First off, I give the XBox DVD playback kit an average score on moral grounds. In a move similar to making XBox 360s require extra hard drives and HD DVD playing kits, Microsoft had already proven themselves to be shameless money-grabbers years earlier by making people buy extra equipment for their XBox console simply to watch DVDs (at a time when the PS2 included a DVD playing service as a standard). No-one should have to pay extra cash to watch DVDs - every modern console should provide the option free of charge. Even now the kit costs around a tenner, apparently - you could probably get a cheap DVD player for that price.
That aside, the DVD playback kit generally is well-designed. The small signal receiver is pocket-size and fits right onto one of the XBox's controller sockets, making for an easy set-up that anyone could understand. The remote is also well-made - I personally like the green and black colour scheme that applies here and to most other XBox hardware (I know others that definitely don't, though) and the buttons are few and simple to use. The remote is a good shape, too, as it fits right into your hand. It's probably the lightest remote I've ever owned, too. Quite frankly, this is the best DVD playing kit I've ever owned, with probably the best all-round remote control I've ever held; it's just a pity that it's required to play DVDs on a console that should already be able to play them anyway.
One of the reasons I managed to talk my parents into buying me an XBox for Christmas a few years back, was the DVD Playing function of the machine, which meant I would give them my stand-alone DVD player. However, unlike the PS2, to play DVD's on the XBox, you are required to shell out an extra ?20 in the UK for the privelidge, by purchasing this DVD Playback kit, which includes the Remote Control and a sensor that plugs into a controller port on the console.
The remote control is about the same size as the majority of TV/DVD/VCR remote control units, at least all the ones in my house, and it is comfortable enough to hold and use. It features all the buttons you would expext, Fast-Forward,Rewind,Play,Skip Scene Forward,Skip Scene Backwards, Menu,Pause, select,directional buttons to move the cursor in DVD menu's and a number pad to jump instantly to a scene, amongst the other buttons such as Stop and title which other buttons serve much the same purpose as. The only other real notable button is the 'Display' button, which is located right at the top of the controller, and the only coloured button(green of course) that isn't a directional arrow or select button. When pressed, a little bar appears at the top of the screen, allowing you to make use of the subtitle and language changing features, as well as viewing how long of the DVD has been viewed, and how long there is to go, what chapter you are on etc.
The unit, as shown in the picture, is mainly black, with the majority of the buttons being white, with the exception of the 6 green ones. You can't really see it in the picture, but the XBox logo, and the DVD logo, are both raised out of the plastic on the front of the controller, and in general, the unit has a fairly curvy and sleek look, and the colours fit in perfectly with all the other official XBox accessories and so on.
The unit requires 2 AAA batteries, that you do not get with it, and why Remote controls always use these, instead of the far easier to come accross AA size will always baffle me. This could easily fit them in, why they chose to go AAA I don't know. Thankfully the battery case just slides off, so no screwdrivers are required.
The unit is very light-weight, made out of a similar, but lighter feeling plastic to the console's controllers. It feels very brittle, but the physical aspects of it have proven surprisingly sturdy, although, and this is where my major fault comes into play, for absolutely no reason, mine has just stopped working. I wouldn't have been half as annoyed had I actually done anything to it, but it just stopped working one day, with no prompting. My initial reaction was that the batteries had died, but upon trying new ones, I discovered that this wasn't the problem. Turns out it just decided to stop working.
This is a shame, because the DVD player itself is actually of a pretty good quality, although I have to say that I felt it was a bit out of order that you were required to buy the playback kit, especially seeing as it wasn't Multi-Region as I had read. One nice touch, was that you could also use the Remote to control CD playback, which was a nice thought.
In general, recommending the XBox DVD playback kit really comes down to one thing: if you already own a DVD player or not. The XBox is a good DVD player, but it's far from top-of the range, and if you own one of those, then there really isn't much point. Although, the XBox would make a good alternative, maybe if you have the DVD player in the living room, and just want a cheap and casual DVD for the bedroom, and have an XBox in there, it would suffice.
If you don't own any variety of DVD player, but have an XBox, then yeah, you probably should invest in one of these, Im confident the mishap of mine breaking like that was one in a million, and sure it's a bit shady having to pay for it, when it should have come with the console, but ?20/$30 isn't that much, and it allows you to get more from your console.
So, I think I'll settle on 3 Stars and a recommendation for the Remote Control. While it does everything you would expect from a Remote Control, the fact that you have to buy it, as well as the Region coding and the fact that mine broke without reason saw to it that it wasn't getting a too high score. It's a decent piece of kit, and necessary if you want to get the most out of the XBox in terms of all it's features, but now I own a seperate DVD player, Im not at all interested in buying a new one.
Review also posted on Epinions.com
I'm an X-Box owner and prior to buying a new DVD player recently wanted to use my X-Box for this purpose being aware that any attachments of remote control was required to actually utilise this function. I had rather bizarrely convinced myself that the X-Box would be similar to the PS2 and that the control pad could be used to select DVD features - I was wrong - So very wrong.
The remote and receiver are sold as a package. When the X-Box was first released prices ranged from £15 - £30 but I bought mine from a supermarket DVD section for £12.99. They can be bought on Ebay and other online sites but I wanted to be assured that it would work first time and that it would have a warranty - The pack comes with a 1 year Microsoft warranty.
The receiver is curved and slots into a control pad port at the front of the X-Box and once 2 x AAA batteries are inserted into the remote you are ready to play. The X-Box detects the receiver automatically and once a DVD is placed in the disk drive it loads up nearly instantaneously.
The remote looks the business - It is grooved making it easy to grip and made from ridged black moulded plastic that seems durable. The buttons glow in the dark very faintly and to be honest I can't see it in a pitch-black room. Dooyoo have a picture of the remote so an in-depth description of what buttons is has isn't required in my opinion. Basically it has features that are shown on nearly every DVD remote control - directional arrows - play - pause - stop - menu - title - select - subtitles - audio - angles - settings.
One thing that is good is the zoom button that allows you to surprisingly zoom into the picture to up to 10 times magnification and use the directional arrows to move around the picture.
The remote can also be used with a few X-Box games such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire, where the directional arrows and select button are used to select answers.
This is a very functional piece of kit, unfortunately there are no other models out there so if you want to watch DVD's on your X-Box this is the only device you can use and I would recommend it. The only problem I have found with this is that the buttons aren't as responsive as I would like and have to be pressed really hard at times even when the batteries are brand new to get it to register. This isn't due to distance between the remote and the X-Box.
If you've got an X-Box - Buy the remote and receiver.
Put plainly, this is what you need if you want to play DVDs on your Xbox console.
The small IR receiver slots into any of the controller sockets and... well, that's it. All that's needed next is to put a movie DVD in the player and use the controller to... control it.
A nice little feature of the controller is that the buttons glow gently in the dark, which useful if ever you're looking for it in a dark room when you want to pause the film for something.
Otherwise, whilst having a good design, the controller does pretty much what any decent DVD player's remote control does. It's quite simply something that's needed for playing DVDs on your Xbox.
You can also use it to navigate your Xbox console's dash (where you access everything when there isn't a game, CD or DVD in it), so it ends up becoming more of an entertainment system, with a hifi-style controller.
Robustness-wise, it's pretty hardy due to it being made from quite a thick plastic and, whereas with some controllers the battery cover comes off whenever you so much as touch it, that doesn't happen with this one.
What else can be said? It's a remote controller - you need it if you're going to play DVDs on your Xbox console.