Tuesday, January 8th 2008

Microsoft Says There Will Be No HD DVD Xbox

Despite rumors to the contrary, Microsoft did not unveil an Xbox console with HD DVD capabilities built-in at CES, and has no plans to do so in the future, according to an executive in Microsoft's entertainment business. "Absolutely not," said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for interactive entertainment at Microsoft, when asked Monday if an HD DVD Xbox was in the works. Microsoft has been pushing HD DVD over Blu-ray as the format for high-definition video, but HD DVD suffered a significant setback last week when Warner Bros. said it would drop support for the format in favor of Blu-ray. Monday during an interview at CES in Las Vegas, Bell said Microsoft is taking a more agnostic view on how to serve up HD video. He said that it's up to consumers to make a choice between the two formats, not vendors. "We'll let the market decide how they're most interested in consuming entertainment," he said.

Giving customers choice of hardware platforms by licensing its software to partners has certainly served well in its enterprise and business segments over the years. With Xbox, Microsoft has had a more direct line to consumers, but the company has still leveraged partnerships, such as new ones it announced Sunday with entertainment companies like MGM and ABC to serve up premium video content to consoles via the Xbox Live service.

Next to Windows and Office, Xbox is poised to be one of Microsoft's most successful consumer products ever, although the product is not yet profitable. Bell confirmed that the Xbox business, as well as the division that oversees it, Entertainment and Devices, would be profitable by the end of its 2008 fiscal year on June 30, a previously stated goal of Microsoft's.

At CES, Microsoft made sure to reveal some recent milestones for its Xbox business. Xbox console attach rates, or numbers that refer to the amount of merchandise sold that's connected to the console, are an especially important metric the company is tracking. According to Microsoft, the company sells about seven games for every console, a number that is higher than both its competitors, Nintendo's Wii console and Sony's Playstation 3 (PS3).

Bell also cited November 2007 figures from market research firm NPD, which claim that for the year, Xbox generated more than US$3.5 billion at retail, $1 billion more than the Wii and $2 billion more than Sony's PS3.

Microsoft's Xbox Live service is certainly a big reason the console is doing so well, and the company is using it as a launch pad for getting video content into the home. This strategy could put Microsoft in competition with set-top box makers that work with service providers to deliver Microsoft's Mediaroom IPTV service into homes.

Bell said Microsoft would rather view its strategy to use both the Xbox Live and Mediaroom as entertainment-delivery platforms as covering all its bases rather than competing with partners, or even each other.

"We're very committed to this concept of choice," he said. We learned from our first generation of Xbox -- if you impose too much content on consumers, it's not a winning strategy."Source: PC World
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29 Comments on Microsoft Says There Will Be No HD DVD Xbox

#1
Ravenas
Meh, I never thought an HD-Player was too much content on the consumer...Guess that's just me.
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#2
mdm-adph
Aye, they'll wait until the "market" decides to use Blu-Ray, and then they'll use it too, but only then, so they won't lose any face. Bah, can't say I blame them.
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#3
Ravenas
by: mdm-adph
Aye, they'll wait until the "market" decides to use Blu-Ray, and then they'll use it too, but only then, so they won't lose any face. Bah, can't say I blame them.
I completely agree with you there mdm-adph, Microsoft is just watching the market.
Posted on Reply
#4
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
yup. microsoft is slowly backing away from hd-dvd as we all expected. if hd-dvd had 90 percent of the studios like blu-ray does then you know for sure bill gates would be putting hd-dvd in the xbox himself.
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#5
error_f0rce
Agreed. With the amount of research going into tracking the format the war, what to put into new products, etc, if you see a giant like M$ back peddling, it's not a good sign for HD-DVD. It's not like it's over yet, but you gotta figure, at any given time, they know more than we do.
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#6
WhiteLotus
i feel sorry for all you guys that have a HD DVD player - the way this looks it could end up being a waste of money
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#7
Ravenas
I don't think MS is going to mess with HD-players anytime soon. I honestly think it's like Bay said, MS is going digital (similar to iTunes).
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#10
Ravenas
They just updated the news article, saying Paramount denied the claim.

