In the first public demo of the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on, Microsoft
previewed the highly-anticipated peripheral during the Entertainment Media Expo
late yesterday, as well trumpeting the device's expected low price.
Microsoft senior program manager Kevin Collins premiered the smallish, rectangular
device, which also mirrors its console sibling's gray architectural design,
at the show by playing clips from Warner Home Video's 'Phantom of the Opera'
HD DVD, as well as illustrating how the console's game controller could access
disc menu options and other functions.
Though Microsoft has yet to announce confirmed pricing or a specific street
date for the peripheral, Collins indicated that the add-on "will be the
cheapest HD DVD player on the market for consumers who already own an Xbox 360
Collins also cited Microsoft internal research that indicated that 64 percent
of Xbox 360 users "already have the [high-def] display technology to support
HD DVD. This [the add-on] will keep [consumers'] costs down."
Further hints at the company's pricing plans for the peripheral also came by
way of the most recent episode of the podcast
from Major Nelson
(aka Larry Hryb, Microsoft's director of programming for
Xbox Live). Nelson had members of the Xbox HD DVD team on his show, including
Microsoft's director of global marketing, Albert Penello, who dropped a few
hints that the add-on will be the cheapest HD DVD player yet to hit the market.
"Here's what I can tell you for sure -- it's going to be the cheapest
HD-DVD player you can buy... without a doubt," said Penello. "Everybody
is very enthusiastic with the direction we're going... I think people are going
to think it's a great value."
Penello also had time to throw a few digs at the Sony PlayStation 3 and Blu-ray
camp, underlining Microsoft strategy towards high-def movie playback on the
"Xbox has always been about choice. It's always been about 'How do you
want to game? How do you want to get online? How do you want to communicate
with people?'" rallied Penello. "Now we're going to say, 'How do you
want to pick your next-generation DVD format?' We're not forcing consumers to
buy something that may be obsolete, or forcing them to spend a lot of money
on something they don't want. We're not betting our whole console on an unproven