During an interview supporting Microsoft’s launch of Windows 7, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a comment about folks being able to buy external Blu-ray players…but Microsoft’s own all-things-Xbox spokesperson Major Nelson is scrambling to clarify that Ballmer was referring to external Blu-ray players for personal computers, not for the Xbox 360 system. According to Nelson, nothing has changed: Microsoft has no plans to bring a Blu-ray player to the Xbox 360.
Microsoft backed Toshiba’s HD DVD format during the high-definition format war, and produced an external HD DVD player for the Xbox 360 to support high definition movies and, potentially, enabling game developers to ship heaps of content on HD DVD discs rather than standard DVDs. However, then Toshiba threw in the towel to Sony’s Blu-ray format, Microsoft discontinued its external HD DVD player, and has so far made no move toward Blu-ray.
Instead, Microsoft has focussed on offering on-demand video streaming via its Xbox Live service, including 1080p high-definition movie content, as well as thousands of other movies and television shows through partners like Netflix. Of course, these services are available only to Xbox Live subscribers, and Xbox 360 customers who live in areas where broadband is either not affordable or available cannot access on-demand services.
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