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.