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HD-DVD to launch days before PS3

Toshiba has confirmed that the first standalone HD-DVD player to reach Europe will hit the shops on November 15 - just two days before the launch of the PlayStation 3.

Toshiba has confirmed that the first standalone HD-DVD player to reach Europe will hit the shops on November 15 - just two days before the launch of the PlayStation 3.

Speaking at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Toshiba's Olivier Van Wynendaele said the first player to go on sale will be the HD-E1, priced at 599 Euro - the same price as the 60GB PlayStation 3. A higher-end model, the HD-XE1, will follow in December, and will retail for around 1000 Euro.

Both players are slimmer than similar models released in the US, where HD-DVD began to roll out in April. They can output from HD-DVD discs at 720p or 1080i, and the HD-XE1 can also output at 1080p.

Toshiba claims to have sold 50,000 HD-DVD players in the US and Japan already, and predicts year-end sales of 200,000. The company plans to ship 10,000 units to Europe for the first phase of launch.

The HD-DVD format is backed by Microsoft, which has already announced plans to release an external drive for Xbox 360 and is expected to do so in time for Christmas.

Sony's rival Blu-Ray technology, however, will be incorporated into the PlayStation 3. The 60GB model will launch alongside a 20GB version, priced at 499 Euro, on November 17.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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