Friday, February 23, 2007

The Setup


This will guide you in setting up the Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD on your iMac (the same steps should work on a MacPro and MacBook Pro). I haven't tried this setup on my MacBook. Just speculating, I'm afraid the integrated graphics on the MacBook might not be sufficient to make this work.

HD DVD on My Mac! And thanks to Microsoft!

Yep, it is ironic but true. For a little over $200 you can watch HD DVD on your iMac. Of course, you will need Windows XP (I don't have Vista and haven't tested this on Vista) on your iMac in either or both a Boot Camp configuration or Parallels configuration. Personally, I have my Boot Camp partition set as the Parallels installation, too.

For best results with slower processors and less memory, run this in Boot Camp.

What do you do first?

Buy the Xbox 360 HD DVD from any source. It comes with a power supply and USB cable. The device is also a two-port USB hub with full sized USB "A" ports on the rear.

Boot into Windows and install these drivers for the Xbox 360 HD DVD player. As the instructions in the RAR file tell you, right click on the .inf file and click "install." You will then need to reboot.

OK, after reboot, you can go ahead and plug in the USB cable for the drive. When you plug the USB cable in, you will find new hardware. Let Windows do its thing automatically and it should find the drivers. If not, try again and point to the directory where the un-RARed drivers are located.

The next step? You need to update your ATI Catalyst drivers for the Radeon Mobility X1600 video card. This is necessary so the software video player in Windows will "see" that your Catalyst drivers speak HDCP. The current release is Catalyst Mobility Full 7.2.

WARNING: If you do this, you are changing the distributed ATI drivers Apple includes in its Boot Camp beta. Do this at your risk. It works fine for me, but I make no representations, etc.

It is a major pain to get the Catalyst 7.2 release to run on the iMac. The utility by AMD/ATI does a chipset check and refuses to install on the Mac. Fortunately, there is a full install version that does not check the chipset. Get that version here.

Reboot after installing this package.

Next step. This one involves spending some more money. You will need AnyDVD HD by Slysoft. Running this program in Windows XP effectively "strips" the HD DVD of HDCP and AACS. The HDCP is important, because otherwise the Mac Radeon X1600 and internal LCD monitor don't speak to each other with HDCP, thus giving one frozen green squares of DVD playback. At least I think that is the reason. Experiment, have fun. If you can get it to run without Slysoft's AnyDVD HD, so much the better. Look into the product here.

WARNING: Slysoft AnyDVD is allegedly illegal in the United States and many other nations. I argue that "fair use" should cover the making of back-up DVDs that you own and for circumventing the HDCP silliness identified above, but the courts of the United States would probably disagree given the current MPAA / RIAA atmosphere. Purchase and use at your own risk. And nothing I'm saying here should encourage you to use this product and I certainly do not condone circumventing encryption or other copy protection.

You are getting close if you have followed this so far. The next step in this journey is to purchase Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra Deluxe from Cyberlink's website. Although this software is available by bittorrent on PirateBay, I encourage you to throw some money to the makers of this player and support them by purchasing it. While not perfect, at least they put something on the market.

One deceptive bit of advertising by Cyberlink, though, is that the user must currently install EITHER the HD DVD version or the Blu-Ray version. To ensure the correct installation, have your Xbox 360 HD DVD installed and working OK as per above BEFORE you install the Cyberlink software. If it sees the HD DVD drive, the correct HD DVD version installs. Otherwise, one has to rename the Blu-Ray directory and name the HD DVD the old Blu-Ray name before installing (complicated and odd, I know).

There were a few quirks. First, the Sigma Tel onboard audio driver went haywire on reboot. I have no idea why. Since I need to send audio out through SPDIF, this was a big deal. In Device Manager, I unistalled the Sigma Tel codec and rebooted. It found it, installed the driver, and voila, all was OK again.

In addition, I find one has to open PowerDVD on the screen on which the HD DVD will play. Must be something about HDCP. The program is not happy being dragged between screens open and playing a movie. Let AnyDVD do its thing for a while, too, before trying to open a movie. Because PowerDVD pops open on its own before AnyDVD is ready, I have to close PowerDVD and reopen it a bit later.

Finally, some DVDs do odd things with the subtitles -- I have to turn them off using the HD DVD menu each time the disk is loaded. Don't know what that is about.

OK, enough for now. I'll post more when I try it in Parallels and as other things come up. Please post your experiences below, too!


Luciano M. Rodriguez said...

I tried to follow your setup on my MacPro, and could not play the video with PowerDVD or WinDVD 8. I keep getting a quick popup of something but goes away pretty quick. The link that you had with the ATi catalist is not valid anymore, so I downloaded one from this website ( ) and I was not able to install this. What else would I need to do to get it so I can play HD-DVD on my Mac? thanks in advance.

Augustine said...

The link to the drivers is dead. ANychance you can repost them?

Anonymous said...

To Make it easier with PowerDVD and the Xbox setup, rip the hd dvd to hard drive, set your firewall to block PowerDVD and use version 3319a I think it is. The new versions don't allow playback from a harddrive. Personally I would download this program from piratebay because they have ripped the customer off by removing an aspect of the program that allows playback from the hard drive, a breach of contract if you ask me. I am bitter that they did this after I parted with my hard earned cash. Otherwise all plays well via my RGB and MacBook Pro.

N8Notermann said...

What if your MacPro only has a Nvidia card would it still work?

N8Notermann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.