Do you need a Blu-ray drive for movies in your Xbox One?

Do you need a Blu-ray drive for movies in your Xbox One?

Best answer: No. However, if you pick up an Xbox One S or X with a Blu-ray drive, you'll have a much wider pool of options for movie and TV purchases, since support for 4K digital movies isn't as broad as it is for UHD Blu-ray discs (especially outside of the U.S.). If you're happy with a digital HD 1080p collection, you could probably skip the Blu-ray drive and go with Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.An all-digital future: Xbox One S All-Digital Edition ($250 at Microsoft)For Blu-ray fans: Xbox One S (From $233 at Amazon)Super-charged gaming: Xbox One X (From $450 at Amazon)

You lose more than just 4K discs

Support for digital UHD movies on the Xbox One platform has been spotty at best. Although the situation in the US is much better than it is in Europe and other territories, support for UHD Blu-ray discs is far more widespread than it is for 4K digital content. This is particularly true on buy-to-own platforms like Microsoft Movies & TV, especially for TV series and shows.

Beyond Microsoft Movies & TV, you have the option of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more for 4K media consumption, all without a disc drive. However, when you buy digitally on Xbox (or any platform), you never really truly own your content. Licensing issues, terms of service violations, and simple service shutdowns can lead to you losing your digital content forever. This is particularly risky on Microsoft, who have a proven track record of shutting down consumer-oriented digital sales businesses, such as Microsoft Books, and Groove Music. There's no guarantee whatsoever they won't eventually shut down their digital movies and shows platform too.

In addition to losing the option for 4K Blu-ray movies, you also lose the option of buying games on disc. While Microsoft's commitment to its gaming library is far stronger than its commitment to its Movies & TV platform, if you want to keep those games forever, having them on a physical disc is a always a safer long-term bet. Additionally, having them on disc gives you the option of trading games in when you're done with them. Once you go digital, there's nothing you can do with that license when you're done with the game.

If you have faith in the digital future, you can save some $$$ by picking up the cheaper Xbox One S All-Digital Edition console, otherwise, the disc-bound regular Xbox One S (or even Xbox One X) will prove more versatile.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!