Well, none of the current graphic cards available for under US$500 is as powerful as those on XBox 360 and PS/3. When XBox and PS/2 were first released, their hardware components were also more powerful than those used in the usual desktop PC.
DVD-Video players were also very expensive when XBox was first hacked to play DVD titles. It made sense to pay for those mod chips. Of course, it's now cheaper to buy just another DVD standalone player or even a DivX/DVD player than to go to a mod shop for XBox, but who said the first-generation XBox is an exciting thing in 2005?