Microsoft and Toshiba Expand Partnership to HD-DVD Players Microsoft and Toshiba will expand their partnership to include a new line of consumer electronics devices, the companies announced today. Under terms of the agreement, the two companies will codevelop new High Definition DVD (HD-DVD) players, devices that will play back the next generation of HD-DVD content. "The market for digital consumer products, including PCs, is huge and may develop in any number of ways," Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida said. "The alliance will definitely be beneficial for both Toshiba and Microsoft." In addition to HD-DVD, Microsoft and Toshiba will collaborate on iHD, an interactive DVD format. Toshiba's HD-DVD players will use Windows CE .NET and the HD-DVD technology that Toshiba helped develop. Both Microsoft and Toshiba are members of the DVD Forum, which is pushing HD-DVD as the next- generation DVD standard. A rival group led by Samsung and Sony is pushing an incompatible next-generation DVD format called Blu-ray. Although Microsoft is a DVD Forum member, the company might eventually agree to support Blu-ray as well because consumers will expect Microsoft OSs to play all DVD formats. Interestingly, HD-DVD could also eventually find its way into Microsoft's eagerly awaited Xbox 360. As part of the Toshiba agreement, Microsoft said it would examine HD-DVD for inclusion in Xbox 360 or a future Xbox release. "The initial shipments of Xbox 360 will be based on today's DVD format," Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said. "We are looking at whether future versions of Xbox will incorporate an additional capability of an HD-DVD player or something else." What to do now? Do you buy the console straight away and get a DVD, or hang on for the HD-DVD equipped 360, which I guess could be brought out at the same time as the PS3 to take the shine off the Blu-Ray advantage Sony would have had!!! Cheers Kevin.