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.