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Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected

Unknown Lamer posted about 9 months ago | from the can-we-just-have-emusic-for-video-already dept.

Data Storage 477

Lucas123 (935744) writes "Sony has warned investors that it expects to take a hit on expected earnings (PDF), due in part to the fact that demand for Blu-ray Disc media is contracting faster than anticipated. In two weeks, Sony will announce its financial results. The company expects to post a net loss. Sony's warning is in line with other industry indicators, such as a report released earlier this year by Generator Research showed revenue from DVD and Blu-ray sales will likely decrease by 38% over the next four years. By comparison, online movie revenue is expected to grow 260% from $3.5 billion this year to $12.7 billion in 2018, the report states. Paul Gray, director of TV Electronics & Europe TV Research at market research firm DisplaySearch, said consumers are now accustomed to the instant availability of online media, and 'the idea of buying a physical copy seems quaint if you're under 25.'" Especially when those copies come with awful DRM.

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Blank Media (5, Interesting)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 9 months ago | (#46923961)

They should re-tool all of their factories, embrace the inevitable, and minimize (or prevent) losses by marketing it for storage and reducing the price of the discs and drives. The only thing that can save Blu-Ray now is to re-purpose it.

Re:Blank Media (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 9 months ago | (#46923979)

Don't expect this. There is an inevitable whining to government that is in the cards... you can bet on it.

Re:Blank Media (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#46924003)

I'll always prefer the disc, so I can feel like I paid for my BluRay rip. I don't like streaming much - I want a real file on the filesystem on my HTPC, with instant seeking and so on.

For stuff to watch once, I still like Netflix by mail, but sadly Netflix doesn't - they seem determined to abandon the business.

Re:Blank Media (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924087)

br rips are great. on a local nas, totally great.

on opto discs, uhm, not so great.

files are ok. the player, its java garabage, forced watch segments, slow startup, screw that! the players are aweful and the whole architecture is ugly.

the only good thing is that they are decent sources for further compression back into normal file sizes. the native BR discs take up way too much room, but rips and compressions of them are a good balance of storage and quality.

I never owned a player and I think I have one disc (came with something). I won't help sony (et al) get rich from this by buying 'licensed' media and players. but I will enjoy the higher res files, thank you very much.

Re:Blank Media (1)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#46924429)

I agree on playing the discs. I have a BluRay drive only because I like ripping them myself. The only BluRay I've ever watched from the disc is the Doctor Who 50th anniversary thing, because I wanted to check out the 3D on my TV and I don't know how to rip that properly.

Maybe it's my connection, but streaming just seems second-rate to me. I'll stream stuff when I just want something to listen to while I do stuff around the house, but not to pay full attention to. Sadly, I fear it's just a matter of time before heavily-DRMd streaming becomes the only legal format. Well, if they one day decide to stop taking my money, what can I do?

Re:Blank Media (2)

gmack (197796) | about 9 months ago | (#46924017)

Better would be to start actually selling things people want in Blu-Ray format. I refuse to buy DVDs of a series I just watched in HD and quite often series releases are still DVD only and so I buy nothing instead.

Re:Blank Media (5, Informative)

Tough Love (215404) | about 9 months ago | (#46924271)

Maybe it would have served Sony well to make the format less user-offensive. Slow loading, Interminable trailers with no bypass. Offsensive "FBI WARNING". Crappy slow inconsistent menus coded in Java. I thought this was the 21st century.

Re:Blank Media (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 9 months ago | (#46924515)

I haven't used physical media directly for a rather long time. Any time I do, I remember why it is that I originally stopped. I can certainly see why someone might view streaming video as less bothersome.

Hollywood spends far too much time fixating on thieves while kicking their paying customer in the balls.

Re:Blank Media (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 9 months ago | (#46924561)

. /sarcasm What?! Treat the customer with some respect? Heresy! What are you? Some kind of weird User Experience developer? :-)

Re:Blank Media (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 9 months ago | (#46924063)

They should re-tool all of their factories, embrace the inevitable, and minimize (or prevent) losses by marketing it for storage and reducing the price of the discs and drives. The only thing that can save Blu-Ray now is to re-purpose it.

Reducing the price of media and drives just means less money for them. Ultimately it won't do any good.

I used to buy blank DVDs in bulk. But I haven't burned more than 3 or 4 DVDs in the last 2 years. Everything is on a couple of 3TD hard drives with backup copies a two more drives. Why would I want to storing and spend time shuffling around a hundred disks?

Re:Blank Media (3)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 9 months ago | (#46924093)

If you have a good product, with fixed costs,that is too expensive, that nobody is buying, you are losing money. Sony et al. know this only too well, it's why the DVD industry followed the pattern it did.

If you reduce the price and get SOME customers, and they tell other people "Hey this works, it's good." you'll get MORE sales, with LESS margin - but this is much better than no sales at all!

Also, drives aren't proper backup, unless they're offsite, and these discs pack 50GB each, more than enough for most discrete items on your 3TB drive (what do you need that for anyway, HD porn?)

Re:Blank Media (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 9 months ago | (#46924129)

An extra hard disk onsite is as good a backup as physical dvd or bluray disks.

The problem with streamed media is they lose the rights and bam- you can't watch it any more.

Going forward- they seem to be fragmenting in to many stations- which each want 10 bucks a month.

Still- I stopped buying DVD's and Blurays several years ago when I hit 50ish. I only buy something if I'm certain I'll actually watch it again before I die.

