The curious -- and, to those of us who've adopted neither, silly -- battle between the Blu-ray and HD DVD next-gen video formats heated up today, as Microsoft cut the price of its Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on. You can now buy an HD DVD player for your console for $179 (down from $199), and you'll also get five free HD DVD movies. (PC World reports that available titles include "Apollo 13," "Seabiscuit," "Constantine," "Casablanca," "We Were Soldiers," "U-571" and "Blazing Saddles," among others.)
Every time I write about the comparative price of the Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3, people assault me for not mentioning the PS3's Blu-ray capability (I can't see why I should -- it matters not a whit to the games people play on the system). But let's do the price comparison now. If you're looking for a console and a next-gen movie player, you can get a 60GB PS3 for $499 (while supplies last!), which includes a Blu-ray player. Or you can get a $399 20GB Xbox 360, plus a $179 HD DVD add-on, for a total of $578.
You get five free movies with the XBox. But as a reader points out below, there's a Blu-ray promotion (expires Sept. 30) that will give you the same number of free movies.
So if you're looking a next-gen movie-capable gaming machine, your cheaper bet (until Sony runs out of the no-longer-in-production $499 model) is the PS3. Take that, MS.
Correction: Hey, my mistake. Earlier I called the XBox deal cheaper because it comes with five free movies; I didn't know about the Blu-ray promotion. So there you have it: PS3's cheaper.