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Netflix, Apple, and Now Microsoft All Say Nay to Blu-ray

Xbox Blu-ray

Apple is well-known for its opposition to Blu-ray. Steve Jobs famously described the high-def format as a "bag of hurt" when explaining why Macs would likely never come with Blu-ray drives. Instead, Apple has stuck to plain old DVD drives in most of its computer lines, with the MacBook Air packing no optical drive at all.

Netflix is similarly united in its faith in virtual media (in contrast, to, say, Blockbuster). Its brand-new Canadian service doesn't even offer the DVD/Blu-ray-by-mail system that kick-started the company—instead, it's all streaming video, a system that could well be coming to the States soon as well. That makes a lot of sense from Netflix's perspective: Not only are physical discs quickly on their way out, but streaming video is far cheaper for them than mailing out those iconic red envelopes. Netflix's CEO, Reed Hastings, recently called the disc-by-mail service "finite."

The latest company to jump on board? Microsoft. Microsoft does support Blu-ray through its Windows OS, but none of its hardware does. The Xbox 360 has a DVD drive (and, interestingly, a swiftly failed HD-DVD add-on), but the company continues to delay that date when the console would get a Blu-ray drive. Now, it looks like that date might be never—Microsoft's U.K. Director, Stephen McGill, recently gave an interview to Xbox360Achievements where he said:

Actually, Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming, so we offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?

We might not be at the point where digital downloads equal Blu-ray in sheer quality, but it's fast approaching, and digital downloads are able to grow and adapt and improve at a vastly quicker rate than those dinosaur physical disc formats.

Sure, this is stuff everyone probably already knows—but it's nice to hear Microsoft say, flat-out, that they won't bother wasting time on a format with a shelf life nearly as short as that of an avocado.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in Brooklyn (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).

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  • Miguel Peguero

    It seems as if the HD DVD vs Blu-Ray battle is the last format war we will ever witness.

  • Bill Sheppard

    Sorry, Netflix only providing streaming service in Canada is in no way a referendum on their support for Blu-ray Disc. Given that they likely rent at least 5x more DVD than Blu-ray discs, their decision to not support discs-by-mail is far more likely related to Canadian postal cost or distribution issues.

  • Scott Byorum

    Sorry to all those who updated their VHS to DVD and now to Blu-Ray... sucks to be YOU. (oh, wait... that's me)

  • Wren X

    Yeah, it's "interesting" that a company would highlight all the differences between their product and a competitor to sell more. If by "interesting", you meant "obvious".

    Windows and Mac OS are just software packages. Mac OS comes specifically and legally only on Apple computers.

    Windows come on a variety of PCs that Microsoft does not manufacture. Even if Microsoft says nay to Bluerays, that doesn't require people who manufacture PCs to ban Bluerays; it's still an available option amongst many others that aren't available to Apple customers (whether or not those options are worthwhile is a different story).

    That's not an option that affects my purchasing decisions, but it's a big fat duh that a company would highlight that their product offers more options and spin that it's a positive.