aren't prohibitive, so smaller companies will also be able to author discs.
It's among the first commercially available, software-based system of its kind, eliminating the need for expensive hardware or time-consuming and costly trial-and-error processes for testing HD DVD titles.
All optical discs need vigorous testing before mass production to ensure the yield rate of each batch is as high as possible. The interactive content used on HD DVD discs increases the need for an efficient way to troubleshoot the discs.
Commitment to HD DVD
The emulator uses a the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive alongside specialised emulation software to playback of near-final disc images from a network store or portable hard drive.
The system enables testing of the layout, menus and interactive content. "We are committed to supporting and advancing the HD DVD ecosystem, and the new Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator reflects these efforts by providing developers with the software-based tools they need to efficiently deliver the highest-quality content," said Jordi Ribas, general manager of HD DVD at Microsoft.
"Microsoft developed the Emulator to help save studios and postproduction houses time, resources and costs involved with the creation of HD DVD content, and let them focus on what really matters — pushing the envelope with the format."
Setting up the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator simply requires establishing a connection to Xbox Live, navigating to the Download Games menu and adding the Emulator software to the hard drive of the Xbox 360 console. However, it costs a fair amount of cash. The one-time licensing fee is $2,999 (£1,489).