Microsoft XBOX Loses To Sony Blu-Ray

Even powerhouse Microsoft didn't end up making the right call on the HD disk format wars between HD-DVD and Sony Blu-ray. Sony Blu-ray is now the undisputed winner in this war which Sony apparently learned how to win after losing the Sony Betamax vs. VHS wars of the late '80s and 90s.

Microsoft announced dropping support for the HD-DVD drives for XBOX 360s. Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Amazon, Wal-Mar, Best Buy and K-Mart have followed suite, pledging to promote the Blu-ray format. I made my Blu-ray player purchase last week after hearing the news about Toshiba ending manufacture of HD-DVD drives and players.

Speculation is that Microsoft won't rush to replace the HD-DVD drive with Blu-ray in the XBOX 360 anytime soon, opting to go the way of downloadable content, much like the Apple TV 2.0. That's possible but Microsoft doesn't have the studio agreements that Apple does. I'd expect we'll see a Blu-ray player in the reasonably near future before we'll see XBOX's going the way of Apple TV. I'm still skeptical about the Apple TV 2.0 being a home entertainment and multimedia box for anybody other than Apple fanboys. Maybe the XBOX will be the equivalent for Windows and XBOX lovers.

There is one potential use for all the already purchased HD-DVD players and those still on retailers' shelves. Use them as DVD upscale converters. They'll play regular DVDs at better quality than a standard DVD player.

Otherwise, the only other place for HD-DVDs other than the junk heap, is sitting in the closet with that Betamax machine you're still hoping will come back in fashion. Good luck.

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