Steve Ballmer Avows Microsoft Blu-ray Support

CEO confirms some earlier speculation, although sadly no word about an Xbox 360 drive.

Those of you who have tried to use a Blu-ray drive with Windows Vista’s Media Center and suffered from the jarring transition into whatever third-party application is installed for Blu-ray playback are going to be pleased with some news from Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer. Speaking at Mix ’08, Ballmer offered some official affirmation of the company’s plans to improve its current support for Blu-ray going forwards.

Alas, for those hoping for some news about a Blu-ray add-on for the Xbox 360, no mention was made, but Ballmer’s comments could be interpreted as a confirmation of sorts, should you be so inclined. You can decide that for yourself:

We’ve already been working on, for example, in Windows, device driver support for Blu-ray drives and the like, and I think the world moves on. Toshiba has moved on. We’ve moved on, and we’ll support Blu-ray in ways that make sense.”

It is arguable that offering an optional Blu-ray drive would make sense. Not only does it enable Arcade console owners to use the Xbox 360 for HD film viewing, but it will also allow Microsoft to cash in on those consumers either unwilling or unable (due to bandwidth, or other constraints) to take advantage of Xbox’s Live Video Marketplace. Not to mention the ability to re-watch physical media, and its superior quality, over downloaded content.

Hopefully Microsoft will come clean one way or the other soon. For now, at least we can rest assured that Microsoft isn’t bitter about HD DVDs defeat and will be improving Vista’s currently lacklustre support for the format.


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