Re:Blank Media (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 9 months ago | (#46924267)

Also, drives aren't proper backup, unless they're offsite, and these discs pack 50GB each, more than enough for most discrete items on your 3TB drive (what do you need that for anyway, HD porn?)

Optical discs aren't a proper backup either unless you store them offsite: they are easily destroyed in a fire or taken by a burglar.

I think encrypted online backup is a far more convenient solution than optical discs: it can run as a background process instead of requiring the user to insert a blank disc regularly.

Re:Blank Media (4, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 9 months ago | (#46924311)

The arrogance of Sony won't allow them to do that. They have a fetish for proprietary failed formats

Failed Sony Formats...
* Betamax http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]
* MiniDisc http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]
* HiFD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
* SSDS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
* BroadBand eBook http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
* Memory Stick http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org] (almost dead)
* HDV http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org] dying
* Super Audio CD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
* Universal Media Disc http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org] (dying)

Successful Sony Formats...
+ CD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]
+ Blu-ray http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Blank Media (4, Insightful)

dk20 (914954) | about 9 months ago | (#46924455)

MiniDisc was actually a pretty good system at the time and the discs were fairly cheap. what killed it was the ATRAC format. Since Sony music was so concerned with piracy they introduced their proprietary format to prevent copying. A good example of one division of sony killing another i guess.

While it might have been a workable solution had they spent any money/time building a proper converter (mp3->actrac) instead of the garbage they released.

I've been burned by Sony twice (moved to Yamaha long ago) and buying the minidisc which said "mp3 support" right on the box, but having to wait an excessive amount of time to convert to actrac was too much to ask. The wait time naturally assumes the atrac conversion software SonicStage didn't crash/hang...

Re:Blank Media (4, Interesting)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 9 months ago | (#46924479)

At least give Sony credit for sticking with their products for their entire life cycle, unlike certain companies that drop stuff like a hot potato *cough* Microsoft *cough* Sega *cough* if the first sales report is shit.

Re:Blank Media (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | about 9 months ago | (#46924457)

This seems good in theory, however, of late I've found myself just using USB3 hard drives and thumb drives to do the same far more quickly and easily. And since a typical 2.5" hard drive is equivalent to 20+ blu-ray disks, they consume far less space, and it's far easier to manage larger subsets of your collection in bigger bundles.

Sneaker net is also quicker and easier with high density hard drives, as people like to make copies of things they receive, and mounting a hard drive and copying what they want is far simpler than the effort of sorting through multiple disks. Unless of course you're just sending a single file or two, and for that we have tiny reusable thumb drives (or Dropbox and the like for those that only seem to exist online).

There might be a niche market for people that create endless videos with their cameras, and like to distribute them to multiple friends at low cost. But, that is equivalent to how blu-ray is being used now. It will also dwindle with the current trend as people with tablets/netbooks/etc stare at you strangely as you try to give them the disk, and ask you if you'd kindly send them a Dropbox link.

Contracting? (5, Interesting)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 9 months ago | (#46923975)

Was it even ever popular? I never had a Blu-Ray player in my house and I have only held a internal player once in my hands. In my opinion, Blu-Ray has failed as a successor to DVD. Even in the autumn days of DVD, you can find disks and players everywhere. With the better Blu-Ray, adoption had been hurting and it has never seen the lift-off its predecessor had. I doubt that a successor to Blu-Ray will fare much better.

Re:Contracting? (5, Informative)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 9 months ago | (#46924007)

The problem has always been the price of burners and discs. Blu Ray seemed awesome when I first saw it, but I never could justify the cost, what with these cheap generic +R's and WinRAR to split stuff... oh not to mention cheap almost-disposable drives.

Re:Contracting? (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about 9 months ago | (#46924011)

Was it even ever popular? I never had a Blu-Ray player in my house

One word: Playstation3

I never looked to buy a Blue-Ray, but I do have a PlayStation in my house.

Re:Contracting? (5, Insightful)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 9 months ago | (#46924251)

Ever try running blu-ray outside of a PlayStation?

I have a blu-ray drive in my media computer. (The one hooked up to the TV and sound system.) When I try to play a newer blu-ray disk, I am told it won't work and I need to buy a new player. Fortunately there are some free alternatives, coupled with AnyDVD, that will still decode and play the newer disks.

When I try to play a blu-ray in the dedicated blu-ray player, it simply boots up as unreadable and asks for a firmware update... but there are no firmware updates to be had for the device any more.

In my view, it is the over-zealous DRM that is killing the format. The video quality is great, and storage capacity is wonderful, and I would love to get a burner for my PC if discs were affordable. Right now its only use is HD movies that take 3-5 minutes to start playing thanks to DRM and other garbage on the disk.

Re:Contracting? (2)

dk20 (914954) | about 9 months ago | (#46924487)

" it is the over-zealous DRM that is killing the format."

See my post above on he minidisc...

Welcome to Sony, where DRM comes first and customers a distant second.

Just because they sold the bluray player, and made the new disks in some "version X" format doesn't mean one should expect them to release a firmware which allows you to the newer disks. They just abandon the player and move on to the next big thing.

Re:Contracting? (3, Informative)

John Stock (3421943) | about 9 months ago | (#46924015)

It's not that Blu-Ray failed. It's that physical media failed and most people turned to online sources or streaming.

Re:Contracting? (-1, Troll)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 9 months ago | (#46924059)

Physical media most definitely did not, does not fail. You sound like a shill for the cloud industry.

