The folks at Cheapassgamer have leaked a Best Buy deal coming next week. Buy an HD DVD add-on for your XBox 360 and get Heroes season one on HD DVD ($99.99 MSRP), free. (Via Gizmodo, who got it from Xbox 360 Fanboy.) And, of course, the add-on is still eligible for the five free HD DVD offer from TheLookAndSoundOfPerfect.com.
And, while we’re talking about HD DVD on the 360, there is (another) rumor going around that there will be a new 360 incorporating an HD DVD drive as well as a larger hard drive. This from Toshiba insiders, according to Smarthouse. There is also talk of a dual HDTV tuner (as Sony is bringing out an HD DVB-T tuner for the PS3) and EPG capabilities, as well as possibly a docking port for an MP3 player (Zune, I’m sure).
A senior Toshiba executive in Singapore told SmartHouse that “An Xbox with a built in HD DVD drive is critical. They and we are working on it. It also has to be more than a gaming machine. Microsoft recognise this. A version of the device may also be sold under the Toshiba brand name”.
Scott Browning, the Marketing Director of JB HiFi Australia’s second largest consumer electronics retailer said, “The device is a lay down mis`ere and essential for the HD DVD camp. We are told that one is coming. The PS3 has been extremely successful for Sony in getting Blu-ray off the ground and for Microsoft, the omission of a built in HD DVD player is set to hurt sales going forward as consumers are aware that the PS3 comes with a Blu-ray player.”
MS didn’t include an HD DVD drive, or HDMI, in the 360 to start to keep costs down and allow it to compete better with the PS3. And the tactic arguably worked. But now, as component costs drop and Sony is able to more aggressively price the PS3, and consumers become more aware of HD media, the PS3′s inclusion of Blu-ray is a marketing advantage. As the component costs of HD DVD drives drop, it makes sense that MS would consider incorporating it into the 360 directly.
However, even if any of these rumors are true, Smarthome reports it won’t be out until late 2008, or possibly CES in January 2009. By that time it may be too late to help HD DVD in the format war. (Via Kotaku by way of Gizmodo.)