Microsoft, Apple Execs Agree: “Who Needs Blu-ray?”

Visit the house of Microsoft (s MSFT) UK head of gaming and entertainment Stephen McGill, and apparently you won’t see any Blu-rays on his shelves. The exec told the video game blog Xbox360Achievements on Tuesday that he didn’t feel Xbox 360 was being held back by only supporting the DVD format, adding that “Blu-ray is going to be passed by” (hat tip to Thinq). The full quote:

I think people may have spoken about that originally, but that’s long gone. I think people now recognize what a smart decision it was to keep the pricing low, and 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?

In that same interview, McGill points to Xbox Live as being “a phenomenal heart within the Xbox 360” that’s transformed into a service that supports both gaming and broader entertainment. Xbox Live recently announced an exclusive partnership with ESPN to broadcast more than 3,500 live sporting events to Xbox Gold subscribers; with that, and other potential live programming on deck, it’s not hard to imagine a future where an Xbox is a suitable replacement for your cable box.

This attitude not only matches with Apple (s aapl) CEO Steve Jobs’s own thoughts on Blu-ray, but also statements made by Bill Gates in 2005, when he told the Daily Princetonian that “For us it’s not the physical format. Understand that [Blu-ray] is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything’s going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk.”

Bandwidth issues are always a concern with streaming media, and the reliability of a physical disc is hard for the format to match. But when it comes to copy-protection Blu-ray has issues, as recently seen when a firmware update made dozens of Warner Bros. and Universal Blu-rays unplayable.

Picture courtesy of Flickr user schreiblockade.

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