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Microsoft: Blu-ray Will Be Passed By As a Format

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 127 comments

Microsoft thinks consumers will bypass Blu-ray altogether... except PlayStation 3 gamers, of course.

Could physical media discs be a thing of the past within the next five years? That's a growing debate as consumers continue their shift to digital distribution platforms such as Apple's iTunes and Valve Software's Steam. Downloadable and streaming digital content has become easier to obtain in recent years as hardware specs continue to climb in PCs, consoles, and handheld devices. As it stands, the Blu-ray format may not enjoy the same lifespan as its predecessor, the DVD.

Microsoft's Xbox & Entertainment Director Stephen McGill recently spelled out Blu-ray's doom in an interview during a Halo: Reach launch party, echoing the company's stance against using the costlier Blu-ray optical drive in its console. Although at one time Microsoft did offer an external HD DVD player for watching movies through the Xbox 360, McGill made it clear that the "old school" DVD drive isn't holding the console back in regards to its overall lifespan.

"I think people may have spoken about that originally, but that's long gone," McGill said. "I think people now recognize what a smart decision it was to keep the pricing low, and actually Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming, so we offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?"

As it stands, it's apparent that the next Xbox console may not feature a Blu-ray drive. In fact, it's possible that the console will be void of any optical drives whatsoever. Still, despite the digital demands of consumers, writable Blu-ray optical drives are finding their way into mainstream PCs and stand-alone Blu-ray players are becoming a standard device in the living room. With 3D infiltrating into the Blu-ray market, it seems that the format will be around for a lot longer than McGill implies.

So what's your take? Do you purchase more Blu-ray discs, or do you prefer digital downloads and streaming?

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Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    orionantares , September 22, 2010 10:43 PM
    The terrible broadband backbone will keep blu-ray alive for many years to come.
  • 32 Hide
    jhansonxi , September 22, 2010 10:39 PM
    Sore losers. At least Toshiba got over it.

    Blu-ray's future is inversely proportional to ISP download caps. Those are becoming more popular.
  • 25 Hide
    junkisd , September 22, 2010 10:37 PM
    the quality of streamed movies is no where near the level of a good blu-ray movie. so i use both. but one day it will, and i can see where blu-ray and any other physical media whill be obsolete. until then. having both is a must.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    azcoyote , September 22, 2010 10:37 PM
    90% streaming
    10% bluray
  • 25 Hide
    junkisd , September 22, 2010 10:37 PM
    the quality of streamed movies is no where near the level of a good blu-ray movie. so i use both. but one day it will, and i can see where blu-ray and any other physical media whill be obsolete. until then. having both is a must.
  • 2 Hide
    hokkdawg , September 22, 2010 10:37 PM
    Digital downloads all the way. I have a blu-ray reader on my PC that rarely gets used. Compared to 12 TB of hard disks...
  • -3 Hide
    wavetrex , September 22, 2010 10:38 PM
    It is already obsolete.

    I have cancelled completely the idea of having a blu-ray reader or burner, 25GB or even 50GB capacity isn't worth it.

    With today's multi-TB HDD drives, and 20+Mbps internet, there's absolutely no point in storing data on a (fragile) CD-like format.

    Buy a game from Steam (or similar), download it in less than 1 hour, play. Even faster than going to the store to get the disk. End of story.
  • 32 Hide
    jhansonxi , September 22, 2010 10:39 PM
    Sore losers. At least Toshiba got over it.

    Blu-ray's future is inversely proportional to ISP download caps. Those are becoming more popular.
  • 12 Hide
    tonyn84 , September 22, 2010 10:40 PM
    If they ever go drm free like mp3s are now I might consider a downloaded movie, but until then I'll be sticking to disks.
  • 11 Hide
    jossrik , September 22, 2010 10:42 PM
    Blu Ray will still be around, same way they still have DvDs with the Blu Ray discs, along with the digital downloads. Ya, digital download is great, and that's how I get almost everything, but high speed internet isn't in everyone's home, and to go digital only is just gonna shoot them in foot. One day, yes, but that day isn't today, and it's not gonna be tomorrow, maybe 5 years down the line when high speed internet is more saturated, but not quite yet.
  • 34 Hide
    orionantares , September 22, 2010 10:43 PM
    The terrible broadband backbone will keep blu-ray alive for many years to come.
  • 9 Hide
    ulysses35 , September 22, 2010 10:43 PM
    Hmm more MS crap ? OKJ Xbox360 has done quite well using just a bog standard DVD drive, but lets face it... its much harder and expensive to copy Blu Ray discs - so If MS want to tryand prevent more piracy of Xbox titles or even PC software then put it on blu ray.