I'll leave everyone else to regail you with their tales of what media they use, but physical media most definitely is alive and kicking. When blank DVD's were a pound each, and hardly anywhere had them, seeing them in 100 packs in the main 24/7 supermarkets wasn't even a twinkle in my eye...

Roll forward 10 years, I look over at my media shelf... ASDA 100 DVD+R - about a tenner! If blank media were dead, nobody would be making it and nobody would be buying it, and ASDA wouldn't have it! Copyright Shill Begone!

Re: Contracting? (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 9 months ago | (#46924123)

Yes, because the ability to burn on 100s of CDs for cheap is what people want the most when they want to watch a movie quickly and easily.

You know why Bluray is dying? I don't have to drive to some store, stand in line, and buy something for an outrageous sum of money. If I want to watch a movie with streaming, all I have to do is sit down on my couch and watch it.

Physical media is dying because of the constraints of it being a physical object.

I can order vacuum tubes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924223)

And parts for buggies.

Sorry, time for a reality check. Physical media is dead. New computers are more often than not bereft of optical drives. Streaming has destroyed rental joints. Digital downloads are the standard in software distribution. Nobody in their right mind backs up their files to an optical disc in the age of thumbdrives.

Refusing to let go of the past does not allow you to lay dominion over the present and future.

Re:Contracting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924255)

The person you're responding to isn't talking about recordable media, they're talking about stamped physical media as a distribution mechanism for movies and games, which is rapidly going from mainstream to niche.

Re:Contracting? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 9 months ago | (#46924551)

Amazon still sells this stuff. So does Walmart and Costco and Best Buy.

When THAT actually starts to change, you might be onto something.

While it's true that PC software is a hard to find item in today's retail environment, music and movies on physical media are still around. Vinyl is even making a comeback.

It's streaming video that's the niche. That's why any growth can look "explosive" and otherwise more impressive than it really is.

You just have to remember that you will get a distorted view of reality from here in the echo chamber.

Re:Contracting? (1)

toonces33 (841696) | about 9 months ago | (#46924029)

We never had one either

We also have a DVD player, but we rarely use it any more.

uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924043)

because this person alone did not have a blu ray player, it was never popular. the logic is flawless

Re:Contracting? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 9 months ago | (#46924065)

It's just not that much better, is it?

Akin to the officially failed next generation 3D movies and televisions, it just hasn't made the kind of obvious advancement that DVD's were from VHS.

Of course, with the shrinking American middle class disposable income, you've basically lost a big part of your largest target market for the latest, greatest, and shiniest.

Re:Contracting? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 9 months ago | (#46924265)

More importantly, it's not that much better than Netflix HD streaming. heck in some cases (House of Cards, Orange is the new Black, Arrested Development) Netflix is better because they'll stream you 4K video if your TV (and connection) will support it. That's roughly 4x the resolution of 1080p, which I think is as high as standard Blu-Ray will go.
Also yeah, 90% of users Just Don't Care about owning a "collection" of shiny things that take up space and just want to watch their movie Now and then not worry about it when it's over.

Re:Contracting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924099)

Was it even ever popular?

Judging from the activity at torrent communities, it looks like it. If you live in Europe where broadband speeds are fast, and storage has been getting cheaper everywhere, then it makes sense to download the Bluray version of a title instead of the DVD version. I torrent a Bluray title once a week or so to watch on my HD projector -- on such a display device, DVD looks pixely enough that Bluray is a desirable step up.

Of course, I have never paid for a title, nor do I even own a Bluray player, so in that sense the format might not be "popular" for you.

Re:Contracting? (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 9 months ago | (#46924103)

There won't be a successor to blue ray. The demand and thus volume for any physical media will not be great enough to justify the research and production of drives at a loss, with the expectation that eventually the mass production will drive prices down low enough that it will finally become profitable. Especially when you look at what it took to even make Blue Ray happen (essentially shoving it down everyone's throat by using it in the PS3).

Re:Contracting? (2)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | about 9 months ago | (#46924175)

Was it even ever popular?

I agree. This is a moment where marketing-speak masks the truth. The word they're using - demand - isn't appropriate. There was never and demand for Blu-Ray. What did exist to some degree was willingness to buy. These are not the same thing.

Demand stems from a need to strong desire. "If only someone would make a platter with higher resolution and more intrusive DRM, I'd give my left nut." That's demand. On the other hand, "I heard about this new gizmo with 1080p and intrusive DRM, and it turns out I've got money burning a hole in my pocket so I'm going to go get me one!" That's willingness-to-buy.

Turns out that to a certain degree other products are what there is demand for. Things like streaming video. Now that the products that are in demand actually exist, it turns out willingness-to-buy BluRay is shrinking.

Go figure.

Re:Contracting? (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 9 months ago | (#46924305)

No, there is certainly demand. The high definition video is way better than what you can stream.

The flaw is the DRM. Players must be constantly updated with new security features to play the discs, and even then it takes minutes for the menus and other garbage to load. Then you finally get in to the movie.

I can't really stand the disks any more due to the roughly 5 minutes before putting in the disk and getting the player running. Instead I rip the main movie to my backup drive and watch it on my PC hooked up to my TV and sound system, but the video quality of full 1080p is much better than streamed video or standard def DVD.

Yes, they are great for movies you really like (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#46924313)

Was it even ever popular?

Oh yes. The quality is absolutely better than DVD, and still much better than streaming.

That said, I stream a lot of shows and video - but some selected movies I love I still buy on Blu-Ray because you can't beat 50GB of data locally cached.

