Xbox 360 to Get HD DVD Soon

TOKYO -- Microsoft will launch an HD DVD drive add-on for its Xbox 360 console in November, a company executive said Wednesday.

The drive will be available in Japan from November 22 and will cost $168, according to Takashi Sensui, general manager of the Xbox division of Microsoft's Japanese subsidiary. Sensui made the announcement at a news conference here.

Microsoft had previously said it would provide an HD DVD drive peripheral for Xbox 360, but was not specific about its release.

Movies Via Xbox

The drive will allow Xbox 360 owners to watch high-definition HD DVD video content on a suitable television. The system will allow viewing at up to 1080p (1080 lines and progressive scanning), which is the highest of several picture levels judged to be high-definition.

The drive is due for release in other markets as well. However, Microsoft did not announce pricing or availability.

It is expected to appeal to both existing and new Xbox 360 owners, said Sensui.

"For those who already own the Xbox 360 system it'll cost only [$168] to enjoy HD DVD. That's by far the most affordable solution for those people," he said.

Rival Formats

HD DVD is one of two formats competing to become the de facto replacement for today's DVD standard. The format is backed by Toshiba and a number of other companies including Microsoft and Intel.

Its rival, Blu-ray Disc, is backed by, Matsushita (Panasonic) and a number of other big-name electronics companies. Sony has said it will build a Blu-ray Disc drive into the PlayStation 3.

With the launch of the HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 console, the high-definition video disc battle will have reached the gaming space.

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