Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Microsoft Remains Committed to HD DVD

Despite of the recent decisions by Time Warner-owned studios, Microsoft Corp., the world’s leading maker of software, remains committed to HD DVD format, but may still consider an add-on Blu-ray drive for its popular Microsoft Xbox 360 game console.

Recently Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, two major studios from Hollywood, announced that starting from mid-2008 they would only release high-definition movies on Blu-ray discs, a competing format for HD DVD. Given that Sony-led Blu-ray will have more major studios backing, many think that HD DVD, which was developed by Toshiba, will vanish into thin air. But Microsoft disagrees.

“We were disappointed with the announcement. It has a consequence. I will tell you that we are committed to HD-DVD and still have some great partners – Universal, Paramount, DreamWorks – these are great participants in the format. We have sold very well the HD-DVD accessory,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, said in an interview with 1up web-site.

Microsoft, a strong backer of HD DVD, developed HDi technology, which powers interactive capabilities many discs have, as well as VC-1 codec that is used on both Blu-ray discs as well as HD DVDs. In fact, the world’s largest software maker could have pushed HD DVD forward easily by distributing multimedia-oriented Windows Vista operating system on HD DVD media, forcing system builders to integrate HD DVD drives into their computers. But the move is not announced now and is generally unlikely to happen. Instead, Microsoft says that eventually a Blu-ray disc add-on for Xbox 360 may emerge.

“You never say never. I think we’d like to see how things evolve. Our commitment, however, to HD-DVD is profound and consistent, and we have done very, very well in term of our accessory sales. We have 400 HD-DVD movies from great studios available. It's a long time between now and June,” said Mr. Bell.

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