I can see why the absolute sales of Blu-Ray have declined because people used to buy the "filler" movies on DVD that you can now easily stream, so the sales of filler stuff on BluRay must be dropping like a stone.

Re:Yes, they are great for movies you really like (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 9 months ago | (#46924585)

Quite. There's a lot of stuff that I got from the Walmart bargain bin in years past that's on the streaming services now. That doesn't mean I'm not interested in seeing the latest and greatest in all of it's 50G glory.

It just means that I may not bother with back catalog items anymore.

Even then, there's the problem of stuff "expiring" from the catalog of a streaming service.

Re:Contracting? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 9 months ago | (#46924343)

Blu-rays biggest failure was not to have a backwards compatible dvd layer. Nothing worse than going to a friend's house and find out he doesn't have the right player. Or Grandma not being able to play the fucking disc she rented (regioning is a joy too, yo). They should have made the transition seamless.... but instead got hardons thinking people give a shit about their propietary formats.

Re:Contracting? (2)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 9 months ago | (#46924425)

Bluray quality is great. I definitely like watching them over DVD's. The problem is that the prices have been kept artificially high. Paying $30 or even $20 for a movie with some many alternatives these days is just going to fail hard.

Price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46923997)

I live in Australia, where on average the price of a Bluray is twice that of a DVD. Recent movies are $40 on Bluray, which is staggeringly expensive in comparison even if you don't have the option of digital download (paid or pirated).

I believe this is a major reason for Bluray not taking off - it is simply to expensive to invest in, at least in my home country. Unfortunately we don't have Netflix available to us (or the infrastructure to support its use), but for the majority of people it's just too hefty a price tag to step up from a DVD to a Bluray...

Re:Price (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 9 months ago | (#46924077)

It would be interesting to see how it breaks down per decade, series, movie.
A lot of people many have big dvd classic collections and dont need/want to spend $15-40 again.
With tv and cable has a lot is in endless rerun - no need to buy that one movie you *might* have got with dvd.
4k will be telling. Enjoy your fancy new movies via super fast vdsl2 mate :)

The biggest news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924023)

... is that there were ever people who bought Blu-Rays in the first place. I personally know only one person who ever bought any and they since have returned to purchasing DVDs. There just wasn't a reason to upgrade. The difference in picture quality is impressive, but not so impressive as to warrant the time and cost to convert one's library over--especially considering that many digital downloads are about at the same quality level. Though, both have that crappy, pesky DRM to contend with in most cases.

Re:The biggest news ... (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 9 months ago | (#46924201)

I know one person without home internet who bought one only to find out that new discs would refuse to play on the stock firmware. Great job Sony.

Re:The biggest news ... (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 9 months ago | (#46924529)

I've bought a number of them when the price came close to the price of the same thing on DVD (or when the package has both kinds of disk). My original assumption was that the encryption would be reliably cracked pretty quickly. That didn't really happen, so now I've got a bunch of disks that won't play in un-updated players, won't play on my PC that has a Blu-Ray drive, etc. When I buy a movie (a rarity, now), I tend to go for the DVD first. Blu-Ray is pretty, but it's a pain in the ass, and it's generally not worth the hassle and extra cost.

Well duh (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 9 months ago | (#46924031)

Because you media types went and fucked it up as hard as you could. I am the sort of person who would like to buy a fair bit of Blu-ray movies. I don't mind movies on disc, I have a player, and I'm fussy about picture and sound quality. Blu-ray is noticeably better than streaming video on my system.

However, greed and stupidity have screwed it up. For one it is just too expensive. I'll see a new movie int he store and the Blu-ray version is $10 above the DVD version. No, I'm not paying you for the extra bits. It does not cost you more to make. I'm not going to go and drop $35 on the Blu-ray version of something.

Then there's the DRM. "That wouldn't affect you unless you are a pirate!" you say? Bullshit. So while my TV setup is nice, by far the highest def system in my house is my computer. It has a high end home theater speaker setup connected to it, and a professional monitor. So I wanted to watch one of my Blu-rays on it. It has a BD-RW, it has software, it has a GPU with the stupid "secure" drivers, and everything is HDCP compliant. So I fire it up and... no dice. See I mirror my video signal, one goes to the monitor for display, one goes to the soundcard to provide clock for the audio. That isn't allowed, even though every device is HDCP compliant.

It also means should I wish to watch on my laptop, I'd have to buy it a Blu-ray player and lug the discs with me, there's no ability to copy them over.

Is it any wonder I'm not more interested? I have a few Blu-ray discs, but not many, and I don't buy them often. I'm not paying an inflated price, and part of their interest, the extremely high quality, is dulled by the knowledge that they won't work on my highest end system.

Netflix may not look as good, but it is cheap, and it works on, well, everything I own practically.

Re:Well duh (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 9 months ago | (#46924131)

Netflix may not look as good, but it is cheap, and it works on, well, everything I own practically.

When I had a month's free trial here in Norway almost all the HD versions were missing on my PC, that was only for "devices". I decided to go back to being a first class citizen (read:torrents)

Re:Well duh (5, Informative)

captjc (453680) | about 9 months ago | (#46924209)

1) Wait a few months.Blu-rays come down in price. If it is an older movie, many come out at around $15 - $20 and go to around $5-$10 fairly fast. Check Amazon.

