Microsoft is set to enable Windows users to burn Blu-ray discs directly from their desktop, potentially signalling a shift in attitude towards the format.
The feature will be part of the Windows Feature Pack for Storage, which is currently in beta testing. An update on Microsoft's Connect website for developers tells us, "This feature enables the Windows platform to do master style optical burning on Blu-Ray media."
The move could signal a more general shift in attitude towards Blu-ray on Microsoft's part. Indeed, it could be the first step towards the oft-rumoured addition of Blu-ray support for the Xbox 360.
Microsoft was previously firmly in the HD-DVD camp, offering an external drive to play movies in the format for the 360. Following the death of HD-DVD
, however, many a rumour has moved through the mills positing that Microsoft will release a Blu-ray drive to go with its console.
That said, Microsoft has been pushing its downloadable film and TV content for the 360 hard, with its Netflix deal in the US being the latest gambit. Microsoft may well feel that it offers plenty of HD content without the addition of Blu-ray support. Even with HD-DVD no longer existing as a viable platform, it may still see making the 360 work as a Blu-ray player as contrary to its download agenda.
We should keep in mind the fact that Shane Kim (Microsoft's corporate vice president of Strategy and Business Development in its entertainment business) was recently almost categorical
in his denial that Blu-ray would ever come to the 360. Microsoft also appears to firmly of the opinion that physical boxed content in the games industry is on its way out
.Source: Information Week