Rumour - Blu-Ray Drive for Xbox 360 Due This Year

It's that time of the hour again...

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Rumour - Blu-Ray Drive for Xbox 360 Due This Year
Wow, is it a day of the year, sorry, week... again? It must be time for some more rumour and speculation surrounding Microsoft and its potential adoption of Blu-ray for the Xbox 360, then. This time we have reports that electronics manufacturer Lite-On is developing an internal Blu-ray drive for the 360.

This information comes from unnamed 'industry sources', who also apparently confirmed to Digitimes that Lite-On will begin shipping the drives to Microsoft in the latter half of 2008.

The site also reports that power supply makers have said that the current 210 watt power supply of the 360 is being switched for a 170-watt alternative. The purpose, apparently, is "to reduce production cost and the size of the device". Again, the sources go unnamed.

Paul Jackson, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, lent a bit of plausibility to the Blu-ray rumour, saying “I have no information on this, but it is entirely plausible. If one were to construct a rumour about who would be providing Blu-ray drives for 360, then Lite-On, as one of the major Blu-ray drive manufacturers, would of course be at the top of the list.”

That said, he doesn't expect anything official on the subject too soon. “Microsoft does not want to add anything to the package right now, it wants to keep the price point as low as possible at retail, so I doubt we will hear any official announcement about anything like this in the near future, or even at E3 [in July] as it might dampen demand for the current Xbox 360 offering.”

SPOnG has contacted Microsoft for comment, but none was available at the time of press.

For our part, we're sprinkling salt on this one. While it doesn't seem implausible that Microsoft will support Blu-ray at some point (although it has gone on record to say it won't) there would be little benefit to doing so with an internal drive. As Jackson points out, the company has gone to great pains recently to push the 360's price down and an internal Blu-ray drive would push it right back up. Microsoft would also be unable to use the HD format for games without isolating the millions of existing Xbox 360 owners.

The only advantage would be if it wanted to produce some kind of 'Xbox 360 Super Elite', but SPOnG sees a Blu-ray peripheral - along the same lines as the discontinued HD-DVD peripheral - as far more likely should Microsoft decide to support Blu-ray.

Sources: Digitimes, techradar
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Comments

SuperSaiyan4 1 Apr 2008 13:07
1/12
'The site also reports that power supply makers have said that the current 210 watt power supply of the 360 is being switched for a 170-watt alternative'

100% incorrect, Xbox 360 powersupplies have always been 203w until a month or two ago when the new Falcon edition 360's started to come out meaning that the new power supplies are 175w.

Once the 360 can have 65nm or better yet 45nm processing I think Microsoft should seriously put the power supply in the console itself, if Sony can already do it I don't know why Microsoft cannot.

Also I highly doubt Microsoft would include a blu-ray player in this gens 360, they could release an external one quite easily.
PreciousRoi 1 Apr 2008 13:24
2/12
I strongly disagree with the notion of shoehorning the power supply back into the 360's case.

The current configuration is preferable, and improvements based around it preferable to placing the vulnerable heat source somewhere it can't be cooled OR replaced easily. My PS dies now, I track down a replacement plug it back in and I'm good to go...an internal power supply would mean total replacement, which is completely undesireable, thanks to MS' DLC liscencing structure (I'd lose the ability to access current DLC while offline, which isn't so bad, except for Rock Band songs I like to play offline)

Trying to fit an already compact power supply into a tight space is one of the surest recipes for disaster in electronics design, I'm only a layman, but my personal experience screams this at me...for a reliable power supply you want big and beefy...you're just asking for another RRoD down the road when all the supercompact PSes fail en masse.

The only cons to a separate PS are subjective, and things people can just get over.
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PreciousRoi 1 Apr 2008 13:24
3/12
I strongly disagree with the notion of shoehorning the power supply back into the 360's case.

