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Should the Xbox 360 use Blu-ray? |

It’s a fact of my life right now: covering the war. The war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray has produced interesting thrusts, counter-thrusts, and feints from both sides.

Part of the war is the assumption that Microsoft will use HD-DVD eventually. After all, Bill Gates said that they might do just that. Plus, Microsoft and Toshiba has teamed up on the technology. Headlines like this one saying “Xbox 360 and Playstation 3: Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD” only reinforce the wide-spread belief. Or take’s statement that “Clearly [Microsoft] won’t support Sony’s proprietary Blu-ray technology.” (See my thoughts on recent HD-DVD and Blu-ray happening in this post over at I also discuss this statement made by

So of course Microsoft will choose HD-DVD. Right? But really, why shouldn’t Microsoft choose Blu-ray instead of HD-DVD? Let’s think up a couple reasons why Microsoft should use Blu-ray.

  1. It’s got more storage capacity, and has more potential for more.
  2. It’s backed by the biggest name computer manufacturers like Dell, HP, and Apple. And Microsoft software runs on machines by two out of those three. Standardization is a good thing, and if all computer companies get behind one standard, the consumer wins.
  3. It would make HDTV enthusiasts happy. If both the PS3 and Xbox 360 supported Blu-ray, then a Blu-ray victory is virtually assured. This would make the format war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD mercifully short, and will let us get on with our lives. (Though it might give me less to talk about on

Okay, so I could only think of three. But each of those three points are major reasons why Microsoft should adopt Blu-ray. Now, let’s think up some reasons why Microsoft should go HD-DVD.

  1. To be contrarian. Since when does Microsoft do what we want them to do?
  2. It would annoy Toshiba not to.
  3. Bill Gates likes Paramount, Universal, and Warner Brothers better than Columbia/Tristar, MGM, Disney, and Fox.

Okay, only three again.

So there ya have it. I guess it’s really a tie. Three reasons for each side, so it’s a wash. Microsoft might as well do what everyone expects of them, and stay the course.

  • Technically, Microsoft software runs on all three of those companies (HP, Dell and Apple). Virtually every person I know with a Mac runs Microsoft Office. Of course you can also run Windows under Virtual PC (Microsoft also owns Virtual PC), but that’s not quite as common.

    But I think your reason #3 for adopting Blu-Ray is the best. I wasn’t of purchasing age during the VHS vs. Beta war so I mercifully got to avoid that one, and I am not looking forward to the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray battle!

  • JL

    I found this online.

    The issue isn’t data capacity, it is audio/video play time. Therefore, one has to examine the application layer of both competing formats. Blu-ray has made it clear that they are only supporting MPEG-2 as the video codec (at a data rate of 24 Mbps – the same as D-VHS). AOD (HD-DVD) will use a new high efficiency codec, specifically either H.264 or Windows Media 9, which can achieve a superior picture quality to Blu-ray at data rates of 10-12 Mbps.

    So what does this mean: It means that even though a dual layer AOD disc will be only 30 Gbytes (compared to Blu-ray’s 50 Gbytes disc), the AOD disc will actually hold more audio/video playtime!! So why doesn’t Blu-ray adopt a high efficiency codec as well … that is a very good question … one reason would be that the already released Blu-ray recorders support only MPEG-2 video – so if Blu-ray switches to a more advanced compression scheme future pre-recorded movie titles won’t play on the current Blu-ray recorders. As an aside, you will noticed that the other Blu-ray companies have not released Blu-ray recorders and in fact are waiting until the application layer is finalized for Blu-ray first – although my sources say that Sony (who is the is the defacto head of the Blu-ray consortium) is holding the line on MPEG-2 video compression to the dismay of several of the other companies.

    There is much more to be said, but I have already written too much – I will check back in a couple weeks with an update.

    Yours Truly,

    The DVD Guru

  • While what you said was true at one point, it is no longer the case. Blu-ray will support both MPEG 4 AVC and VC1, so HD-DVD will not have any advantage there. BD will support:


      MPEG-4 AVC
      SMPTE VC-1


      Dolby® Digital
      Dolby Digital Plus
      Dolby Lossless
      DTS digital surround®
      DTS-HD® audio formats.

    See the PDF document linked to from this page:

    Link: Blu-Ray Disc AssociationPublic Specifications

  • The problem would be that if there were a Blu-Ray drive in the 360 it couldn’t come out before Springtime or be as small as it is now because the only drives I have seen are fat. But if they added a drive later they don’t really need to decide until later. And if they decide later, Blu-Ray will probably be the only choice as HD-DVD will probably choke on launch. It already has started its decline even before it has been released.

  • HD-DVD was never really a choice for launch. The question was always whether or not to add one later. “Later” would probably end up being at least a year later, because nobody puts out such a revision too close to launch. So, BD is a valid choice at that point.

  • Veniex

    Actually, they’ve developed blue ray drives that are pretty small (for laptops).
    check ’em out:

    here’s the page with everything: