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Even though Blu-ray disc (BD) is currently the only high-definition movie format on the market, Microsoft Corp. does not want to support its playback natively on its next-generation Windows 7 operating system. Nevertheless, the new OS supports recording to blank Blu-ray disc media.

“Blu-ray [playback] support will be provided by PC makers or BD drive makers. We have new extensibility in media center for those that provide BD playback to support integrated playback. We do have support for burning BD data discs,” said Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of windows and windows live engineering group at Microsoft, in a statement published by Windows 7 Center web-site.

Microsoft has always supported Blu-ray’s competitor, HD DVD, and criticized the format developed by Sony and some others. However, reason of the lack of support of Blu-ray playback in Windows 7 does not seem to be ideology (otherwise Windows 7 would be unable to burn BDs or read them), but royalties that Blu-ray disc association demands from player manufacturers. As a result, Microsoft offers optical disc drive makers as well as personal computers suppliers to include Blu-ray disc software players with their products.

Panasonic, Philips and Sony, who own the majority patents for Blu-ray disc (BD) technology, are currently working with other Blu-ray patent holders to establish a one-stop-shop license for BD products. The mew fees for the new product licenses are expected to be $9.50 for a Blu-ray disc player (down from $30) and $14.00 for a BD recorder.

Tags: Microsoft, Blu-ray, Windows

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