Officials from Microsoft have announced that the HD-DVD Player for the Xbox 360 console will receive a price cut from $199 to $179 in the U.S., starting from August 1st, 2007.
At the same time the player will be bundled with five free HD-DVD movies from a selection of fifteen, until the end of September. The listing of movies is believed to be the same as on an existing Toshiba 'Perfect Offer' bundle
[PDF link], including movies such as The Chronicles Of Riddick, Tomb Raider, and The Perfect Storm.
In addition to the new price and limited time bundle, Microsoft will be releasing new Xbox Live Marketplace video content to promote the release of the HD-DVD version of movie 300 and TV show Heroes: Season 1.
300 will be available on demand from Xbox Live from August 14th, with Microsoft partnering with Warner Bros. to promote other properties in a similar manner. For Heroes: Season 1, the pilot episode of the hit show will be made available for free, in high definition, for a limited period via Xbox Live. Trailers, teaser scenes and other promotional material will also be released at the same time.
Although Microsoft has been adamant that video games will not be released on HD-DVD
it has nevertheless been a strong backer of the technology, as opposed to the Sony backed Blu-ray format. As recently as E3, former Xbox head Peter Moore defended the format
and flatly denied that it would be dead “within months” – as suggested by Sony’s Peter Dille.
“With the price reduction to $179, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD Player continues to be the most affordable way to enjoy high definition,” said Microsoft’s Jeff Bell. “From the beginning, we set out to offer Xbox 360 owners an unrivaled high-definition experience, with a choice of optical discs on the HD-DVD format and digital downloads through Xbox Live Marketplace — both of which have a selection of the best content Hollywood has to offer.”