Added An XBOX360 HD DVD-ROM Drive To The Alienware Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Rig Today – Thanks BluePrint For The XP UDF 2.5 Driver!

Now that the HD format war is officially over (congrats Blu-ray), I decided to snag one of the $49.99 Toshiba HD DVD-ROM drives (for the XBOX 360) to connect to my desktop & laptop PCs using the standard USB connector and BluePrint’s Windows XP Driver release (XBOX360.HD-DVDRom.UDF.Reader.v2.5.WindowsXP-BluePrint).  In addition to enabling the playing of the multitude of discounted HD DVDs now available, it also is a USB 2.0  Hub having additional ports on the back of the unit.  This is VERY handy for me as my PC’s 4 USB ports are somewhat inconveniently placed, having now put the tower underneath my desk.

As expected, the XBOX360 HD DVD drive works like a champ!  One quick reboot, and a quick install of Cyberlink’s PowerDVD 7.3 Ultra, and I was watching the included King Kong HD DVD in full HD resolution on my non-HDCP compliant DVI-Connected AG Neovo LCD monitor.  As promised, SlySoft’s AnyDVD HD 6.1.7.4 software, which I had long ago installed, allowed me to watch HD movies over a digital display connection without
an HDCP-compliant graphics card (although mine is) and without
an HDCP compliant display (which mine IS NOT). I now have no immediate need to buy
a new HDCP compliant monitor – woohoo!

Additionally, I was IMMEDIATELY blown away by the "Dolby Digital Plus" audio tracks that were fully utilized by my Creative Sound Blaster® Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro High Definition 7.1 Surround card & controller, and sounded beautiful on the Creative GigaWorks™ S750 – 7.1 700-Watt Speaker System.  It made the experience all that much more enjoyable.

I had already planned to integrate this Alienware PC into my entertainment system once I had installed some SUPER-silent cooling fans.  Now I feel like I need to expedite the process!  And I’ll need to upgrade my Sound System for compatibility with the new Dolby HD soundtracks as well.  You begin to truly appreciate how convenient & easy a simple driver upgrade is on your PC when you’re faced with having to upgrade your entire A/V amplifier hardware for an equivalent home theater technology update…

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