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Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., said in an interview that owners of Xbox 360 game console will be able to acquire external Blu-ray disc drive (BD) for the system as “accessory”. The add-on BD drive for Xbox 360 has been rumoured for over a year, but this time it looks like Microsoft is serious about supporting the format.

“Well, I don't know if we need to put Blu-ray in there – you'll be able to get Blu-ray drives as accessories,” said Steve Ballmer in an interview with Gizmodo web-site.

The comment by Mr. Ballmer does not seem to be truly surprising. While competing Sony PlayStation 3 game console does support Blu-ray and high-definition video downloads, Microsoft only supports downloads and plans to enable streaming of full-HD videos (1920x1080) later this year. Moreover, the price of Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite and Sony PlayStation 3 Slim 120GB is now equal – $299 – but Sony’s machine features Blu-ray, Bluetooth and integrated Wi-Fi controller. Even though wireless accessories can be obtained from Microsoft, Blu-ray still remains an exclusive feature of the PS3.

In fact, Blu-ray Xbox 360 add-on will hardly become something completely extraordinary for Microsoft. Even when Microsoft released HD DVD add-on for Xbox 360 it implied that it could create a similar player supporting Blu-ray. Moreover, a year ago industry rumours emerged that Microsoft did have an add-on BD drive for Xbox 360 in the roadmap (Microsoft later denied the information). Windows 7 operating systems also supports burning of Blu-ray discs and recognize their file structure. Finally, in a recent TV advertisement Microsoft said that Blu-ray support is one of the advantages that certain Windows-based computers have over Apple Macintosh systems.

The main reason why Microsoft is unenthusiastic regarding Blu-ray is mandatory support of BD-Java interactive technology and Sony’s reluctance to adopt competing tech called HDi that was developed by Microsoft. Even though Microsoft managed to push its VC-1 codec onto both Blu-ray and HD DVD markets, the company’s negative attitude towards Java prevented it from supporting the former standard in general. As a result, the company used to sell external HD DVD drive for Xbox 360. However, since HD DVD has vanished into oblivion, Microsoft does need a new high-definition video standard for those, who use X360 console as the entertainment center.

Tags: Microsoft, Blu-ray, Xbox

Discussion

Comments currently: 5
Discussion started: 10/22/09 07:09:17 AM
Latest comment: 10/23/09 08:19:10 PM
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1. 
All adding an external Blu-ray accessory will do is highlight how overpriced the 360 really is compared to the PS3. And with the price of standalone Blu-ray players now, they won't be able to compete on a value front with them either.
0 2 [Posted by: genie  | Date: 10/22/09 07:09:17 AM]
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2. 
Man I loved HD-DVDs for their smaller price and better compatibility and availability. Now all we're left with is SONY expensive cra...
0 0 [Posted by: East17  | Date: 10/22/09 03:13:41 PM]
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Well, at least for me, HD DVD does not work under Windows 7 (both on LG hybrid drive and Toshiba's native one)
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 10/23/09 04:48:40 PM]
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3. 
An add-on Blu-Ray player for the 360 is something I can live without. Add-ons for consoles have been one of the biggest wastes of money all throughout gaming consoles' history.

Assuming Microsoft is true-to-form and uses their overpriced model when selling accessories and add-ons, this Blu-Ray player will be at least $100 and probably closer to $150. You might as well by a full-featured Blu-Ray player and not shackle yourself to the 360. This is especially true when you consider support for add-ons is usually weak or nonexistant.
0 0 [Posted by: Astral Abyss  | Date: 10/23/09 08:16:12 AM]
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4. 
Right after they posted this Gizmodo updated the info. It turns out Ballmer didn't know what he was talking about. There will NOT be Blu-Ray for Xbox 360
0 0 [Posted by: MaxxxRacer  | Date: 10/23/09 08:19:10 PM]
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