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Friday, June 03, 2005



"The world might at last know the identity of Watergate's Deep Throat, but Microsoft's intentions toward the high-definition DVD business still remain a mystery.

Many high-def watchers had expected Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console to be equipped to play HD DVD discs, using a blue-violet laser, when the next-generation machines are released later this year. But when the Xbox 360 was unveiled in May, on the eve of the annual E3 tradeshow, the DVD drives were red-laser only.

That seemed to leave Microsoft at a disadvantage to Sony, whose PlayStation 3 console, unveiled a few days later, is built around the Sony-developed Blu-ray Disc high-def format. Sony hopes PS3 console sales will help build the installed based of Blu-ray playback devices and boost the format's appeal as a high-def movie format.

In turn, Blu-ray's success as a movie format will boost the appeal of PS3 as a home entertainment platform, helping Sony's game business.

Meanwhile, though Microsoft doesn't have the sort of direct interest in HD DVD that Sony has in Blu-ray, its decision not to include a comparable blue-laser-based high-def movie option in the Xbox 360 was puzzling to many. More mysterious still has been Microsoft's continued coyness over just what sort of playback the 360 will support."

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