Microsoft unveils Xbox 360 Elite

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Microsoft unveils Xbox 360 Elite

Upgraded console adds HDMI and larger hard drive.

Microsoft has introduced a new version of its next-generation Xbox 360 games console. 

The 360 Elite will sport several new features as well as a smooth black finish reminiscent of the original Xbox models. 

The console will ship in the US on 29 April at US$479. Current Xbox models cost US$299 and US$399.

No date was given for a European release, although a company spokesperson said Microsoft plans to sell the console worldwide. 

The Elite model will be the first to sport HDMI output allowing users to hook the console to a television with a single cable providing HD video with progressive scan (1080p) and surround sound.

Current Xbox 360 models offer interlaced HD Video (1080i) through traditional multi-plug component cables.

The Elite console will also feature a larger 120GB hard drive. The largest hard drive previously available on the Xbox 360 was a 20GB model.

Microsoft will ship a collection of custom black accessories to match the Xbox Elite's new paint job, including a black headset and wireless controller and black rechargeable battery packs.

The upgrades bring the 18-month old Xbox 360 specs closer to those of Sony's PlayStation 3, which first shipped in November with HDMI output and a 20GB or 60GB hard drive.

The move also comes less than a week after the official European PlayStation 3 launch.
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