Another source has gone live with further details on the forthcoming ‘Xbox 360 Elite’
– backing up previous claims and rumours that the unit is to cost $479 (£245), be fully HDMI-enabled, have a 120GB hard drive and, most excitingly, full IPTV capability.
The ever-reliable Dean Takahashi over on The San Jose Mercury News
this weekend stated that his (still anonymous) sources at Microsoft have confirmed all of the above, stating, “It’s true that Microsoft is preparing to announce the Xbox 360 Elite, a version of the game console with black plastic and advanced features. Several sources confirmed Microsoft plans to add this box to its product line. The new box will go on sale in limited quantities soon for $479 (£245)… I believe it will have an HDMI connector so that you can connect at the highest speed to a high-definition TV. It will come with a 120-gigabyte hard disk drive and will have IPTV capability.”
Takahashi adds that, “Bill Gates announced in January that the Xbox 360 was capable of serving as a set-top box for IPTV, or Internet Protocol TV, which phone companies such as AT&T are using to offer high-definition movies and scores of channels in competition with TV.”
“By the fall, the company will also implement a chip redesign, shifting from 90-nanometer production to 65 nanometer production. That will bring costs down fairly dramatically and will enable Microsoft to make the box in larger quantities by the fourth quarter….At $479, the Xbox 360 Elite will still be cheaper than Sony’s $499 (£255) 20-gigabyte PlayStation 3 and the $599 (£300) 60-gigabyte PS 3. But it will match the Sony box with the HDMI connector feature. The Sony box is not yet capable of IPTV,” Takahashi concludes.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Times
in the UK last week, Xbox’s European boss, Neil Thompson told them that "In the technology and gaming there's really little in the PS3 where I can say, 'Gosh, I wish we had that'…. The biggest threat that Sony has for us is the brand that's been established around it… Sony has come up with an online world that seems to let you do just about everything except gaming.”
Speaking specifically about Blu-ray, Thompson added, "It's two, three years ahead of the market. People won't want to replace their entire DVD collections, and they'll get a better resolution with a standard DVD on an Xbox than a PS3. It's nowhere near the importance of the format war between VHS and DVD. The internet is becoming an increasingly important medium. Surely online is going to be the distribution method for much of the high-definition content."
While SPOnG’s contacts at Microsoft in the UK refuse to ‘comment on rumour or speculation’ SPOnG expects that we will see an official press release regarding the Xbox 360 Elite some time very soon.