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Product: Xbox DVD Movie Playback Kit
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.xbox.com
Estimated Street Price: $29.95
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

The Xbox DVD Movie Playback Kit is a quick way to expand the functionality of the best gaming machine around! Xbox requires this kit to enable DVD movie playback. Simply plug in the infrared receiver to a controller port and use the remote control designed for DVD movie playback. No messy cables or confusing game controllers to deal with!

Installation and Settings

Review Quotes
  "if you are going to use it, make sure you get those S-Video, Component or Scart (Europe) connections for it"  

Installing the DVD Remote is as simple as pie, basically you get a little infrared box which plugs into any of the four controller ports. This allows you to use the remote control via pointing it at the box itself and pressing the buttons. Once this part is completed you have put in some AAA batteries which you have to go out and buy yourself. Then all you have to do is insert a DVD and away you go.

The Remote Itself

Unsurprisingly the remote blends in well with the rest of the Xbox Microsoft hardware such as the game pad. As you can see from the photo below, the DVD Remote carries just about every feature you need from a simple low end DVD player. There are forward/reverse/stop/pause/play/title/menu/info/back and chapter buttons on the remote itself.

When you click on the top Display button this brings up a new submenu onto the bottom of the screen this displays Subtitle, Angle, Audio, Settings, Repeat and Zoom options. The zoom feature is one of the surprises, it obviously allows you to zoom into any DVD title you are watching, 2x, 4x etc and then via the arrow buttons on the remote you can scroll around the screen.

Picture Quality & DVD Playback

I guess the main thing you want to know is just how the picture quality of the Xbox DVD player does against say a midrange stand-alone DVD player? Well the fact is that while it does play better than the Playstation 2 DVD hardware, it still doesn't compare to a stand alone player. The playback suffers from lots of artifacts during DVD scenes and these are not just compression artifacts that most people see on DVD's anyway, these are due to the playback...I can't say for certain whether this is just a software DVD player running through the NVIDIA GeForce card like it would on say a PC, but if so then it is a shame that hardware DVD decoding wasn't added.

If you want to get the best picture quality you can from the DVD remote then you MUST get either a S-Video or Component setup, if you stick with the composite setup that the Xbox comes with in the box then you are doing yourself no favors on the quality in either games or DVD's as almost ALL recent televisions should support at least an S-Video connection and they really do increase the quality of your picture.

Now onto the next part - obviously the Xbox will only play Region 1 titles if you bought it from the U.S...The region is hard-coded onto the DVD-ROM drive so it won't matter where you buy your DVD Remote pack from. I have tried quite a few of my Region 1 titles and so far all apart from Snow White have played without any problems...Snow White just will not work for me.

Final Comments

How It Grades
  Ease Of Use: 94%
Design: 85%
Picture Quality: 79%
Sound: 92%
Manual: 85%
Interface: 72%
Price: 89%
Overall: 82%

 

I can't really say too many bad things about the DVD Remote, people have after all bought the Xbox specifically to buy games so paying out a few Dollars isn't going to set you back too much if you would like the chance to watch DVD's on your home TV setup. But please, if you are going to use it, make sure you get those S-Video, Component or Scart (Europe) connections for it, there is no point using Composite because for DVD you need the best quality you can get.

 

Specs & Package
Overall Score 91%
Version Reviewed Xbox DVD Movie Playback Kit
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 DVD Remote
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Feels Good
Easy To Setup
Zoom Feature
Fancy Menus & Writing
The Bad Points Looks Cheap
Picture Quality Not As Good As Hoped


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