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Consoles in the home theater: the game has changed

Ben Drawbaugh

Now that the format war is in full swing, we can step back and look at some predictions that are starting to seem pretty silly. All we heard about from the pundits of both sides was how consoles weren't going to be a factor. They said that history shows that game consoles made poor DVD players and that console add-ons were always a failure. It appears now that both sides were wrong as the the majority of HD DVD and Blu-ray players sold are game consoles. But are they consoles in the previous sense of the word? Is it really fair to compare the Xbox360 HD DVD add-on to the Sega CD ROM or to compare the PS3's Blu-ray playback ability to the PS2's DVD playback? These two devices were designed to be in the home theater, not as an after thought. Also unlike previous game consoles these are much more expensive, but still far less expensive than either a standalone HD DVD or Blu-ray player and as a result some people are buying them as a cheaper way to get into the HD home movie game. This is obviously the strategy of both sides, but with different approaches; the PS3 forces you to buy a Blu-ray player the Xbox360 requires an add-on and based on the latest sales figures it appears that the BDA may have the better of the two.

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