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An executive from Microsoft Corp. told at a conference in London, UK, that the company would release a new version of HD DVD drive for Microsoft Xbox 360 game console in 2008. Several hours later the company retracted its comments in regards the novelty, claiming no update was planned. But, considering Microsoft’s irresolute stance on new video formats, can it be smoke without fire?

Mark Bennett, Microsoft’s EMEA business development director for HD DVD, said at the press conference that the world’s most influential developer of software readies a “new” HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 in 2008 and also has “more plans” to “incorporate HD DVD into the PC platform in the future”, reports Personal Computer World web-site.

While Mr. Bennett did not elaborate about the new HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 and the nature of further incorporation of HD DVD into the PC platform, Microsoft retracted the comments in an interview with PCW hours after the publication emerged.

Current HD DVD drive for Microsoft Xbox 360 game console supports both dual-layer HD DVDs as well as HDi interactive capabilities. A new drive could support triple-layer HD DVD media or also gain support for Blu-ray discs, which are also popular among high-definition video adopters.

Microsoft also announced it would sell high-definition download movie rentals over its Xbox Live service before Christmas in the UK – one of the first such services to hit Europe. Pricing was not announced, but the software giant demonstrated a 1280x720 (720p) movie measuring 4GB costing 480 credits, which equates to about ?4 ($8, ?5.7).

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