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Sony's Obsession with Proprietary Formats

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the repeating-the-mistakes-of-yore dept.

491

geoffrobinson writes "Jonathan Last, writing for a lay audience in the Philadelphia Inquirer, comments on Sony's push for the Blu-ray format: 'Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. One of life's more satisfying ironies, however, is that the same fate often befalls those who fixate on history... ...Obsessed with owning proprietary formats, Sony keeps picking fights. It keeps losing. And yet it keeps coming back for more, convinced that all it needs to do is push a bigger stack of chips to the center of the table.'"

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They could get away with this (2, Informative)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472441)

They could get away with this if they still made quality products, but they have flooded the market with a ton of junk. After buying several sony items that quickly died on me I will never buy sony again. The propietary stuff is just icing on the cake.

cliche retort (5, Interesting)

xusr (947781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472501)

I bought Sony's original MiniDisc recorders for field recordings. It's a workhorse and is still performing like a champ. When I retired my Walkman (you know, the cassette kind...) after 12 or so years of continuous use, it was not for mechanical reasons.

Ok, so mod me down. I just had to respond to a knee-jerk comment with another.

Re:cliche retort (4, Informative)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472587)

I am sure that many of Sony's flagship products are very good.. however they started slapping their name on a bunch of products that were just regular consumer items and were of poor quality, diluting their brand.

Re:cliche retort (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472862)

The irony is that Sony's definitive device - the Walkman - was borne of a Philips proprietary technology, the audio cassette.
 
Sony's dabbles with their own tech tend to lead to them leading the way, and no-one following. They even rename tech - iLink anyone - to make themselves sound different. At the end of the day, they release a lot of proprietary new tech when it isn't needed.

Re:They could get away with this (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472503)

Whereas those old Betamax machines just keep running, and running, and running, and. . .

KFG

Re:They could get away with this (1)

GonzoTech (613147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472535)

I think Sony would have been fine if they had provided a Beta for their Beta. *It stinks!*

Why I avoid (-1, Flamebait)

Harbinjer (260165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472442)

Sony's stupidity about their own damn proprietery techs is why I avoid sony at all costs.

Re:Why I avoid (2, Insightful)

theotherbastard (939373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472609)

My great story is when I bought a MiniDisc player and thought it was great. Then, slowly but surely the proprietary Atrac3 format became more and more of a hastle. Forcing me to store 2 copies of all my music on my PC. Not to mention the extremely slow conversion and transfer rates to the damn thing.

I still have yet to shell out of a true MP3 player or iPod rather opting to burn CD's of anything I want to listen to. I will still, from time to time pull it out and load some songs onto it. But it just isn't worth it.

Oh yeah, and lets not talk about how the navigation buttons rarely work the way they are supposed to due to poor design.

Re:Why I avoid (2, Insightful)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472832)

Being old enough at the time, I seem to recall the video-tape wars.

Sony had a better product, it was smaller and had a higher quality then VHS.
It wasn't that it was inferior, their mistake was that they didn't license it.

It was shortsightedness that brought them down, much like what happened to the Amiga. If the opened up to other manufacturers, they probably would have taken Apples place, if not along side them. They were an awesome thing.

Sony lost out, only because of price, not quality. Same reason I wait to upgrade my video card only when I need to. I only spend 50$ or so. That way the ones that are a couple of hundred now.. will be there for my pickings then.

Sweet.

Re:Why I avoid (2, Informative)

Gaijin42 (317411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472956)

Frame for frame, sony had a better product. But they lost because VHS came out with tapes that could hold more. Doesn't matter for rentals, but when you stick your tape in, and want to record the superbowl, or a movie that with commercials has been stretched out to 3 hours, it made a difference.

Re:Why I avoid (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472966)

Many Japanese people agree with you... and so do I.

Sony used to be 'the' thing to get but for the past... I don't know, 8-10 years maybe, they've really seemed to have their heads up their asses. They are NOT Apple though they seem to think they are. What I mean by this is that in Apple's case, whatever they make is gold every time they slap their Apple logo onto anything. This is not so with Sony. There are too many competitors and Sony is not a culture all its own as Apple is at the moment.

