Short Bits: Xbox 360 Blu, Cables

The Financial
Times is reporting that Sony is in talks with Microsoft
for Blu-ray on the
Xbox 360.  I still
don’t see the point
, and Microsoft is still saying “We have made no such
announcement.”  Blu-ray on the Xbox 720
makes so much more sense.  By the time
you develop for the Xbox 360 you’re only going to have a year or so until the
next console hits.  At this point, I wouldn’t buy an Xbox 360 with Blu-ray simply because I might be repaying if the Xbox 720 ships with it too.  There are additional reports out that the Xbox 360 will be getting a price drop.  A price drop and Blu-ray?

Brent
Evans has a good post
on where to pickup inexpensive cables online, I
strongly agree with his recommendation for Monoprice.com.  I’ve ordered from them around a dozen times
and will never buy cables retail again.

15 thoughts on “Short Bits: Xbox 360 Blu, Cables

  1. I don’t think the work will take too long for an external drive. The codec work is the same and already loaded on the 360. It’s just the engineering around the special features. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was available for the holidays.

  2. But as Chris has pointed out earlier, they’d need to implement BD+ and Java on the 360, which is probably a lot of work and MS doesn’t exactly love Java.

  3. I sort of agree. With the economy such as it is, I think the market for hi-def players and expensive hi-def movies are going to take a hit this year. Microsoft probably would be better served to get the price down on the current XBox 360 product line. The *other* thing Microsoft needs to achieve is get a U.S. Cable TV provider to use IPTV.

  4. Well, I am very tempted to say I told you so.

    I said so in previous topics on this and say again: the logic Chris mentions is very valid but also not the logic that is IMHO in the end relevant.

    The relevant logic is very simple: for the average uninformed consumer a console that can play the next gen of video against a console that can’t will always win.
    So if MS does not take (probably huge) losses now to offer an XBox with BluRay at a competing price with the PS3, it will loose that much market momentum that it will be too late at the time the next XBox is released to change the tide.
    Sony has won its gamble with BluRay (against the expectation of many), now MS needs to salvage what it can.

    People do not buy what they need, people buy what they think are buzzwords they can’t do without. And those buzzwords now happen to be BluRay and True HD.

  5. Xander, people also buy what they can afford. Microsoft stands to gain more in this economy by bringing the XBox 360’s cost/price down. That will help differentiate themselves. And just because blu-ray persevered doesn’t mean they have reached ubiquity/mass market. DVDs are going to compete with blu-ray for at least 2-3 years. Is it really in Microsoft’s interest to help Sony accelerate that adoption? What’s in it for them? If Microsoft does jump onboard sooner rather than later…I think Sony would likely offer something to Microsoft. What, I have no idea.

  6. Xander: As I’ve said before I hear what you are saying, and I think a lot of other people feel the exact same.

    Speaking of buzzwords, RROD is becoming very popular.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360_technical_problems

    So what we have is Sony saying Microsoft will do Blu-ray for the Xbox 360, reports of Microsoft doing an Xbox 360 price drop, and growing reports of Xbox 360 failures. Which of these issues are more important?

    Bringing up TrueHD, there is nothing Microsoft can do with the Xbox 360 to have it output it correctly. So once again, if TrueHD is your buzzword then the PS3 is the only console that can offer it.

  7. We all expect that the Xbox 720 is currently in development, so they know the future architecture. It would be extremely smart if MS could ‘look ahead’ and build a BR drive (external of course) that would work with the 360 but also be ‘forward compatible’. That would alleviate everyone’s version concerns.

    Also, never underestimate the power of the ‘upgrading’ model. Granted the PS3 has the built-in HD drive, but the 360 has the lower price point. Only a very small portion of society is ‘well off’ so the rest of us are ‘financially challenged’ so if I didn’t have the budget for a PS3, but I did for a cheaper 360, AND had the option to upgrade to a BR player later, then thats a real powerful market option. Thats what drives our economy… think car loans and mortgages… I can afford a nicer thing if I defer some of the cost until later paychecks!

  8. Chris, people will debate the top two…but I think your point is that blu-ray falls to the bottom in priority among those you mention. In my opinion, its priority rises only if Sony offers Microsoft something that is hard to refuse.

  9. I’m not INCLINED to say I told you so. I’m SAYING I told you so.

    Your original post about this listed out technical issues. Those are easy to overcome, MS has a boatload of smart people and virtually unlimited financial resources. I thought the original post was completely off the mark.

    Market momentum and consumer perception are hugely important in the game market and they need to hit fast and hard on this… and they need to do it yesterday.

    They had a lead on Sony in game consoles, they have a lead on Apple for a media extender… they need to do this.

  10. Don’t worry Al, when Microsoft actually releases an Xbox 360 with Blu-ray I’ll concede that you were right but really your “Saying I told you so” when there is no product on the market or even an announcement? I’m not inclined to say pigs fly, but under your ideals I’m saying I told you so. 🙂

  11. Al, doesn’t $price factor into consumer perception? When the economy is down as it is, price tends to carry more weight. If they do anything with the XBox 360..it will be an accessory, not built-in. After all, its not a prerequiste to play XBox 360 games. Wii is doing pretty good without a hi-def player.

  12. Thinking about this more, BD specs mandate that a player must support multichannel PCM, something that the Xbox 360 can’t physically support on current hardware.

    This means that Blu-ray would have to either come on a brand new Xbox 360 SKU that basically has different hardware within, or the Xbox 360 isn’t ever getting Blu-ray and it would be the Xbox 720 that has the first chance of getting it.  This would also mean that an external Blu-ray drive for current Xbox 360’s would actually violate BD’s specs (although, I think HD DVD was the same [??], but it could of just required 2 channel – I check on this)

    Edit: PL1 HD DVD Players were only required to support 2 channel PCM. 

    And as per above on things like TrueHD, the Xbox 360 only has HDMI 1.2 so you can’t even output the bitstream!  HDMI 1.3 is needed for it, and no Xbox 360 has HDMI 1.3.

  13. Good insight Chris. You can imagine all the criticism Microsoft would get for only supporting a downgraded version of Blu-ray. Who wants that grief. I just don’t see the business need to rush this. Again, whats in it for Microsoft?

  14. Agreed Chris… I’ll give you that. So we’ll just have to wait and see.

    And yes, price does factor in, but blu-ray drives will become dirt cheap in the not too distant future and the component cost to manufacture an xbox has got be easily in the black by now. The intro’d this box when they were losing money on every box they sold and they may have to do that again for a little while on the blu-ray version just to keep up with the ps3.

    It just needs to be done… it’s so close to being the killer gaming machine… so close.

  15. I think it’s time for MS to do yet another XBOX 360 SKU – lets call it the ‘XBOX 360 Home Theatre Edition’.

    It would be silent. Either no fan at all, or a very quiet one. No hard disk in the unit (but it can connect to and use a hard disk elsewhere via the home network).

    It would have a BluRay drive in-built. (It makes for less boxes under the TV.) People thinking of buying a top-of-the-range bluRay player would perhaps buy this instead.

    It would look like a piece of HiFi kit, not a games console.

    It would do the whole Media Centre Extender thing _really_ well. This is a media device.

    This would primarily be for watching movies and interfacing to Vista MC. High quality sound and video, zero noise. Highly reliable. OK, the kids can play a game or two as well, but that’s just a bonus to clich the sale.

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