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Xbox 360 HD DVD Playback: Over 4.7 Million Lines of Code


Xbox 360 HD DVDIn this post by Shaheen Gandhi, an engineer on the Xbox 360 Platform Team, a massive amount of code went into the HD DVD playback system for the Xbox 360.

As a result of the complexities of decoding HD DVD audio and video content, as well as providing a user interface and DRM, over 4.7 million lines of code went into the HD DVD software. Among the components that had to be developed and integrated:

  • Video Codecs: H.264, MPEG-2, VC1
  • Audio Codecs: Dolby Digital+, DTS, TrueHD, LPCM, MPEG
  • HDi: The HD DVD runtime engine
  • GDI: Drawing stuff like menus
  • AACS: Cryptography/DRM stuff
  • MF: Audio/Video pipeline

Remember, there is no hardware HD DVD decoder chip set on board the Xbox 360. As a result, the HD DVD subsystem is almost entirely written in software. It’s one of the most demanding applications written for the 360 to date, using up all six of the system’s hardware threads. According to Shaheen’s post:

At the moment, the player software pushes Xbox 360 harder than any other (save, perhaps, Gears of War during some particularly busy parts of the game).

Now keep in mind, it’s not like millions of lines of NEW code had to be written here, with many of the codecs and graphic libraries already in existence. That said, it’s still staggering how much effort went into the development of this add-on.

[via Xbox Team blog]

Comments (15):

  1. Gary C says:

    Impressive. But how many of those are /* comments */?

  2. Dave says:

    Given that the 360 likes to get “fairly warm” at the best of times, Im wondering how many Xboxs are going to meltdown at the end of Titanic or a LOTR marathon?!

  3. Justin says:

    I wonder how many of those lines are devoted to DRM bullshit? I’ll wait for a haxed version that doesn’t have all the DRM stuff in. Sure it will take a long time, but I’m patient.

  4. BrokenCrystal says:

    “Remember, there is no hardware HD DVD decoder chip set on board the Xbox 360.”

    Now don’t get me wrong… I love the 360, but a software driven DVD player that puts high demand on the system processor and possibly other resources seems kind of stupid to me.

    That said, what’s up with all the usb ports on the back? I can’t help but notice the mini B connection… Will this drive connect to a PC? Will it act as a USB hub?


  5. smartass says:

    thats why the 360 cant play games on hd dvd
    i mean how could they when it uses up most the power with video only? “It?s one of the most demanding applications written for the 360 to date, using up all six of the system?s hardware threads.” try doing that and squeeze in a game too… not going to happen.

  6. some guy says:

    oh wow, smartass is an idiot. it doesn’t have to play video and the game at the same time, you realise, hd-dvd could be used as a storage medium just like any other.

  7. technabob says:

    What I’m most concerned about is having the fan going full-bore when watching HD DVDs. I mean, aren’t HD DVDs for home theater enthusiasts?… and aren’t home theater enthusiasts the most picky crowd when it comes to fan noise?

  8. some street says:

    Couldn’t they just put a chip on the hd-dvd unit and let that do the processing??

  9. saijao says:

    Yes they could , but prob at an expense of $100 more

  10. manchicken says:

    I’m sure the picture clarity is spectacular… but I won’t be touching HD until it is DRM-free. If it never is, then I suppose I’ll have plenty of time to catch up on my reading.

  11. […] Xbox 360 HD DVD took 4.7 million lines of code to get working […]

  12. Jordon F says:

    You want to know whats dumb about all this?
    The xbox360 can already play WMV720p and 1080i video files off of the Harddrive or a usb drive/dvd. I have tried it and it works flawlessley. What makes an HD-DVD mepg4 1080i stream sooo much harder to decode then an xvid, divx, wmv or even mpeg2 nativley???? Its all a load of crap. Bad coding by microsoft to pull off this add-on fast and cheap.

  13. Dagget says:

    Don’t worry. Everything that we could possible think of has been thought out already by the microsoft team that developed the add on. If they thought that it could harm the 360’s processor then they wouldn’t have put it out right? After all, the 360 is a processing beat from the beginning. The processor can take the demand I’m quite sure.

  14. concatto says:

    “Q: Couldn’t they just put a chip on the hd-dvd unit and let that do the processing??”
    “A: Yes they could , but prob at an expense of $100 more”

    Yeah, $100 is still cheaper than hired 100 programmers to write 4.7 million lines of code. Btw, have this “4.7 million lines of code” info been validated?

  15. Peter Krikels says:

    i like it ;-)

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