Blu-ray: 'Toshiba and Microsoft should join us'

BDA speaks to TechRadar about the future of HD

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Microsoft and Toshiba are more than welcome to join the Blu-ray camp and would be valuable additions if they did. That’s what the Blu-ray Disc Association’s spokesperson, Frank Simonis, said when he spoke to TechRadar from Japan this afternoon.

“Of course we have always said that Toshiba and Microsoft, and any other company, is more than welcome to join the Blu-ray Disc Association. We are an open organisation, with an open disc standard. If Toshiba decides to drop HD DVD we would extend the hand of friendship to them, they are always welcome to join,” he said.

Simonis also empathised with Toshiba, saying that it’s in a very difficult position. He said that any decision to join the BDA would be very difficult for Toshiba, having supported a rival format for so long.

Blu-ray vs HD DVD

Simonis was responding to two stories relating to the two HD DVD-supporting companies. The first was that Microsoft might be planning on launching an Xbox 360 console with a Blu-ray drive inside, and the second is that Toshiba might be about to finally give up on HD DVD.

“Microsoft could easily put Blu-ray inside the Xbox,” said Simonis. “From my understanding Microsoft did an early evaluation and the Xbox has a similar processor to the PS3 so it will be perfectly capable of decoding a Blu-ray disc.

“So technically it could do it. All Microsoft would have to do is acquire a BD licence,” he said.

Simonis dismissed the notion that Sony might be uncomfortable with Microsoft joining the Blu-ray camp. Some say that it’s unlikely that Sony would want Microsoft to put a Blu-ray drive in the Xbox – because then it would be an even bigger threat to the PS3.

But Simonis said that Sony would not be able to stop such a move.

“Sony has nothing to say on this. The BDA is an open organisation and no one company is in charge of it. It’s irrelevant whether Sony would be happy about Microsoft joining up, because it wouldn’t have a say.”

Death of HD DVD?

Regarding Toshiba’s supposedly imminent amputation of its HD DVD arm, Simonis remained dignified and said that it was too early to declare victory for Blu-ray and would not speculate on when the BD format would finally win out.

He also rubbished claims that digital downloads will spell an early death for the Blu-ray disc format.

“Downloading a 4.7GB movie is still an absolute pain for most people. So what would it be to download a 50GB 1080p movie? It would take an extraordinary amount of time and people are just not ready for such things,” he said.

“When it comes to ownership of content, we’ve seen the research: people like to have a physical disc in their hand. With a real box and real case lining. Downloads don’t offer people what they want.”

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