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Blu-ray Xbox 360 consoles by year end

Deal reported with Pegatron Technology to supply onboard Blu-ray drives for Xbox from third quarter 2008

Xbox 360 consoles offering built-in Blu-ray optical drives will be manufactured by Pegatron Technology - an OEM subsidiary of Asustek Computer - reports Digitimes.com. The website cites Economic Daily News (EDN), a Chinese-language newspaper, as its source.

The article states that Pegatron Technology has secured orders to build the new consoles from Microsoft, with shipments expected to begin in the third quarter of 2008. All of the current Xbox 360 models are sold with a standard DVD-ROM optical drive.

Sony's competing High Definition (HD) ready console, the PlayStation 3, has offered a Blu-ray drive since its launch in the last quarter of 2006. Industry reports state that Sony's console makes up a staggering 85% of the Blu-ray players currently in use. The addition of Blu-ray support is expected to boost the appeal of Microsoft's Xbox 360 console.

Microsoft previously offered next-generation optical disc format support in the form of a HD DVD (High Definition DVD) drive. Microsoft discontinued this drive after Toshiba, the chief backer of HD DVD, officially dropped support for the format in the first quarter of this year.

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