2) Currently the best way to watch Blu-rays on the PC is MakeMKV. Rip to an MKV (~30 -60 mins) and watch it on your PC or then use something like Handbrake and convert it to MP4 and watch it on practically anything (AppleTV, PS3, whatever). HDCP bypassed! Yeah, you could buy PowerDVD or some other program to play Blu-rays, but for the price you are paying, you could buy a PS3. Plus there are less than legal ways of getting VLC to play Blu-rays as well, though it's not as convenient as a DVD.

Sure, it would be nice if it had the support like DVDs have where you could just pop in the disc and it just plays but between the unskippable trailers and other crap they put on DVD's and Blu-rays these days, I just rip my discs.

Re:Well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924579)

1) Definitely agree. Check sales at Best Buy, FutureShop, etc. too.

2) That's what I've been doing. High quality MKV rip for the better screens, lower quality MP4 rip for my phone. Store both on my server, disc goes into storage.

Re:Well duh (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#46924403)

This! They made a beautiful cake, moist without being sticky, the perfect crumb. Then thay slathered it with whipped horse shit frosting and wonder why nobody will buy it.

Re:Well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924461)

I'm not going to spend $1000 on a DRM compliant TV so that my $100 BD-RW can do what I bought it for.

I intend to buy exactly one more Blu-Ray; the last season of Futurama, because for that I will fight through to see the special features. Other than that the format is a complete non-event and for exactly the reasons you listed above I will no longer be a part of it.

I'm not a pirate, and I certainly don't like being treated like one when I'm holding legitimate media in my fucking hand and can't fucking watch it.

Re:Well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924521)

However, greed and stupidity have screwed it up. For one it is just too expensive. I'll see a new movie int he store and the Blu-ray version is $10 above the DVD version. No, I'm not paying you for the extra bits. It does not cost you more to make. I'm not going to go and drop $35 on the Blu-ray version of something.

Actually it does cost more to make a blu-ray disc. Things like menu artwork, animations, and a java-based menu provide for substantially more effort to create the media content. I can't speak for the pressing process, but I suspect it is also more costly as well.

Canibalized by DVD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924037)

The real reason is many people are fine just buying the DVD version of a Movie/TV show instead at about half the price or less.

Laserdisc was quaint, too. (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 9 months ago | (#46924039)

Quality snobs will have their local storage. I expect prices will go up.

..and streamed video doesn't come with awful DRM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924053)

I don't quite understand the logic of the editorial statement at the bottom, given that online streamed videos are also bound by "awful DRM". This stopped streamed videos from playing on Linux and on rooted Android devices for years (I think the situation is gradually improving due to better workarounds etc.).

Re:..and streamed video doesn't come with awful DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924083)

...This stopped streamed videos from playing on Linux and on rooted Android devices for years (I think the situation is gradually improving due to better workarounds etc.).

The opposite is happening. For years, everyone used RTMPE with SWF Verification which is trivially breakable so you could watch things like Hulu and Amazon Prime with ease. Now everyone is enabling "real" DRM.

Re:..and streamed video doesn't come with awful DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924189)

I don't quite understand the logic of the editorial statement at the bottom, given that online streamed videos are also bound by "awful DRM". This stopped streamed videos from playing on Linux and on rooted Android devices for years (I think the situation is gradually improving due to better workarounds etc.).

Too true. Physical media trumps streaming on DRM (it's broken on physical media), quality, availability, and even convenience when the film you want to watch isn't available on any of the streaming service you've subscribed to at the moment. And if you care about which cut of the movie you want to watch, or maintaining theatrical aspect ratio, or any crazy things like that, streaming becomes a real toad.

But, most people don't decide what they want to watch and then check to see if it's available on streaming. That's a formula for disappointment. Most people check what's available on streaming and then choose from that pretty limited selection, and that seems like convenience. And since convenience trumps everything else, streaming wins.

Re:..and streamed video doesn't come with awful DR (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 9 months ago | (#46924195)

Complaining about DRM right after a snarky comment about how old-fashioned it is to want your own copy of a movie was the best laugh I've had all day. Because the only people who complain about DRM on video discs are people who want their own copies. Meanwhile, the oh-so-modren approach of streaming movies from cloud services is wrapped up in all sorts of DRM, as well as the certainty that you'll lose access to them one way or another down the line (the main legitimate argument against DRM).

Re:..and streamed video doesn't come with awful DR (1)

geekd (14774) | about 9 months ago | (#46924287)

That's because streaming from Netflix or Amazon just works, on your TV, on your phone, on your computer.

BluRay often doesn't work, and when it doesn't work, it usually because of the DRM.

When DRM is invisible, people don't even realize it's there.

Re:..and streamed video doesn't come with awful DR (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about 9 months ago | (#46924517)

That's because streaming from Netflix or Amazon just works, on your TV, on your phone, on your computer

Unless your Internet is down. Or slow. Or a high-quality stream will saturate it (hello, DSL!).
Or you're HBO, beholden to the whims of cable companies, and the cable company has to approve any device which wants to stream HBO content. You want to use HBO GO on Comcast? That's fine, but you're doing it on your Roku or PC, not your PS3. There's a fully functional PS3 HBO app, but Comcast disallows it, for no other reason than they can. This happens even if your Internet provider is not Comcast and thus Comcast's servers are not involved.
Or you want to stream something not available through Netflix or Amazon. ( A good portion of things)
Or you don't want to be beholden to a company which can cancel your plan and lock you out of all the content they carry at any time.
Or you want to watch the decent extras.
Or you don't want to pay for subscriptions to 2+ online services just to get the content that you could get for $11/month from Netflix's dvd-by-mail.

