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

The drive will be available in Japan from November 22 and will cost ¥19,800 ($168), Takashi Sensui, general manager of the Xbox division of Microsoft's Japanese subsidiary Microsoft Co. Ltd., 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 1080p (1080 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, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic) and a number of other big-name electronics companies and a drive for the system will be built into the PlayStation 3.