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Microsoft, Sony discussions going on for Blu-ray

Posted: 11 Mar 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DVD player ; Xbox video game 

Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. are in talks that could lead to a version of the Xbox video game console equipped with a Blu-ray high-definition DVD player.

Stan Glasgow, Sony Electronics U.S. president, revealed the discussions at a media dinner last week, according to an account of the event published by London's Financial Times.

Glasgow said his company is also engaged in talks aimed at adding Sony Blu-ray to devices made by Apple Inc., according to the paper.

Microsoft found itself without a high-definition video partner last month after HD DVD developer Toshiba Corp. said it would drop the format. Toshiba's announcement followed commitments by virtually all major Hollywood studios to back Blu-ray.

Days after Toshiba formally pulled the plug on HD DVD, Microsoft said it would discontinue an external Xbox 360 drive that supports the high-definition movie format.

Microsoft had been selling an HD DVD player as a Rs.5,092.71 ($129) add-on for the Xbox 360. Existing units are now selling for less than half of that on eBay.

The death of HD DVD puts Microsoft in a quandary. Sony's PlayStation 3 console features a built-in Blu-ray player. With HD DVD no longer viable, Microsoft needs to find an alternate high-definition format for the Xbox.

The company could itself move to Blu-ray. But it might also reject its rival's technology and focus instead on offering high-definition downloads through its Xbox Live online content service.

Microsoft already sells a limited selection of HD television and movie downloads on Xbox Live, which boasts more than 1 crore (10 million) members.

In the meantime, Microsoft has said that HD DVD's discontinuation won't hurt Xbox 360 sales?insisting that it's games, and not movies, that dictate console sales.

- Paul McDougall

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