Microsoft has offered the first real demonstration of its external HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 since its fleeting appearance at E3, but remains silent on pricing or a confirmed release date.
Demonstrating the device to attendees at the DVD Forum in Los Angeles, Microsoft's senior program manager, Kevin Collins, refused to be drawn on the exact price point for the device - stating only that it would be among the least expensive of the HD DVD players to reach market.
"All the audio and video processing is done inside the Xbox," Collins stated, noting that research indicates the majority of Xbox 360 owners already have HD televisions. The drive will provide them with all the other required equipment to watch HD DVD movies.
"This gives consumers choice and keeps their cost down," he added.
Sony's rival Blu-ray format, the drive for which will be built into the PlayStation 3 console as standard, is slated for a worldwide in November. Microsoft has chosen to support HD-DVD instead, and insists that it will keep the HD-DVD drive as an external device for the Xbox 360 in a bid to offer consumers a choice.
Whilst the picture quality has been deemed equal to most HD-DVD drives demonstrated at the event, the question of cost - something which every consumer is going to be acutely aware of - remains unanswered at this stage.
Microsoft is expected to launch the drive in time for Christmas, and it's thought that a specific release date and price point will be announced shortly.