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Someday, these two may become one
Toshiba and Microsoft cooking up new HD DVD-enabled Xbox

For better or worse, some consumers are purchasing a PlayStation 3 not for its gaming abilities, but rather its Blu-ray Disc movie playback functionality. While Sony’s gaming division may prefer that its customers be gamers, the bottom line is that those interested in just Blu-ray Disc movies will give Sony another notch in the sales and installed base column – a phenomenon not unlike with DVD during the launch of the PlayStation 2.

With high-definition format crown still up for grabs, both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc camps are doing whatever they can to gain the advantage. Microsoft and Toshiba, the two main pillars of HD DVD, are reportedly working on a new entertainment set-top box that will integrate the gaming functions of the Xbox 360 and the movie playback functions of a Toshiba HD DVD player, according to Smarthouse.

The new device is supposedly being developed in response to Sony’s myriad of entertainment features on the PlayStation 3, driving the sales of Blu-ray Disc software.

Oddly enough, a recent study says that most gamers are clueless about the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 high-definition features, bringing into question the argument of consoles driving high-definition media sales.

“An Xbox with a built in HD DVD drive is critical,” a senior Toshiba executive in Singapore told the website. “They and we are working onit. It also has to be more than a gaming machine. Microsoft recognises this.”

As a full-featured entertainment hub, such a product would appeal to a broader market than just those in Microsoft’s current Xbox target audience. In fact, a Toshiba machine with similarly wide capabilities may hit the market. “A version of the device may also be sold under the Toshiba brand name,”added the Toshiba executive.

While current Xbox 360 owners may add HD DVD playback capabilities to their consoles with a $179 add-on drive, overall penetration of high-definition movies into Xbox gamers has been less than stellar. With an estimated 155,000 units HD DVD add-on drives sold in the U.S. through mid-year, Microsoft and Toshiba maybe looking into ways of getting the high-definition gaming crowd into movies.The answer may be in Sony’s strategy.

Sony has once dabbled before in releasing a consumer-centric entertainment machine based on its games console. Released only in Japan, the PSX was a set-top box with PVR and PS2 capabilities built-in. The PSX was reserved for the higher-end home entertainment purposes, but never quite found its market.

Xbox 360 gamers afraid that a new machine would make their current systems obsolete have little to worry about, however, as Microsoft has said on multiple occasions that its Xbox 360 games will never require an HD DVD drive.

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Good idea
By mdogs444 on 10/22/2007 7:29:51 AM , Rating: 3
Whether you support HD or BD, I still think this is a worthwhile idea if it meets a certain price point. Personally I have neither, but if they can include it to maybe the Elite or Pro console for about a $100 premium, I think it could be a great addition to the Xbox 360 line-up.

IMO, if they could release something like this in the $400-$500 range, it could prove to be popular. But with so many people out there already having their 360's, and with over 150,000 add-on units sold, it remains to be seen how many would be willing to replace what they have with the updated console.

RE: Good idea
By StevoLincolnite on 10/22/2007 8:18:00 AM , Rating: 2
Actually I had the Idea that Toshiba would be Producing the unit as a Set top box, with HDDVD and Xbox 360 abilities, this would give a boost to the Xbox camp, and Toshiba also can use the fact its HDDVD player can play Xbox 360 games would be good for Advertising as well.

Plus if Microsoft Integrates HDDVD support into the High-End units it could help as well.

Personally I'm not going to go Blueray or HDDVD until there is a clear Format winner, otherwise I am comfortable with my DivX for the time being.

RE: Good idea
By ATC on 10/22/2007 10:58:29 AM , Rating: 3
I think that it's a no brainer than an HD-DVD equipped 360 would be a good idea and I think it would sell well too.

The rumour that Toshiba would be the one designing/building it alleviates major consumers' concerns about reliability. This thing needs to be reliable , run cool and quiet ; things the current companies contracted out to produce the 360 are having a tough time achieving. Toshiba designing and producing this media hub/box has great potential IMO.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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