The instant availability of titles is the only advantage streaming has. That's a nice feature, but shit, you give up SO MUCH to get it.

They were so interested in DRM'ing the whole thing (5, Insightful)

mmell (832646) | about 9 months ago | (#46924055)

They ended up pricing themselves into irrelevance. Unlike VHS and DVD, they didn't have enough entrenched market share to withstand the current breed of video distribution mechanisms, and their belief that strong DRM would let them set market pricepoint doesn't seem to have panned out quite the way they intended.

Besides, at least I could rip and watch my DVD's on my devices - I know it can be done with BluRay, but they made it unpleasant enough to deter me exactly as they (Sony) intended. Now that me and guys like me just aren't that interested, I can't say as I'm surprised how things are ending up. Must break their hearts over there at Sony, eh? Doesn't break mine.

BluRay isn't worth the grief (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924069)

Blu-ray support is the biggest pain in the ass in our very tweaked media center. HDCP lag, endless ads at the start of each disk, incredibly complex software installs that frequently fail all in the name of 'security.' Try this security ... we will no longer tolerate your product. Now we're safe, how 'bout you?

Talk About Winning the Battle & Losing the War (3, Interesting)

machineghost (622031) | about 9 months ago | (#46924073)

Sony fought *hard* to make Blue-Ray the dominant standard. It was basically "everyone and their brother behind HDTV" vs. "Sony and a couple of their bestest buddies behind Blue-Ray" until Sony spent a ton to get exclusives and woo studios away, all so that they could monopolize the next generation of movies (and not repeat the Betamax experience).

As somone who hates to see companies monopolize technology, the fact that all their efforts were largely wasted makes me very happy :-)

"Synergy" (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 9 months ago | (#46924091)

Sony, a company with two divisions that want to choke each other.

Re:"Synergy" (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 9 months ago | (#46924507)

Sony, a company with two divisions that want to choke each other.

More divisions than that, but basically yes.

My favorite was back with one of the many MP3 lawsuits circa 2005, where the music groups sued the MP3 hardware makers. I forget which one of the countless suits it was.

Sony/BMG Music was a plaintiff as part of the music cartel, Sony Electronics was a defendant as an mp3 device manufacturer. The judge dismissed Sony from both sides of the suit.

Blame Hollywood (5, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | about 9 months ago | (#46924101)

What with the much lower quality video and far worse compression artifacts streaming has, also having to be connected to the internet to watch a movie, and also often having to pay per play rather than a pay once model, it totally boggles my mind that people prefer streaming video to blu-ray and even DVD.
I'm much more inclined to believe that its really Hollywood that is killing off Blu-Ray (and any other form of physical media) rather than Joe Public.
Hollywood have had so many bad experiences with successfully applying DRM to physical media, they've now turned to trying to do away completely with any/all forms of physical copies being in the hands of Joe Public. In mybook, thats a BAD thing for us.

Re:Blame Hollywood (2)

Master Moose (1243274) | about 9 months ago | (#46924263)


The "No one will own anything ever again" subscription model for all media. I don't understand it either.

Re:Blame Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924413)

"What with the much lower quality video and far worse compression artifacts streaming has, "

I torrent, I don't stream. I never bothered with Blu-Ray. It does not meet my preferences.

Re:Blame Hollywood (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about 9 months ago | (#46924525)

Your good-quality torrents came from Blu-Rays.

BluRay rips look pretty good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924447)

You should try torrents some time.

Re:Blame Hollywood (1)

unimacs (597299) | about 9 months ago | (#46924471)

Personally, I don't often have a desire to see a movie more than once. Owning a hardcopy doesn't make a lot of sense when that is the case. In fact usually I can rent a movie online a few times before it would add up to the cost of buying a hard copy anyway.

I honestly don't feel like I'm missing out on much by watching HD streaming video vs a Blu-Ray and no you don't have to have an Internet connection to watch a movie you've previously downloaded.

Re:Blame Hollywood (1)

ttsai (135075) | about 9 months ago | (#46924563)

Absolutely. The original commentary that it's the disc-based DRM that's offensive is illogical. Streaming is the always on, immediately revocable, non-bypassable version of DRM. It's the perfect DRM.

online streaming is still problematic... (3, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | about 9 months ago | (#46924107)

...for those of us with projection screens. When you're looking at a 150" screen projecting at 1920X1080, a blu-ray is gorgeous, just like being in the theater. At 25mbits / sec, artifacts are nonexistant. With the reduced bitrates and resolutions of even "HD" streaming, it all shows up. Streaming is not quite there yet due to last mile problems at least here in the states.

At this year's NAB conference in Vegas, 4K was starting to take over in a really big way. I was flabbergasted by the difference in adoption between last year and this year. Everyone had 4K gear. I don't know how long it will take that to filter down to the consumer market, but I don't think streaming services are going to be able to keep up at all for a while. A 4K disc format will hopefully be in the offing.

That being said, Blu Ray has been a pretty raw deal for small and independent video producers. If you want to make a video and publish it on Blu Ray officially, you have to pay the Blu Ray consortium a hefty royalty fee up front and you are obligated to use DRM even if you don't want it. They have come down hard from the beginning so that you can't go to any replication house and get replicated BRDs made without going through this process. You're limited to burning BD-R discs on your own if you don't want to deal with that. Fortunately BD-Rs are 100% compatible with all Blu Ray players, unlike DVD-Rs and DVD players, which were very problematic with compatibility. (that's a long story in and of itself)

I was initially happy that Blu Ray won over HD-DVD until I found out how bad it was to actually just get something replicated onto BRD. I don't know that HD-DVD would have been any better though.

