Microsoft will launch an HD-DVD drive add-on for its Xbox 360 console in November, a company executive said today.

The drive will be available in Japan from 22 November and will cost ¥19,800 (about £90), Takashi Sensui, general manager of the Xbox division of Microsoft's Japanese subsidiary Microsoft, said at a Tokyo news conference.

The drive will allow Xbox 360 owners to watch high-definition HD-DVD video content on a suitable television. The system will allow viewing at up to 1,080p (1,080 lines and progressive scanning), which is the highest of several picture levels judged to be high-definition.

The drive is due on sale in other markets but Microsoft did not announce pricing or availability.

HD-DVD is one of two formats competing to become the de facto replacement for today's DVD standard. The format is backed by Toshiba and a number of other companies including Microsoft and Intel. It's rival, Blu-ray Disc, is backed by Sony, Panasonic and a number of other big-name electronics companies and a drive for the system will be built into the PlayStation 3.