Some of you may not have even known about an emulator for the HD-DVD add-on, but one does exist. It used to cost too, but now it’s free thanks to Toshiba ditching the technology they once supported.
What does it do? Well it gives the ability to run complete HD-DVD projects (that’s video, audio and advanced interactivity stuff) on your 360 via an external USB drive, or a networked PC. Of course you will need to own the add-on first, but since those are now $50 with production ceased, this might be a good time to pick one up.
If you do fancy this, you’ll need to head here to apply for a token, then enter the redeemable code on the Marketplace. This will present you with the opportunity to download the emulation software. If you were super-keen and have already purchased the software (for $2,999, no less), then you can claim your money back which apparently will be re-issued automatically.
The underlying reason to offer this for free was the Toshiba decision as previously mentioned, however there are a couple of other reasons:
Microsoft is committed to interactivity and giving content authors the ability to create more compelling entertainment experiences. The specification for HDi was developed with significant input from studios like Warner Bros. and Disney based on scenarios they desired in the next generation format. Offering the emulator for free allows a greater audience to experiment with interactivity with little to no cost.
Second, the emulator beta program had approximately 80 participants across the industry who relied on the emulator for testing HDi content. Continued access to the emulator will assist those post houses and developers in completing their outstanding HD DVD projects.
What this emulator doesn’t allow you to do is play ripped retail titles on your 360 or PC. That would be a horrible oversight if it were a “feature”.
There’s a little more information over on the Microsoft Blog, so head there if you really fancy learning more about the software. Does this tickle anyone’s fancy?