My bad experiences with Sony started when I was selecting a laptop. I wanted to run a Japanese OS and expected that since Sony was a Japanese company, that I wouldn't have any trouble getting support. Boy was I EVER wrong on that. I should have gotten an IBM! It ha(d) WAY better Japanese language support than any other at the time. Pretty amazing considering it was an American company.

And from that point forward, my bad experiences with their stuff just kept piling up. I've been 'done' with Sony since about 5 years ago. Now I just wait for them to die.

Those who ignore facts are doomed to look stupid (5, Informative)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472456)

Far from being poorly supported, Blu-Ray has wide industry support (over 90 companies) and has the following companies on the Blu-Ray Disc Association [wikipedia.org] board of directors.

        * Apple Computer
        * Dell
        * Hewlett Packard
        * Hitachi
        * LG Electronics
        * Mitsubishi Electric
        * Panasonic (Matsushita Electric)
        * Pioneer Corporation
        * Royal Philips Electronics
        * Samsung Electronics
        * Sharp Corporation
        * Sony Corporation
        * TDK Corporation
        * Thomson
        * Twentieth Century Fox
        * Walt Disney Pictures
        * Warner Home Video Inc.

Of the major media houses, only Universal Pictures has pledged support for HD-DVD.

Further to your list... (4, Informative)

AnonymousJackass (849899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472572)

CompUSA are now offering a variety of BluRay Products [compusa.com] for pre-order.

Re:Those who ignore facts are doomed to look stupi (4, Interesting)

Duds (100634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472583)

Most of those studios released UMD movies too.

For a while.

Re:Those who ignore facts are doomed to look stupi (4, Insightful)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472785)

UMD can only be played on the PSP, and only on the PSP's display.

Blu-ray Discs can be played on any BD player (when they're shortly available), and on any display. (With varying resolutions.)

Any attempt to compare the two is either misinformed or biased.

Re:Those who ignore facts are doomed to look stupi (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472758)

I think that assuming the upcoming format battle is limited to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD is too simplistic. I would add to the mix: existing DVD and the anti-format: movies via the internet. Exisiting DVD still looks quite strong since the quality improvements gained from DVD to Blu-Ray/HD-DVD arn't nearly as compelling as the gains when moving from VHS to DVD. Movies via the internet is more paletable every day with data rates improving and the cost of storage decreasing.

To me, it looks like a four horse race with DVD leading on the inside lane, Internet gaining ground on everyone else and HD-DVD and Blu-Ray weighed down by Big Media interested and lacking the speed to overtake DVD or outrun unfettered internet access.

Re:Those who ignore facts are doomed to look stupi (2, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472834)

Well, only Universal has EXCLUSIVELY pledged support to HD-DVD. Sony are obviously Blu-Ray exclusive and Fox are in that camp for the moment, but most of the others are fence-sitting by either planning for both, or publicly letting it be known that they'll jump if HD-DVD does well in the next 6 months or so.

Re:Those who ignore facts are doomed to look stupi (4, Informative)

deltagreen (522610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472916)

You make it sound like Sony was the only company backing their technology in the past, and that was the reason they failed.

As well as Sony and Sanyo, Betamax video recorders were also sold by Toshiba, Pioneer, Aiwa and NEC. The Zenith Electronics Corporation and WEGA Corporations contracted with Sony to produce VCRs for their product lines. Department Stores like Sears in the US and Quelle in Germany sold Beta format VCRs under their house brands as did the Radio Shack chain of electronic stores.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betamax [wikipedia.org]

The HD DVD Promotion Group also has a rather long list of members, among them:

  • Broadcom Corporation
  • CANON INC.
  • FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD.
  • Fujitsu Limited.
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Hitachi Maxell, Ltd.
  • Imation Corp
  • Intel Corporation
  • Kenwood Corporation
  • Konica Minolta Opto, Inc.
  • Lenovo Japan
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Mitsubishi Kagaku Media Co., Ltd. / Verbatim
  • NEC Electronics Corporation
  • Paramount Home Entertainment
  • RICOH COMPANY LTD.
  • SANYO Electric Co., Ltd.
  • TEAC CORPORATION
  • TOSHIBA CORPORATION
  • Ulead Systems, Inc.
  • Universal Pictures
  • Warner Home Video Inc.
http://www.hddvdprg.com/about/member.html [hddvdprg.com]

If Universal Pictures is the only media house supporting HD-DVD, it does seem a bit strange that Warner Home Video Inc. and Paramount Home Entertainment are also members of a group promoting HD-DVD...

How is it Any more (5, Insightful)

Nazmun (590998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472480)

HOw is it any more proprietary then Toshiba's HD-DVD (or whomever the designing company is)? This isn't a rhetorical question, I just don't know how.

Both techs seem to be upgrades with associated licensing fees for the tech. Do DVD's lack any licensing fee's to whomever originally designed it?

Re:How is it Any more (2, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472526)

I don't think it's that Blu-ray is "more proprietary" so much as it marginalizes itself. HD-DVD is on the market now, and hit the shelves much cheaper than BR. What I'd really like to know is why I should rush out and buy their overpriced format instead of continuing to purchase $5 DVDs that I can watch on my XBOX. Of course, I'm still waiting to be convinced why I need to spend $500 for HDTV when I can get an analog for $150 and receive all of one less signal.

Re:How is it Any more (1)

Gaijin42 (317411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472877)

Uh, have you ever watched HDTV? It is insanely better quality for network TV. The difference is smaller for premium (HBO etc) content, but is still significant. Or do you mean why would you pay for cable when you can get OTA? But OTA isn't analog, so your comment is confusing.

Re:How is it Any more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472530)

How is any new tech not like this? This is just Sony hate. Slashdot appears to be funded my MS as of late. 3-4 Sony hate articles a day. All this is going to backfire though as the PS3 will still be #1.

Re:How is it Any more (5, Insightful)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472746)

Because Toshiba's HD-DVD format was developed in unison with the international DVD forum [wikipedia.org] , whose task it was to collaborate and create the next-gen DVDs. Sony, however, backstabbed the world, and created a second format war when it dismissed HD-DVDs and made their own specification.

Moreover, Blu-ray has unimaginable support by movie companies, because of the very same reason everyone hates Sony and everyone hates the MPAA. The Blu-ray format has more DRM and other copy-protection than HD-DVD does.


Simply put, BD-ROM is another propietary format developed by Sony, and it is screwing consumers in ways that this generation has never seen. The DVD forum was created to prevent another horrible VHS-Betamax war, and because of Sony's arrogance and greed, it was all for naught.

Re:How is it Any more (4, Insightful)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472833)

Because Toshiba's HD-DVD format was developed in unison with the international DVD forum [wikipedia.org], whose task it was to collaborate and create the next-gen DVDs. Sony, however, backstabbed the world, and created a second format war when it dismissed HD-DVDs and made their own specification.

One could also say:

Because Toshiba's HD-DVD format was developed in unison with the international DVD forum [wikipedia.org], whose task it was to collaborate and create the next-gen DVDs. Sony, however, saw that the new format wasn't advanced enough to meet standards 5 years from now, and created a second format war when it dismissed HD-DVDs and made their own specification with twice the storage capacity.

or.. (1)

danielk1982 (868580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472860)

or DVD and CD-ROM for that matter?

$ony is the electronics world M$ (-1, Troll)

SmashPot (721474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472482)

$ony is just like M$. They want to lock you into their formats and technology so anyone wanting to access that target market has to license $ony crap. Simple enough. They want our money and electronics manufacturer's money. No other reason

Re:$ony is the electronics world M$ (2, Insightful)

Rinzai (694786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472578)

Saying that corporations (which are designed to make money) want our money is like saying that dogs like food. Of course Sony wants to make money. Thanks for the update, Darth Obvious. How they're going about it, or whether they're going about it in the wrong way, is an entirely different argument.


I wasn't bothered by the UMD format because it was specific to the PSP; sending out PSP games on SD cards or other compatible media was a waste of time because the games wouldn't run on any other system in the first place. Movies on UMD were inevitable since the PSP is a pretty good movie player, other things being equal. That Sony figured it was going to license the UMD format to other vendors seems pretty short-sighted to me, though. (Likewise Memory Sticks. Yuck.)


So, I agree with the idea that Sony is taking the wrong tack. I just need something more substantial than "Sony wants our money" as the rationale.

Re:$ony is the electronics world M$ (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472733)

Saying that corporations (which are designed to make money) want our money is like saying that dogs like food
Yes, but on /. it depends which breed of dog you're talking about - all animals are not created equal.

