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Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Bill pleases Toshiba by promising x360 support for HD-DVD

Recent comments of Bill Gates at a joint MS and Toshiba presentation indicate future inclusion of HD-DVD drives in XBox 360 units.

Although nearly a month ago, Microsoft's chairman stated that XBox 360 would feature plain, old DVD technology, "rival" Sony's Blu-ray/PS3 combination offering might have caused him some strategy rethinking. During his talk (jointly with representatives from Toshiba, one of the leading HD-DVD promoting companies) Gates commented that although initial shipments of Xbox 360 will include vanilla DVD drives, future versions might incorporate some form of an advanced capacity DVD player, like HD-DVD.

This wise and rather diplomatic statement, does not fully cover MS's anxiety about securing in advance an alliance with the most prominent to win HD-camp, which at this time is certainly the Sony/Philips Blue-Ray format. This format is more advanced (both in terms of data capacity and reliability design criteria) and offers more prospects to end users. The recent Fox's announcement for the support of the Blue-Ray format has already shaken positively the movie industry.

It is not currently known if x360 will contain a DPM (Trusted Platform Model) chip and how strict the content restriction rules will be. There is already an open criticism of DPM and the other practices of the Trusted Computing Group among the German Security industry that might influence future EU parliament decisions. XBox 360 certainly needs a DPM chip if it is to be allowed to play high definition DVD content, and the adoption of one format against another might make a big difference on one HD format finally prevailing over the other....

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