Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is one of the most popular video game systems on the market. Its features include life-like high-definition graphics, DVD-quality video and audio, and in some slightly older models an HD-DVD drive. But as is the case with standard HD-DVD players, it does not have the ability to play the competing Blu-ray format discs.
HD-DVD players and discs hit stores in March 2006, a few months before Blu-ray players. HD-DVD was manufactured primarily by Toshiba, with studios including Warner Brothers and Universal producing movies in that format.
Microsoft incorporated HD-DVD technology into the Xbox 360 game system as an optional drive in November 2006, around the same time the Sony PlayStation 3 systems began to be equipped with Blu-ray.
HD-DVD and Blu-ray were created as an upgrade to DVD but designed to be competing formats and incompatible with each other, forcing consumers to choose. Blu-ray eventually prevailed, and HD-DVD players began to be pulled from stores by mid-2008.
With the demise of the HD-DVD format, Xbox 360 systems stopped offering the HD-DVD drive in February 2008. Models with the drive will still play the discs, though new titles are no longer sold in stores.
Rumors have circulated for a couple years that Microsoft will incorporate Blu-ray technology into future Xbox versions, but as of 2009, that has yet to happen. To date, Xbox 360 systems with an HD-DVD drive still do not have the capability to play Blu-ray movies.