No wonder the HD-DVD camp made it early to the stores with the first generation players – it is quite a bit easier to make your product based on mature PC technology and software. Lorin Thwaits has done the world a favour and diassebled his brand new Toshiba HD-A1 into pieces. Inside he discovered a NEC IDE-connected HD-DVD drive and basically a mini-PC system based on Red Hat Linux.
For $560 one expects to get a rather high end audio/video player. Since the player is based on PC technology, there is reasonable doubt that the players’ components are quite not the same quality you can find in higher end DVD players. If you look at these photos posted on a Norvegian discussion group, the device looks more and more suspicious.
Being a PC based machine, it seems that the HD-A1 would be a rather hackable device. It will be interesting to see if someone starts reverse engineering and hacking the software more, and what could be achieved by doing it.
The HD-DVD drive we pulled out of the thing has a standard 40-pin IDE interface, and when connected to an XP machine identifies itself as “_NEC HDDVD HR1100A”, which is a recently-released HD-DVD reader that also reads normal DVDs and CDs.
When I put a HD-DVD movie in to try to see what’s on the disc it just says “D:\ is not accessible. Incorrect function.“. Even under Vista Beta 1 same story. Perhaps a later beta will have a driver and allow us to see what’s on these HD-DVD discs. Is it still VOB-ified or now something different under the new AACS copy protection? Or perhaps the new protection restricts you from even reading any data at all! Wouldn’t that be a kicker.
Source: Lorin Thwaits’ blog
Check out our High Definition DVD FAQ for more information about the new technologies.