Re: online streaming is still problematic... (1, Informative)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 9 months ago | (#46924155)

HD-DVD allowed DRM free creation (which meant no licensing fees) and could even be burned onto existing DVD media. The HD-DVD format was even web stream able.

It was a reason I was a big fan of HD-DVD. Unfortunately everyone just saw the capacity and totally missed the horrible, awful DRM side.

Re:online streaming is still problematic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924497)

I don't think anyone cares how much they up the resolution or whatever, I for one will stand by with my middle finger extended and happily watch the next format burn even worse than BluRay did.

DVD and BluRay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924109)

Weird, I still rather buy a physical disc that can be broken over a DRM'ed streaming file that can be taken away from me.

Like downloads *don't* have DRM?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924113)

Especially when those copies come with awful DRM.

Still pushing the same agenda after all this time, slashdot? You know that all downloadable media also has DRM, right? You're not only a broken record, you're wrong, too.

Re:Like downloads *don't* have DRM?! (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 9 months ago | (#46924165)

What gives here - downloadable media most certainly does not have DRM, my torrent client says otherwise! Please go and read about "prohibition" and "designed obsolescence". Thank you.

Re:Like downloads *don't* have DRM?! (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about 9 months ago | (#46924533)

What gives here - downloadable media most certainly does not have DRM, my torrent client says otherwise!

That's nice, but that's not what anyone else refers to by "streaming."

But I can see myself torrenting FAR more in the future than I do now.

And now Netflix gets worse (1)

Rurik (113882) | about 9 months ago | (#46924119)

The publishers were already experiencing this issue when they forced 30+ day delays before Redbox and Netflix could carry their movies, hoping to get in as many sales as possible. Now, I won't be surprised to see that exclusivity period creep up to 45 days or even 60 days.

Screwed the Pooch (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 9 months ago | (#46924121)

I never bought a Blu Ray player. Why? Because the DVD was such a disappointment. We were promised all these features that never materialized. The only feature that DVD used was the feature that kept the consumer from skipping content, fast forwarding over commercials at the beginning of DVD, and of course DRM that makes it hard to copy onto the hardisk. So if you don't want to be tied to a DVD player, the best option is a subscription to Netflix. And since Bluray is DRM incarnate, unless one want to live in the 19th century, it is a trade off that most younger people choose not to make, Bluray becomes a non starter. The validity of these statements is shown by the inclusion of digital copy on some DVD and Blu Ray. If bluray had this a standard feature from day 1, I suspect it would have been widely succesful. But like DVD, the main goal of Blu Ray was to screw the user.

Re:Screwed the Pooch (2)

Master Moose (1243274) | about 9 months ago | (#46924315)

I have found the inclusion of the digital copy to be much more burdensome than simply watching a dvd or bluray.

Limited to particular devices and operating systems
Annoying registration processes
Time limited download (i.e. a limited period to claim)
extra software installations

Re:Screwed the Pooch (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 9 months ago | (#46924357)

You hit the nail on the head: Blu-Ray is for your mom and dad.

Especially when those copies come with awful DRM. (3, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 9 months ago | (#46924125)

And in some cases the video is exactly the same (grain per grain) as the DVD, and perhaps even with inferior audio and features. The studios decided to just ship out any crap and we would pay a premium because it was on BluRay. Some of us fell for it once or twice but eventually learned and went back to buying DVDs. Blame downloading services if you want, but I much prefer to own a physical DVD than a DRM crippled download of lower quality with repressive DRM or not even having the download at all, just watching and then having nothing. And I do like the extra features on discs and the ability to watch again or even lend the disc to a friend. There are lots of advantages to physical media, but several disadvantages to BluRay. I expect some studio execs would rather blame downloading for the decline in BluRay sales than take responsibility for decisions they made.

And, yes, I know that DVDs have DRM too, but it tends to be much less of a problem for most users.

Re:Especially when those copies come with awful DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924345)

I have never seen a bluray with only dvd quality video. Do you have any examples?

Example (4, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 9 months ago | (#46924435)

Stargate was released on BluRay with the exact same video as the DVD, an awful two channel audio track, and even fewer subtitles than the DVD. After an up swelling of complaints from the public they did release a better version. But even a few years after that I bought a copy at WalMart and it ended up being the inferior older BluRay version, even though it was freshly sent out stock. I damn well assure you that I'm not going to buy the better version now that I know it exists. This is not the only case of studios doing this.

I'll be getting a blu-ray drive on my next laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924151)

Net neutrality is done for. Forget FTTH, it won't matter how fast your connection is when you'll be paying your ISP plus the content providers AND now the backbone transit gatekeepers for the opportunity to stream your movie. Blu-ray will be competitively priced, all things considered, Sales have declined in line with disposable incomes shrinking. Prices for blu-ray have been diminishing and will continue to meet with what the market can bear. Online streaming will be the convenient luxury that some will pay extra for.

What I want Blu-Ray for (2)

davidwr (791652) | about 9 months ago | (#46924163)

1) Whole seasons of television on fewer than half the number of disks as DVD.

2) When the burners get faster and cheaper, convenient backups. But realistically, Blu-Ray is too small for geeks - you want a backup medium that's at least 10% if not 20% of the size of your data set so a full backup won't be a huge stack of disks. You also want the differential backup from several weeks or months ago vs. today to fit on one disk.

