Head of Microsoft's Xbox 360 unit, Peter Moore, has announced that the company will ship an external drive for the machine that will enable HD-DVD playback.
Details are scarce on the ground, but the context is that Microsoft is trying to drive next generation video and music adoption with Vista Media Center.
Whilst we were expecting the ability to stream HD-DVD from Media Center machines, the announcement of an add-on drive is unexpected. No time frame was given for the addition of the drive, only "later this year."
The move is undoubtedly done to be able to counter the fact that the PS3, the rival console to Xbox 360, will ship with a Blu-Ray high definition drive, the rival to HD-DVD. Microsoft's support for HD-DVD seems to be entirely built on the premise that it's promoted by Sony.
There is an interesting technical challenge posed by this. To output HD-DVD at full resolution requires a HDCP compliant output on the host device, HDCP being a content protection protocol. We were led to believe that Xbox 360 did not support HDCP, but it seems as if it might, if we're going to see it work with HD-DVD now.
Microsoft also announced that Street Fighter 2 will soon be available to download on the Xbox Live Marketplace, meaning that you can get to grips with the genre-defining fighter all over again.
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