    I thin kthe bigger point is that MS wont adopt Blu Ray because Sony beat them to it and it would be a little like admitting defeat.
  • 17 Hide
    filmman03 , September 22, 2010 10:43 PM
    yes but does streaming allow for the use Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio Decoding??? Blu-Ray sure does LOL.

    i find that most ppl only care about the picture. ZOMG! we need 1080p LED TV's!!! wait, would about sound?? O just use the TV Speakers... sigh.

    As far as I can tell; the 360 when streaming Netflix doesn't do a great job with audio. Yes, I know it has Dolby Digital on the 360 but that is it!! it isn't even Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD!

    my advice to M$, release an external Blu-Ray player OR patch the 360 to enable HD Audio.
  • 25 Hide
    anonymousdude , September 22, 2010 10:45 PM
    Downloads sure, but streaming is a whole different game. Between the fact that most people have painfully slow internet that cannot keep up with HD streaming and ISP caps Blu-ray isn't disappearing yet.


  • 9 Hide
    TheDuke , September 22, 2010 10:46 PM
    Blu-Ray will have a place but it will never be as big as DVD or VHS

    DD and streams with services like Netflix has taken off really well

    there will be a market for Blu-Ray
    I think plenty of people will buy blu-ray layers but buying as many discs as before, I don't see happening
  • 12 Hide
    mikem_90 , September 22, 2010 10:47 PM
    While downloads and streaming are handy. I still want to OWN what I buy. Sorry.

    The industry gets way too much power over the customer when its all locked in DRM and the like. I'd also like to SELL a DVD/BD/whatever if I choose to.

    The publishing industry has been after the 2nd hand book market a long while. I'm sure all the companies out there are salivating at the ability to eliminate 2nd hand sales.
  • 9 Hide
    kezix_69 , September 22, 2010 10:47 PM
    I like having my movies bought on DVD or burned onto DVD after buying it, personally. If I can't burn it onto something I won't be paying for it, except for what I watch streamed off Netflix...

    Easier to let my family use a DVD than to use money I don't have to setup some sort of awesome Media Center that can stream to any TV in the house...

    Blu ray blank discs are cheaper now too. I might be in the minority of people though considering there are a lot of movies I like to watch more than once... Streaming content isn't always available.

    Having a large collection of physical media has saved me a couple times really. Like last time we moved we didn't have TV or internet for an extra couple weeks, so we had tons of DVDs to watch when it got late and we felt like vegging.
  • 7 Hide
    jetmech437 , September 22, 2010 10:47 PM
    I think it's nice that if you purchase a movie/game on either DVD or bluray, you have the physical copy. You can sell it to someone else if you so choose. With a digital download, wouldn't you just be stuck with what you purchased?
  • 10 Hide
    duckmanx88 , September 22, 2010 10:48 PM
    in what imaginary world does MS live in where they think people are going to download 25GB games? +bandwidth caps. +extremely slow speeds.
  • 1 Hide
    kyee7k , September 22, 2010 10:49 PM
    BR burners are way too expensive at present to purchase on a whim. Maybe in a year or two when the price of both the burners and discs are competitive with DVD or even 9DL DVDs, I might entertain the idea of buying it as a storage/backup solution.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , September 22, 2010 10:54 PM
    Blu-Ray isnt going anywhere.

    Microsoft has long had a vested interest in digital download and making Blu-Ray go away.

    That is the same microsoft that had me calling some frickin call center in dubi every time my LEGAL copy of windows had to be installed. Apparently I changed the inside of my rig around so many times they thought I was puting it on a new machine. Thats alwasys a fun 45 min. So screw microsoft and their control tactics

    Second, there is something very posessory about having a physical disk. I bought it. Its mine. Ill have it forever. Now, a few years back I got the game Panzer General online for 5 bucks...well...subsequently my drive got wiped and I had to go back to the company to get another copy....turns out they lost my original purchase and I had to pay another 5 bucks to get rights to the game again. Pure streaming + corporate profit motive + BS bureaucracy created = bad news.

    Also, if everyone starts streaming...the internet will get clogged...period. Now, there is a niche for streaming and in a perfect world it might be a good replacement. But not this world. Keep makin the disks.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , September 22, 2010 10:56 PM
    1080p streaming is usually nowhere near Blu-Ray quality like junkisd said.
    I do see a future where physical media will be obsolete, but we're not quite there yet...
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