Microsoft has stepped up the fight in the Blu-ray / HD DVD battle by reducing the price of its Xbox 360 HD DVD player in the US.

The move, which Microsoft are saying isn't to be emulated in the UK at the moment, will see the price drop from $199 to $179 and include 5 free HD DVD's as already available to buyers of Toshiba's HD DVD players.

Announced at Comic-Con International 2007, the deal will start from 1 August and will add five free HD DVD movies for anyone purchasing an Xbox 360 HD DVD Player between 1 August and 30 September.

‘We currently have no announcements to make at this stage regarding a price cut of the Xbox 360 HD DVD Drive for the UK’ a spokesman told

Microsoft has also announced that it will be offering exclusive HD content for it's Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Xbox LIVE will offer Spartan gore-fest “300” on demand in HD starting 14 August in the US.

In advance of the street date for the “Heroes: Season 1” HD DVD boxed set in America, Xbox LIVE members will be able to download for free the show’s pilot episode in high definition for a limited time.

Members will also be able to download trailers, teaser scenes and other promotional materials highlighting the “Heroes: Season 1” boxed set on HD DVD.