Feeds

Microsoft unveils Xbox 360 HD DVD drive emulator

To the HD disc format what IE is to the web?

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft yesterday launched software that emulates on a PC HD DVDs played on its Xbox 360 add-in drive. It's a move that could give the software giant de facto control of the next-gen optical disc format.

The emulator software essentially allows companies mastering new HD DVDs to test them for compatibility with the Microsoft hardware. It pitched the code as a way of saving hundreds of hours of work, which will undoubtedly appeal to HD DVD makers.

But here's the rub: when developers focus their testing efforts on a specific device, that device tends to become the standard against which all others are measured.

Think about Internet Explorer and the way, even today, so many websites are constructed to be compatible first and foremost with Microsoft's software. That wouldn't be a cause for concern if IE stuck to the letter of the law as far as coding web pages goes, but it doesn't. IE incorporates extensions and adaptations of the HTML standard.

That's why browsers like Apple's Safari, which sticks rigidly to the HTML rulebook, sometimes shows web sites incorrectly. So does Firefox, but it's coders have attempted to take on board Microsoft's tweaks to ensure such problems are minimised.

The bottom line is that IE's version of HTML has become the de facto standard, and all other browsers have to match it or risk being unable to show every web page.

And if HD DVD makers focus on compatibility with MS' HD DVD drive, there's a risk the same situation will arise here.

To be fair, the same thing can happen in the Blu-ray world, as disc developers focus on the PlayStation 3's playback as the common denominator. And the HD DVD standard is more tightly defined than HTML, allowing MS less latitude to 'improve' it, should it choose to do so.

However, MS' move will provide conspiracy theorists like Transformers director Michael Bay with further opportunities to attribute the software giant with hidden motives.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.