A few days ago the wife and I bought season one of Heroes on HD-DVD. Yeah, we’re late to the party – but when season one started last year, my TV tuner didn’t record the first few episodes properly, so I gave up on the series and figured I’d pick it up on DVD before season two started. I have to say, it’s a great TV series – Ashley and I are really enjoying it.
The first night we started watching it, we watched four episodes, putting us on disc two with one episode left on that disc. When we loaded it up last night, we immediately saw a black and red screen that said “LOADING”. We stared at that for about 30 seconds, then a cancel button appeared below the word “LOADING”. We continued to wait – over a minute later, it still wasn’t loading the DVD menu, so I hit cancel. Nothing happened. I waited a bit longer, then gave up and turned off the Xbox 360. I thought for sure a reboot would fix the problem (hey, it works with most other Microsoft products), but after a reboot and re-loading of the disc from scratch, the same problem was happening. The Xbox was fine – it loaded up ok, logged me into Xbox Live, etc. As a long shot, I went into the Xbox 360 control panel and purged the system storage of all video resume points – that didn’t help. I tried unplugging the power from both the Xbox 360 and the HD-DVD drive, then reconnecting them in sequence. Still nothing – we sat there staring at the “LOADING” message. I ejected the disc, checked it for damage, then put it back in and got the same message again.
At this point I was getting frustrated, especially since this is the one and only way I can play HD-DVDs. If something doesn’t play a regular DVD, I have at least six other devices that could come through in a pinch. Not so with HD-DVD. I left it on the “LOADING” screen and flipped over to the regular DVD player to watch a Star Trek: Enterprise episode. 45 minutes later, I flipped back to the Xbox 360…and it was on the screen saver! One flick of a button later and I was staring at the Heroes menu. I don’t know what happened, or why it happened, but I’ll say this much: I’ve never had a problem like that with a regular DVD player, so if HD-DVD (or Blu-ray for that matter) are going to succeed then they need to be every bit as stable as the format they’re trying to replace.