Wow. The Xbox 360 HD DVD emulator was WAY more popular than we had imagined. Josh processed thousands of requests and hopefully a huge number of developers are now out there experimenting with interactivity. But, now we have run out of our token allotment from the Xbox team and the emulator is no longer available for distribution.
But, Why Can't You Just Get MORE Tokens?Remember how your dad told you money doesn't grow on trees? Well, neither do Xbox tokens. And, since we were charging all of $0 for the emulator, it's not exactly cost effective to obtain another batch.But, I Want To Learn HDi! What Do I Do Now?!Fear not. There are still other tools available to help you in your HDi development. The Interactivity Jumpstart Kit with the HDi simulator is still available and is free. The simulator can also be used with the Microsoft Script Debugger, which is a great way to step through your script and trace bugs.
Also, many of the software players out there like Cyberlink's PowerDVD will play both HDi and audio/video content from a hard drive and are available for about $100. And, as an added bonus, you'll have a software player that will play that other blue laser optical disc format should you want to use that other format. Personally, I'm not interested. But some people might.
And, of course you can always burn an HD DVD or DVD-9 with your own content and play it on a retail player because HD DVD does not require AACS unlike the other blue laser optical disc format.
What Else Could/Should I Be Learning?Well, if you're working for a Hollywood post house, you're probably looking into BD-J. The problem there is that you have to be a Java developer (and a really good one too - ever used a poorly written java app or even one written by an average java developer?!), and the tools to test those apps aren't exactly cheap.
But, how about Silverlight?! - The cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactivity. And, as announced last week, Silverlight 1.0 will be available for mobile devices. Silverlight 1.0 uses markup (XAML) and script (JScript) based similar to HDi. You can write that script and markup in any tool you so desire (though, Expression Studio and Visual Studio 2008 sure are nifty.). If you're more of a designer type, check out the Expression tools to generate the files for you. If you're more of a hardcore programmer type, check out Silverlight 2.0 Beta which supports C# and VB.
UPDATE 3/18 : The Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator is no longer available. For more information, please see:
I can understand that giving away the emulator for free is not cost effective. I assume you will have to pay licenses for each copy and ofcourse it takes time to generate and distribute the tokens. However, the software itself is written and does not costs additional money anymore (or does it?). So would it be possible to provide the emulator to developers who missed it for cost price? Not really asking for myself, but for a friend who missed all this ...
Unfortunately, the answer is no. There are a variety of extenuating scenarios that come into play if when commerce is involved that prevents this from being possible. Sorry :(
Thank you for sharing your knowledge on HDi. I too was amazed at how many people were picking up the emulator. I was one of the developers fortunate enough to have received a copy. Unfortunately, I found too many forum posts on other sites from people who grabbed a copy thinking it was intended for something else.
I personally think people are overreacting to Toshiba suspending HD DVD. It's not like it is garbage now. A few years ago, Sega pulled the plug on their Dreamcast console. Not everybody ran to pick up a different console, they continued to play what they had, and some even made their own titles or found other uses. Many felt the console was superior to the other competing console (which coincidentally was made by Sony), and have been keeping it alive (quietly) to this day.
I still feel there is a good opportunity for the development of some good projects for HDi and HD DVD. The emulator for the PC does work just as good, and one can always have another developer or friend test it out on their player. It is very simple to develop for, and the basic tools are available for no cost. If we can put out a little bit of content and showcase what can be done by others besides Hollywood, we could really make some noise.
Jeremy: Ah a Dreamcast reference, nice!
I wonder how many of these tokens went to waste, I bet some people joined this program thinking bootlegs would work futureproofing themselves for buying Blu Ray. I hope this program will transfer over to the "next xbox", to keep the flame going and all.
Im personally occupied with school work at the moment so I really haven't had that much time with the emulator and HDi
Amy: So we can create HDi using Silverlight?
You can use the same tools that you would use to create Silverlight to create HDi (like Visual Studio or Expressions studio), but the output for Silverlight is different than HDi. Silverlight 1.0 uses markup (XMAL) and script like HDi, but the output is different and rendered by a Silverlight plugin. You can learn more about Silverlight at http://silverlight.net/quickstarts/default.aspx.