On Wednesday, Microsoft unveiled the pricing of its anticipated external Hi-Definition DVD (HD-DVD) player to be released for its Xbox 360 gaming console.

The drive, which will act as an external disc-reader, will be available in mid-November 2006 in North America for $199.99, n the U.K., France and Germany for €199.99, and other territories in 2007.

Peter Moore, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business unit, told the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) attendees in January that the HD-DVD unit will be used for playing movies only, and not to distribute games.

In contrast, Sony's Playstation 3, will use the competing Blu-Ray disc format internally, as opposed to requiring an external drive, and will support both game and movies.