A 64K next-generation DVD should be enough for anyone

When Microsoft finally came out in support of the HD DVD standard, many chalked it up to the company’s competition with Sony (see “Off the record, I just don’t think Bill could have handled the ‘Blu Screen of Death’ jokes“). But while the looming battle between Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 may have played a small role, it wasn’t the deciding factor. In an interview with The Daily Princetonian, Gates says Microsoft chose to back HD DVD over Sony’s Blu-ray format, because Blu-ray’s copyright protection scheme is “anti-consumer.” “The key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-ray is very anti-consumer and there’s not much visibility of that,” Gates explained. “The inconvenience is that the [movie] studios got too much protection at the expense consumers [sic] and it won’t work well on PCs. You won’t be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way. It’s not the physical format that we have the issue with, it’s that the protection scheme on Blu is very anti-consumer. If [the Blu-ray group] would fix that one thing, you know, that’d be fine.”

And in the end does all this Sturm und Drang over next generation formats even matter? Not according to Gates, who sees neither format as the future of media distribution. “Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be,” Gates said. “Everything’s going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it’s even unclear how much this one counts.”


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  • Jim Davis

    What Bill *really* means is that the copy protection scheme isn’t Microsoft’s and that it doesn’t want to give Sony/Phillips/Intertrust any more market power than those companies already have by ceding control over any portion of the content value chain that leads to the consumer. I certainly don’t see how people would believe Microsoft is a leader in reliability, security or ease of use, in any case.

  • MJR

    Streamed huh. Maybe with Internet 3. Physical media is here for the long haul. Why? You hit play and it works.