Xbox 360 HD DVD player price falls to $179

Posted by Mark Raby

San Diego (CA) - Following recent cuts in Blu-ray Disc players and continued beatings of HD DVD, Microsoft has taken $20 off the MSRP of the Xbox 360 HD DVD player add-on.

The basic Xbox 360 peripheral is the best-selling HD DVD player and even with the purchase of the $300 game console it has remained an inexpensive way to move into the high-def format.

It also remained the longest-running player to stand at its original MSRP.  With other standalone HD DVD devices seeing recent price drops, Microsoft has followed suit and brought the $200 add-on to around $180.  The announcement was made at this week's Comic-Con show in San Diego.

Toshiba's least expensive player was cut to around $300 several weeks ago, with retailers taking that down to as low as $230.  The cheapest Blu-ray player is currently the Playstation 3 at around $500.

Though sales of HD DVD movies has grown over the past several months, the format is still lagging well behind Blu-ray.  The new price for the Xbox 360 player will be effective beginning next month.

Like Sony's Blu-ray promotion that's running right now with some devices including the Playstation 3, HD DVD backer Toshiba will offer five free HD DVD movies with the purchase of a player through the end of September.  At a combined MSRP of at least $100, the free movies bring the price down to more like $80.

Also at Comic-Con, a release date of August 28 was given for the first season of the NBC series Heroes.  It will feature a "download center" in the disc menu where users can connect their HD DVD player online and access new and exclusive content.

In the spirit of the movie 300, also slated for HD DVD, 300 attendees at Comic-Con will get a custom, limited edition Xbox 360 Elite consoles with theming from the movie 300.