Microsoft today announced the upcoming availability of Xbox 360 Elite, a new model of the video game system that will include higher capacity hard drive and an HDMI port, while it will be cheaper than the rival PlayStation 3.
Xbox 360 Elite will include a 120GB hard drive, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port, a high-definition cable, and a premium black finish for the console, wireless controller and Xbox LIVE headset.
The Xbox 360 Elite will cost about $480 in the US, compared to the $499 price tag of the low-end PlayStation 3 console. The device and its accessories are expected to begin arriving in U.S. stores on April 29.
The new 120GB hard drive also will be sold as a stand-alone accessory for an estimated retail price of $179.99 (U.S.). Additional Xbox 360 Elite accessories, such as the black Xbox 360 Wireless now in black, features the Xbox Guide Button for quick, in-game access to friends and music. It has a range of up to 30 feet and a battery life of 30 hours on two AA batteries. It is sold separately for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.).
Other accessories for the Xbox 360 Elite console that will only be sold separately include an Xbox 360 Play & Charge kit ($19.99), which allows gamers to recharge their Xbox 360 Wireless Controller without interrupting their gameplay. In addition, the Xbox 360 rechargeable battery promises more than 25 hours of gameplay per charge. It is sold separately for an estimated retail price of $11.99.
Xbox 360 Elite uses three core processors capable of reproducing 1080p HD content in a 16:9 cinematic aspect ratio, while it features anti-aliasing for smooth textures, full surround sound, HDMI output and DVD playback with upscaling capabilities. The device uses the same DVD-ROM drive similarly to the present model and the HD DVD player remains an add-on.
In addition, Xbox 360 Elite will offer an Xbox LIVE Silver Membership, as well as an one-month subscription to Xbox LIVE Gold.
Microsoft also announced today that TV series and movies from A&E Network, ADV Films, National Geographic and TotalVid.com will add to the downloadable entertainment content on Xbox LIVE in the U.S.
Paramount Pictures, for the first time on Xbox LIVE, will offer its feature films for download in high definition. Available titles will include "Braveheart," "Team America: World Police," "World Trade Center" and "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut." Also, for the first time, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will be releasing its direct-to-video movies exclusively in high definition on Xbox LIVE simultaneous with their availability on DVD, starting with "Sublime" and later "Babylon 5: The Lost Tales."