updated 09:20 am EDT, Tue April 1, 2008
Lite-On Blu-ray X360 Rumor
Best known in the Americas for producing add-in optical drives, Lite-On is building Blu-ray drives for Microsoft's Xbox 360, according to claims made within the storage industry. The firm is reportedly assembling read-only drives that would ship in the second half of this year and would allegedly be used for the next version of the Xbox 360 itself rather than a USB add-on, as was the case for the now defunct HD DVD drive. The reasons behind the decision are unclear, though the move is likely necessary to ensure native 1080p output for Blu-ray movies, as USB may affect the likelihood of support for the HDCP encryption needed to play back some titles at full quality.
Lite-On has neither confirmed nor denied the rumor, saying only that it must maintain the confidentiality of its customers. Microsoft has maintained that it has no plans for Blu-ray on the Xbox 360 despite a Sony executive claiming talks to the contrary. Microsoft has historically insisted that it would not include any HD optical format with the current Xbox generation, citing its desire to avoid tying the fate of the Xbox 360 to a particular format.
The sources for the new story also claim that Microsoft will drop the power supply requirements of these new models from 210W to 170W, most likely to accommodate 65 nanometer graphics chips that will reduce both the power draw and the internal heat of the game system. Today's systems require the larger supply due to power-hungry 90 nanomter graphics.