EDIT: We'll see though, news like that doesn't just appear.
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#11
error_f0rce
I don't think everyone is ready to go digital just yet. Most consumers still like to see something "in their hands" when they buy a movie, CD, DVD, BD, HD-DVD, etc., although that's changing. Still, even with iTunes, you still feel like you're holding your purchase in your hands, when it's on your iPod.

Also things are very awkward right now technology wise. They can't see to stream 1080p efficiently yet, most people don't have large enough hard drives (or even media centers for that matter) to download high def movies in any practical way. Not to mention the lack of availability of cable internet in many areas of certain states. It feels like certain technologies are surging ahead, and others are lagging behind. Some are driving the market, while others are riding the other's coat tails. And the poor average consumer is just begging and waiting for someone to make sense of it all for them. Lots of competition creates fantastic products, and lowers prices, but also really confuses the average non-techie. I think the average person wants to be told what to buy, not have to worry about hooking up a media center to an internet service, configuring it, making sure they have adequate storage capacity, learning and navigating a new online store interface via their TV, and then being told to spend their hard earned money on "virtual products" they can't touch or feel. It's disconcerting for many people. My 2 cents.
Posted on Reply
#12
effmaster
by: Ravenas
They just updated the news article, saying Paramount denied the claim.

EDIT: We'll see though, news like that doesn't just appear.
Just like the news that Microsoft was going to introduce a new xbox 360 console version at CES 2008. I think not. Its all speculation really.
Posted on Reply
#13
Ravenas
by: effmaster
Just like the news that Microsoft was going to introduce a new xbox 360 console version at CES 2008. I think not. Its all speculation really.
There is speculation that can be considered and is backed with evidence, and then there is speculation that is just speculation. ;)
Posted on Reply
#14
ShadowFold
As much as I hate sony im loving my blu ray drive...
Posted on Reply
#15
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
by: error_f0rce
I don't think everyone is ready to go digital just yet. Most consumers still like to see something "in their hands" when they buy a movie, CD, DVD, BD, HD-DVD, etc., although that's changing. Still, even with iTunes, you still feel like you're holding your purchase in your hands, when it's on your iPod.

Also things are very awkward right now technology wise. They can't see to stream 1080p efficiently yet, most people don't have large enough hard drives (or even media centers for that matter) to download high def movies in any practical way. Not to mention the lack of availability of cable internet in many areas of certain states. It feels like certain technologies are surging ahead, and others are lagging behind. Some are driving the market, while others are riding the other's coat tails. And the poor average consumer is just begging and waiting for someone to make sense of it all for them. Lots of competition creates fantastic products, and lowers prices, but also really confuses the average non-techie. I think the average person wants to be told what to buy, not have to worry about hooking up a media center to an internet service, configuring it, making sure they have adequate storage capacity, learning and navigating a new online store interface via their TV, and then being told to spend their hard earned money on "virtual products" they can't touch or feel. It's disconcerting for many people. My 2 cents.
i agree %100 ! bill gates is putting the cart before the horse. the hardware manufacturers need to pump out some seriously fast and large HDDs that are easy to install. they wont do that until they know for sure that %100 digital is the way the consumer will go. they need more than bill gates to convince them of that. ISPs are still quite slow in the USA on average and most people dont have a clue what a media center is. maybe in 10 years we will start to see things go %100 digital, but i will still want a tangible copy of whatever i buy.
Posted on Reply
#16
Ravenas
by: Easy Rhino
i agree %100 ! bill gates is putting the cart before the horse. the hardware manufacturers need to pump out some seriously fast and large HDDs that are easy to install. they wont do that until they know for sure that %100 digital is the way the consumer will go. they need more than bill gates to convince them of that. ISPs are still quite slow in the USA on average and most people dont have a clue what a media center is. maybe in 10 years we will start to see things go %100 digital, but i will still want a tangible copy of whatever i buy.
I've said it once and I'll say it again...External HDs are way over priced. :banghead:
Posted on Reply
#17
russianboy
I think that this is a smart decision on their part.

