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Blu-ray still off the cards for new iMacs?

updated 08:30 am EDT, Mon October 5, 2009

Blu-ray not likely for new iMacs

Despite implications of Blu-ray Macs soon, the rumored iMac overhaul isn't slated to get the better disc format, tech writer John Gruber claimed on Sunday. Known for sources that have accurately predicted iPhone details, he said that Blu-ray was once considered likely but that the "new word" is that it has been dropped. Why this might be hasn't been addressed.

Apple has gradually shown signs it's willing to officially support Blu-ray as it has added Blu-ray burning to Final Cut Studio, but company chief Steve Jobs has famously described the 50GB disc format as a "bag of hurt" due to the copyright protection and licensing problems associated with the technology. The drives also remain more expensive than DVD drives even for combo drives, or those that can only read Blu-ray but can still write DVDs.

Gruber does believe the new iMacs, thinner MacBooks, cheaper Mac minis and new peripherals are all likely, though it's unclear whether he's drawing on sources or reacting to speculation and FCC leaks.

by MacNN Staff



  1. barryjaylevine

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Blu-Ray? Who's asking for it?

    The only people who want Blu-Ray in Macs are the people behind the technology: The Movie Studios. It holds nothing of any real value. I don't want a Blu-Ray player and I don't want to pay for a technology that is, as Steve so aptly put it, "a bag of hurt."

    Blu-Ray was an answer to a question no one asked.

    There! It's been said. The emperor has no clothes.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Still a bag of hurt

    Apple was never slated to have Blu-ray so I don't know why the rumor started. If any Apple computers are going to get Blu-ray it would likely be the high-end Mac Pros. Apple would likely use it in order to give people incentive to buy Mac Pros which are probably not being sold in any quantity.

    I have no use for Blu-ray and I'm perfectly satisfied with single- and dual-layer DVDs. When I get my PS3 Slim, it'll have Blu-ray playback and that'll be enough.

  1. Zeeb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm asking for it.

    I have a blu-ray player at home hooked up to my HDTV. As a result my Netflix account is Blu-ray enabled. When I go on trips, I'd like to not have to worry what format they are in before I leave. The ability to play a Blu-ray on a macbook pro would be a huge selling point for me. I love it when fanboys try to portray blu-ray adopters as this teeny tiny minority of people, when in fact all major electronic retailers sell the discs as well as the players.

    Nevertheless, as long as Apple refuses to upgrade their computers from 5 year old technology I'll just save my money. No need to rush out and get an upgrade!

    BTW, I realize this story is about blu-ray on the iMac. However, the issue extends to Apple's entire line of portables as well.

  1. romevi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I, too, am asking for it.

    And so was the guy who prompted the whole "bag of hurt" response from Steve.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Joined: Dec 1969


    50%... act on it, or not?

    So, by an informal (and highly flawed) census here, we can see that 50% of previous posters here as of 9:30 CST want blu-ray, and the other 50% do not.

    Is 50% of a user base asking for a feature enough for Apple to open that bag of hurt, pay licensing fees, and slap a blu-ray player into new Mac computers?

  1. ApeInTheShell

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Things change

    Physical discs such as CD,DVD, and Bluray are becoming less important as the Internet bandwidth grows and more people have access to streaming video. YouTube, Netflix(there's a reason it's not called DVDflix), Hulu, Apple Quicktime, and many others have changed the way we enjoy video on our computers and smart phones. Film makers will still release movies on disc for those who do not have access to a computer. Yet I wonder how many people would just settle for a movie on the go with their smart phone versus paying for a blu Ray disc and player or paying a subscription.
    Eventually we will be able to purchase tickets online for a movie and check an option to purchase the video via a kiosk afterwards. Not only does the movie theatre earn money from admission but they also have iPhone users pre-order the movie fir an additional cost.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Don't need it. Don't want it.

    I hope Apple never adds blu-ray support. We should be moving away from physical media, not embracing a DRM laden format such as blu-ray.

    Suggestion to Zeeb:

    Get the digital version from iTunes instead of waiting for Netflix to send you a disc.

  1. chris2519

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What is the holdup?

    Apple dragging their feet on this is ridiculous. First of all, Blu-ray resolution is incredible and the movies look beautiful on the 52" and 46" televisions in my house. So yeah, if I'm given the choice to watch it on Blu-ray, that's what I'm going to do. The issue is when I go on a trip and I've got a movie I want to watch -- suddenly my beautiful aluminum macbook is less appealing. Yes, to all the geniuses that point out that watching a movie in Blu-ray is unnecessary on a notebook, the resolution bump doesn't much matter. The point is that it would be nice to at least be able to PLAY THE DISC. I know that seems oh-so-exotic to some of you, and god forbid that you hard line macboys pay an extra $120 for something you "don't need" (even though you'll pay $2000 for a Macbook Pro), but it's not like we're asking for the ability to build a nuclear generator here. All we want is the ability to play a DVD format sold by almost every DVD supplier in the world.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The holdup

    The biggest thing holding this up is Apple's revenue streams. Apple wants people to buy movies from the iTMS, of which they'll get a piece of the pie. They don't want people buying or renting movies from other people. There's no money in that.

    And it isn't a 'big bag of hurt' to include Blu-Ray support on any computer or device. If it were, there wouldn't be so many out there that actually include such things. And even if it were 'complicated', doesn't Apple have a couple of programmers who could handle the task?

    And there's nothing more complicated there than there is to get HDCP working, which Apple does have working, as can be seen by how some videos from the Apple Store wouldn't work on some TVs connected via DVI.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How about Blu-ray authoring...?

    Obviously this is not directly related to BD drives on iMacs, but how about killing iDVD and transforming the carcas into iBlu-Ray (or iDVD-BD...)? Steve delcared 2006 the year of the HD. We are now three years later and I still cannot deliver my own HD home video to my own home HDTV via Blu-ray-compatible disc. Most consumer software packages for Windows (such as Pinnacle Studio, Sony Vegas, Corel Video Studio, etc) can capture HDV (or AVCHD) video from your HD camcorder, let you edit them, then deliver your finished movie onto a standard DVD (or dual-layer DVD) in Blu-ray compatible AVCHD format, for full HD playback on any standard BD player and HDTV.

    Totay, 9 out of 10 consumer camcorders are HD. People shoot HD all the time. Windows users also make BD-compatible home movies on ordinary DVDs, but us Mac people have no way of showing our HD stuff in HD (unless we buy AppleTV, in which case we still can't share with others who only have BD players).

    It is time for Apple to move from declaring the "year of HD" to actually make the tools necessary for working with HD.

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