The current configuration is preferable, and improvements based around it preferable to placing the vulnerable heat source somewhere it can't be cooled OR replaced easily. My PS dies now, I track down a replacement plug it back in and I'm good to go...an internal power supply would mean total replacement, which is completely undesireable, thanks to MS' DLC liscencing structure (I'd lose the ability to access current DLC while offline, which isn't so bad, except for Rock Band songs I like to play offline)

Trying to fit an already compact power supply into a tight space is one of the surest recipes for disaster in electronics design, I'm only a layman, but my personal experience screams this at me...for a reliable power supply you want big and beefy...you're just asking for another RRoD down the road when all the supercompact PSes fail en masse.

The only cons to a separate PS are subjective, and things people can just get over.
jwstacey 1 Apr 2008 13:41
4/12
I wouldn't take it with a pinch of salt. I'd take it with a pinch of April 1st.
Deadmeat 1 Apr 2008 14:04
5/12
Spong doesn't understand that plugging the drive cannot play the movie; it requires Blu-Ray movie playback software, which requires 3 million lines of code and an implementation of Java which Microsoft banned from its own product(Vista, XP, Xbox 360). Not to mention that the royalty is $60 per playback package. Throw in the cost of drive $120 plus retailer mark-up, and the lowest Microsoft can charge is $300. Just ask why Dell charges $250 for the previlliage of watching Blu-Ray movies in its budget laptops. And the last nail in the coffin is that Xbox 360 can't decode full bitrate H.264 stream. Xbox 360 carries no decoding hardware unlike PS3 and did all its decoding in software at 30 mbits/s max, but can't go as high as 40 mbits/s required by Blu-Ray specification.

Therefore, there is 0% chance of Blu-Ray playback in Xbox 360 or Xbox's successor in 2011. Not only it doesn't make any financial sense, it just can't be done on Xbox 360 hardware.
SuperSaiyan4 1 Apr 2008 14:33
6/12
Deadmeat wrote:
Spong doesn't understand that plugging the drive cannot play the movie; it requires Blu-Ray movie playback software, which requires 3 million lines of code and an implementation of Java which Microsoft banned from its own product(Vista, XP, Xbox 360). Not to mention that the royalty is $60 per playback package. Throw in the cost of drive $120 plus retailer mark-up, and the lowest Microsoft can charge is $300. Just ask why Dell charges $250 for the previlliage of watching Blu-Ray movies in its budget laptops. And the last nail in the coffin is that Xbox 360 can't decode full bitrate H.264 stream. Xbox 360 carries no decoding hardware unlike PS3 and did all its decoding in software at 30 mbits/s max, but can't go as high as 40 mbits/s required by Blu-Ray specification.

Therefore, there is 0% chance of Blu-Ray playback in Xbox 360 or Xbox's successor in 2011. Not only it doesn't make any financial sense, it just can't be done on Xbox 360 hardware.


'And the last nail in the coffin is that Xbox 360 can't decode full bitrate H.264 stream. Xbox 360 carries no decoding hardware '

Prove it.
Deadmeat 1 Apr 2008 15:02
7/12
> Prove it.

Proof is the mouth of the former head of Microsoft HD-DVD division, Amir Majidimehr.

Not only it can't be done, but Microsoft has no intention of doing it. As far as Microsoft is concerned, the Blu-Ray movie format doesn't exist, it's all download future for them.
PreciousRoi 1 Apr 2008 15:39
8/12
Here, this doesn't prove that, but it does purport to prove there will be no Blu Ray for 360 and tells you why.
SuperSaiyan4 1 Apr 2008 15:44
9/12
Thanks for the link at least it clears up some things, and also the fact what you said about h.264 being false since thats your own crazy theory.

Next you will be telling me the PS3 upscales better than the Xbox 360...Even though the 360 actually has a dedicated upscaling chip.
Hark 1 Apr 2008 17:19
10/12
Wii,anyone?

Hark
alexh2o 1 Apr 2008 20:01
11/12
Anyone else think they might release a "Zune Box"... A windows media center extender with a Blu-ray drive and Freeview PVR, plus an online music and video streaming/renting/download store, coupled to Xbox 360 game playing capabilities. An entertainment home hub if you like. Then they can charge extra whilst still having the Xbox 360 as a separate product.
PreciousRoi 2 Apr 2008 02:07
12/12
see story I linked to above for possible reason why there may be no Blu Ray future for the 360.
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