If you were Gates, and there were two formats such as this, what would you do? You have no idea if HD-DVD is going to be adopted as the new format, and if it isn't, then there will be money lost and upset consumers. If you wait until the victor has emerged, then you can safely pop in the new format players, and by that time prices would have lowered on players of that format. So I'd say waiting is the best way to go.

I feel bad for HD-DVD, I personally support that format because it is not owned by a particular company. I think the space on those devices is more than enough for a high-def movie, who needs all those "extra features" honestly? I figure they will use all that leftover space for advertisement, and naturally we get screwed at the end.

And they wonder why we pirate movies!
Posted on Reply
#18
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
another question, if microsoft isnt gonna make HD-DVD their standard drive, how do they plan on competing with the PS3 in terms of storage space for games? a blu-ray disc holds 50 gigs and a standard dvd holds 9 gigs. no way in hell that the xbox 360 can continue with that standard in another year or 2. you wanna know why a lot of games have been delayed on the ps3? because the game companies have contracts with microsoft and cant release the games for ps3 before they do microsoft and they have to fit 50 gigs of info on 9 gigs.
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#19
russianboy
Perhaps we may be seeing Blu-ray 360s.
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#20
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
by: russianboy
Perhaps we may be seeing Blu-ray 360s.
im thinking that in 2 years we see a brand new console from microsoft.
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#21
Ravenas
by: russianboy
I think that this is a smart decision on their part.

If you were Gates, and there were two formats such as this, what would you do? You have no idea if HD-DVD is going to be adopted as the new format, and if it isn't, then there will be money lost and upset consumers. If you wait until the victor has emerged, then you can safely pop in the new format players, and by that time prices would have lowered on players of that format. So I'd say waiting is the best way to go.

I feel bad for HD-DVD, I personally support that format because it is not owned by a particular company. I think the space on those devices is more than enough for a high-def movie, who needs all those "extra features" honestly? I figure they will use all that leftover space for advertisement, and naturally we get screwed at the end.

And they wonder why we pirate movies!
I personally like the extra features, there are so many cool things you can do, and stuff like this makes the blu-ray future look even cooler:

http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=827
Posted on Reply
#22
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
by: russianboy
I think the space on those devices is more than enough for a high-def movie, who needs all those "extra features" honestly? I figure they will use all that leftover space for advertisement, and naturally we get screwed at the end.

And they wonder why we pirate movies!
hd-dvd movies put out a year ago look like garbage compared to the higher density blu-ray counterparts. and yes, hd-dvd has increased their capacity as of late, but in fact hurts your arguement that there is more than enough space. also, having the extra space is a smart move in the long run with film transfer companies using less compression for a better picture.
Posted on Reply
#23
russianboy
Thank you.

I personally love to be proved wrong, because that way I learn something by force!
Posted on Reply
#24
Wile E
Power User
by: Easy Rhino
hd-dvd movies put out a year ago look like garbage compared to the higher density blu-ray counterparts. and yes, hd-dvd has increased their capacity as of late, but in fact hurts your arguement that there is more than enough space. also, having the extra space is a smart move in the long run with film transfer companies using less compression for a better picture.
The capacity has nothing to do with it. Blu Ray has some equally terrible looking movies in it's library. It has to do with the Codec those movies use. Some of the encodes still use mpeg2, just like dvd. If they use H264 or VC-1, there is absolutely no quality difference, as no current movies can exploit the full capacity on either format with those codecs.

In short, the shitty looking HD movies (on either format), are due solely to the studio's laziness in encoding, rather than either format's storage capacity.
Posted on Reply
#25
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
by: Wile E
The capacity has nothing to do with it. Blu Ray has some equally terrible looking movies in it's library. It has to do with the Codec those movies use. Some of the encodes still use mpeg2, just like dvd. If they use H264 or VC-1, there is absolutely no quality difference, as no current movies can exploit the full capacity on either format with those codecs.

In short, the shitty looking HD movies (on either format), are due solely to the studio's laziness in encoding, rather than either format's storage capacity.
the capacity has everything to do with it. all of the poor quality blu-ray movies are on 25 gig disks, not the 50 gig ones.
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