Is Microsoft working on new HD-DVD Xbox?

xbox 360 smallWith all the news recently about Sony’s Playstation 3 becoming a full-fledge media device, particularly overseas, I’ve wondered what Microsoft plans to do with its Xbox game platform.

David Richards at Smarthouse may have answered my question. He reports that Toshiba, owner of the HD-DVD patents, is working with Microsoft on an Entertainment Xbox, due out in late 2008 or early 2009. The device will feature, naturally, an HD-DVD player, a large hard drive, and new entertainment software that’s a spin off of Microsoft’s Media Center.

ps3 vs xbox smallFor Toshiba, an Entertainment Xbox with an HD-DVD player is critical for success if it is to defeat Sony’s (and others’) Blu-ray players in the format wars.

Of course, the Entertainment Xbox is being developed in response to Sony’s Playstation 3, which has started slowly but seems to be gaining momentum lately after price cuts, game availability improving, and the device being positioned as a powerful stand-alone home media hub (mostly in Europe and Asia), not just a game console or a PC-based media extender.

The Playstation 3 is seen as an important driving force in the adoption of Sony’s Blu-ray. Smarthouse cites a recent Sony Brand Wave study conducted in five countries that says a key reason consumers are buying the PS3 is because of the Blu-ray player.

Additionally, GFK research says the recently-launched Xbox 360 HD DVD-attached player is not selling well.

“The new Xbox device, while allowing for extensive gaming capability, will be positioned as an entertainment hub that includes gaming and extensive wireless networking capability as well as 1080p playback,” Richards writes. “There is also talk of it including a dual HD TV tuner and EPG capability and a docking port for an MP3 player.”

Smarthouse quotes a senior Toshiba executive in Singapore as saying, “An Xbox with a built-in HD-DVD drive is critical. They (Microsoft) and we are working on it. It also has to be more than a gaming machine. Microsoft recognizes this.”

Not long ago Microsoft was seen as besting Sony when the Xbox 360 beat the Playstation 3 to market. Wouldn’t it be something if Sony leapfrogs Microsoft with the Playstation 3 … as a home entertainment hub?

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

One Response to “Is Microsoft working on new HD-DVD Xbox?”

  1. Tim says:

    I hope both formats lose. I dont like discs, I would like to download all my media and store it on a solid state hard drive. Discs are so last year. How about we work on “super duper beta tapes” huh sony. Or maybe the HD-CD. The disc is a dinosaur like the tape, they should both be dead already. I will stick with DVD because it wont die soon, but when it does I am positive that it wont be replaced ba another Disc. Just say no to Discs.

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