We can't say we saw this one coming down the pike, but Microsoft has unveiled a new piece of software designed to "streamline development / testing for HD DVD content" as well as "accelerate the advancement" of next-generation interactivity (HDi, in particular). Simply put, the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator allows studios the flexibility to "model the behavior of HD DVD disc content, including encoded video and HDi interactivity, in a virtual environment." When put to use, companies can purportedly cut down on coasters and wasted time, but in order to do so, they'll need an Xbox 360 + HD DVD peripheral, a connection to Xbox Live and $2,999. Thirsty for more? There's plenty where that came from.

[Thanks, Erie T.]

ByD:Sign intros 42-inch PH-4203DFK plasma