My kid wants dvds (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 9 months ago | (#46924225)

and blue rays, but with hulu+netflix I won't normally let her buy them. I think people still like media, but at $25+ bucks a pop for a Blue Ray (and with a pretty weak economy) I think ppl are settling for what they can afford.

This is all Apple/Steve Jobs fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924229)

Steve Jobs declare that "Blue Ray was in a world of hurt." for no good reason other than to push the iTunes store. The world would have been very different if Apple had equipped their Macs with blue ray players. No I'm not anti-Apple. I personally believe as go Apple as go the industry (usually).

It's the DRM (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924233)

I'd love to own more movies/tv shows in Blu-ray. I love the quality of the audio/picture. But the amount of hoops you have to jump through just to get the damn thing to play makes it a painful experience.

I have several devices in my house that *in theory* can play blu-rays, but the reality is that its usually easier to just download a blu-ray rip and watch that (despite owning the blu-ray itself).

Classic DRM- annoys the legitimate customers, whilst the 'pirates' provide a better product.

Bluray DRM (1)

markdavis (642305) | about 9 months ago | (#46924299)

>"Especially when those copies come with awful DRM. "

Um, and streaming doesn't? There is just as much DRM on Netflix/etc. Plus it has its own limitations:

* I can't use it on any of my many Linux machines.
* I can't use it without an Internet connection.
* I can't get QUALITY without a GOOD Internet connection.
* I can't use it at all if that Internet connection has blocking.
* They have the ability to FORCE the user to watch anything they want- commercials, previews, copyright notices, public service announcements, etc.
* The quality or playback is far more likely to change or be interrupted.
* Streaming is often very "clunky" when it comes to fast forwarding and rewinding.

Sony has lost it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924321)

I am old enough to remember when Sony was an electronics company and made the best products in the industry. You either got a Sony or second best. When the media companies made threats against DAT, Sony came out with DAT recorders that recorded at exactly the correct rate to copy DVDs.

Then, they bought CBS records and became a media company. They lost focus on their electronics business and started using proprietary standards that no one else used. They have been declining for years and seem to be close to a death spiral. No one thinks of Sony as premium any more. I miss the old Sony, but have very little sympathy for the new Sony.

What happened to multiple ratings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924417)

I remember when Blu-rays were first being talked about and one of the big features was multiple ratings of the same movie. I was super excited about this, but it never happened. So many other great features never happened, and then they cost more and have DRM. Sony and its ilk killed the format.

I wonder if we would be having this same conversation if HD-DVD had won the format wars.

Also as far as the DRM is concerned, I have been successfully ripping my Blu-rays onto my network storage server for a long time and have had no problems.

Headline exactly wrong (5, Interesting)

Thagg (9904) | about 9 months ago | (#46924459)

The FA says that Blu-ray disc sales are increasing, but overall disk sales are slowing because DVDs are contracting so quickly.

Quoting the article. "Last year, about 124 million Blu-ray discs were sold in the U.S., a 4.2% increase over 2012, according to IHS Technology. Even so, because of reduced pricing for the format, revenue only increased 2.6%. DVD sales, which have been plummeting for years, dropped 13.6% last year."

Blu-ray data rates are far higher than anything you can stream today, and people who care about that (not many of the commenters apparently :) ) apparently are still buying discs.

I do come from the movie business, so I surely have a different perspective; but to filmmakers quality is paramount.

Make Digital Downloads High Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46924463)

I've stopped buying Blurays because the digital downloads you get with them and redeam on iTunes are of very low quality compared with iTunes 1080p. Almost unwatchable.

Gee... (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 9 months ago | (#46924495)

...maybe the predatory pricing has something to do with it. Cut the price more than a token 1-2% and then see what happens.

The reality is that... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 9 months ago | (#46924511)

... hard drives are much cheaper and faster to backup data with than blu-ray discs. Blu-ray discs were too costly for the storage they offered vs hard discs and added only the most marginal improvement over DVD for video vs the size of the files. The cost, speed and size of hard drives far outpaced blu-ray. You get a 10 discs at 25GB a piece that is only a measily 250GB for roughly $12-16 bucks. You can get a 3 Terabyte hard drive for around $100, it's faster to copy and record things to and you can re-use it.

Streaming's great until it not available (1)

darylb (10898) | about 9 months ago | (#46924555)

I'm an old fart (comparatively) on Slashdot, and so I still buy physical media. Streaming is great until the content provider yanks it from the service you use, or moves it to a competing service in an exclusive deal (cf. HBO's recent deal with Amazon; no more Wire on Netflix, I suppose). Do people really want to subscribe to ALL of these streaming services? Or, hey, go pirate it off some torrent and hope the DRM cops don't start sending letters with invoices for $2,000 in fines.

In contrast, you can buy the DVD or Blu-ray and (hypothetically) rip it to whatever format, or make a backup DVD or SD card for the family minivan.
You can also give it to someone else, sell it, or even bequeath it to your heirs.

For a Legit user, still a PIA (1)

speedlaw (878924) | about 9 months ago | (#46924571)

I'm not a pirate, yarrr... but Blu Ray sucks. I've had issues with newer discs not playing on my legit player. The mandatory previews, etc are just bogus. The only reason for blu ray is because the netflix streaming catalog is so limited. This and the HDCP nonsense. DVI should have won, but as open source, it never had a chance.
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