Remember, this is an external news report, on Dealerscope this morning...

Microsoft Preparing Xbox 360 with HD DVD

"According to an Australian Web site citing inside sources at Toshiba, that company and Microsoft are at work on a new version of the Xbox 360 that will include a new HD DVD drive, as well as new entertainment software not previously available on the console.

"The Web site Smarthouse reported over the weekend that an unnamed “senior Toshiba executive,” in Singapore, had confirmed the project, and added that it may also be sold under the Toshiba brand name... Smarthouse said the new device will likely be unveiled in either late 2008, or at the 2009 CES show."

Leave it to the Aussies to report something like this... David Richards at Smarthouse.com.au reported this story late last week.

"Microsoft, according to insiders at Toshiba owner of the HD DVD patents, claim that Microsoft is working on a brand new Xbox that will incorporate not only a new HD DVD drive but a large hard drive and new entertainment software that is a spin off from its struggling media centre offering."

Struggling? Not sure about that assessment, as NPD NPD reported that Xbox 360 outsold the Wii at retail, as Dean Pullen reports on The Inquirer...

"Spurred by the release of Halo 3, the Xbox 360 led all console sales in the U.S. during September with 527,000 units sold.

"The Wii sold 501,000 units, while the DS handheld sold 495,800 - helped further by the aforementioned Zelda.

"The three Halo 3 SKUs combined, have sold an amazing 3.3 million copies since launch. This helped raise the industry sales figures 74% for the month of September year on year. Total sales hit (USD) $1.36 Billion."

That looks pretty healthy.

As I asked earlier this year, "when will we see an Xbox 360 Elite HD bundle announced? I don't want another peripheral for the Xbox 360... I would like to see an HD DVD drive built in to the main unit. That would be worth the premium cost."

The article from Oz also noted that "there is also talk of it including a dual HD TV tuner and EPG capability and a docking port for an MP3 player... <and> the development of an open standard docking port similar to the 17 pin iPod port. This would allow all manufacturers to use the same port for docking."

DVR? Yes, please.  Having an on-board digital video recorder would be a good combination with the Xbox Live Marketplace for movies and TV delivered to the Media Center PC.  EPG? Again, yes - this (an Electronic Programme Guide, think TV Guide or Media Center UI) would be a must, particularly a Windows Vista Media Center user experience, with network access to all my media, as well as NetFlix movies on demand, Zune music.  Heck, perhaps even Vudu could be a content supplier as a Media Center channel.

That is a must in a one-up over the competition, and one that allows content to be shared around the house.  As noted previously, we have a Media Center PC serving up content in our house, but point of playback DVRs (our ReplayTVs) do most of the time shifting duty on TV for our family.  This would coincide nicely with a logical next step in HDDs for the Xbox, a 200-250GB drive (more mainstream in general purpose notebooks these days).  Given that we're seeing 200GB drives appear in sub $700 notebook PCs, this would be a good next step (and hold plenty of SDTV and HDTV content).

Talk about a satisfying experience:  one device that does it all.  That would be sleek.

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox 360