Microsoft's Xbox could consider Blu-ray support

LAS VEGAS Tue Jan 8, 2008 4:23pm EST

Lucas Charbit (C) and Thomas Latina, both of France, play Rock Band on a Xbox 360 console at the AMD ''Innovation Experience'' during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 7, 2008. Microsoft Corp's Xbox video gaming unit still fully backs Toshiba Corp's HD-DVD high-definition DVD format but could consider supporting Sony Corp's rival Blu-ray technology should consumers want it, an executive said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Lucas Charbit (C) and Thomas Latina, both of France, play Rock Band on a Xbox 360 console at the AMD ''Innovation Experience'' during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 7, 2008. Microsoft Corp's Xbox video gaming unit still fully backs Toshiba Corp's HD-DVD high-definition DVD format but could consider supporting Sony Corp's rival Blu-ray technology should consumers want it, an executive said on Tuesday.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Marcus

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LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Xbox video gaming unit still fully backs Toshiba Corp's (6502.T) HD-DVD high-definition DVD format but could consider supporting Sony Corp's (6758.T) rival Blu-ray technology should consumers want it, an executive said on Tuesday.

"It should be consumer choice; and if that's the way they vote, that's something we'll have to consider," Albert Penello, group marketing manager for Xbox hardware said when asked whether Microsoft would support a Blu-ray DVD accessory in the event that HD-DVD failed.

Microsoft does not believe the surprise decision last week by Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) unit Warner Bros, the top seller of home movies, to abandon HD-DVD format in favor of Blu-ray should affect sales of its Xbox 360 video game console, Penello said.

"I fundamentally don't think ... this has a significant impact on Xbox 360 versus (Sony's) PlayStation 3," Penello told Reuters in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"With the PlayStation 2, DVD was a big part in the beginning, but over time, people were not buying it as a DVD player after first year or two," Penello said.

The Xbox 360 supports a plug-in HD-DVD accessory that is bought separately, while Sony, hoping to give its next-generation video format a leg up, built a Blu-ray player into its PlayStation 3 machine.

"You can't say it's not a bummer, not a setback, but I've seen this battle declared over so many times," Penello said of Warner's decision.

"I want consumers to have a voice in this and I think there are a lot of consumers who bought HD-DVD who are going to have a say in how this shakes out."

Warner Bros is the movie division of media conglomerate Time Warner Inc (TWX.N).

(Reporting by Scott Hillis, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Richard Chang)

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