Re:$ony is the electronics world M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472713)

You got that right. M$ just wants to control you and make you pay $$ to "upgrade" to there latest Windoze Vistard and likE $ony they just want your $$$$ to use proprietary hardware ie stuff designed by the RPAA and MIAA to make you pay $$$ for their crappy music in 128kbps AAC (ie Apple Antagonistic Controller) rather than 256kbps non-proprietary MP3s whcih is why they shut down Napster and I get all my music from allofrussianmafia.com which is fair because they have a license which means artists get a few cents unlike $ony and the MPAA who would make the artists pay to haave their music on the iTunes music store which would be encrypted using CSS and HTML and stored on crappy bluray (ie PSP UMD disks only bigger and worse) disks which can't be copied not even for your own fair use because the corporations own the government and the government passes laws like the PATRIOT act to stop you from copying disks and putting them on Morpheus so millions of people can enjoy your copy without paying $$$$$$ to the RIAA for some crappy 128kbps AAC which you're forced to do because of the DRM in Windoze that M$ is forcing you to have and... (continued page 94.)

It's only a "Sony proprietary blunder..." (5, Insightful)

mehtajr (718558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472492)

...if it loses. If Blu-ray wins, it's Sony making an absolute killing by developing the standard for hi-def DVD content. The author ignores that, and that the situation he described with Betamax is apples and oranges with Blu-ray (i.e. Sony making deals with dozens of companies to get Blu-ray drives and discs out).

By name alone I have a feeling blu-ray will die (5, Interesting)

MonkeyPaw (8286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472496)

Someone like my mother will go buy a new television - HDTV. She'll upgrade her cable box to HDTV. When it comes time to buy a new DVD player which do you think she'll pick? HD-DVD or Blu-Ray?

Of course she'll pick the HD-DVD because it sounds like it will work with her system.

As for the other Sony products.. I like their hardware. The Clie I have ran circles around the Palm out at the time. I HATED memorystick.

Re:By name alone I have a feeling blu-ray will die (1)

The-Ixian (168184) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472589)

I believe this is up to the marketing of the product that will have blu-ray technology in it.

You don't have to make blu-ray the key feature if you don't want to.

Besides, I am sure that by the time this technology becomes a must have for grandma the standardization will be sorted out and you will have one or the other or both technologies incorporated into a single device.

Re:By name alone I have a feeling blu-ray will die (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472879)

"You don't have to make blu-ray the key feature if you don't want to."

Well, you do if you're going to explain to prospective owners of your product that they'll be wanting to buy from the BluRay section of Blockbuster, and not the HD-DVD one.

Killer Feature (1)

xkr (786629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472903)

Your mother will go into the store. The salesperson will tell her, "With Blu-Ray every movie fits on a single disk. With HD-DVD you will need two disks for each movie. You will have to get up in the middle of the movie to swap disks. You will have find both disks and get back into the right case, no matter if you rent, use netflix, or own. "

Which one do you think she will buy?

BLU-RAY (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472502)

But Blu-Ray sounds cool.

all failures (0, Redundant)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472510)

No kidding. I'd say their biggest failure by far was that horrible compact disc experiment. What ever happened to that, anyways?

Re:all failures - Phillips not Sony (5, Informative)

gadlaw (562280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472537)

Ya, Compact Disc - developed by Phillips, not Sony. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CD-i [wikipedia.org] I heard it turned out really well.

Re:all failures - Phillips not Sony (2, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472570)

You know, if you're going to try to point out the flaw in my post, at least point to the right Wikipedia article. Yes Philips did have a major role in the creation of the Compact Disc (and later, CD-i). However, it only came about after they joined forces with Sony to develop it into a consumer medium.

Re:all failures - Phillips not Sony (1)

Chreo (694625) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472659)

Not that I made the original post (with WiKi-link), however, the correct Wiki-link does not give you bragging rights for being "correct" (no comment upon the Wiki-correctness). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Disc [wikipedia.org]

Re:all failures - Phillips not Sony (0)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472724)

Now that you've found the correct link, I'd suggest that you actually read up on it. You'll see numerous references to Sony (as co-developers) in that article.

Still Phillips not Sony (2, Interesting)

gadlaw (562280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472843)

Sorry about that, my eyes have come to ignor instances of the "i" when used. All those iPod wannabes. Here's the quote and the correct link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Disc [wikipedia.org] "In the early 1970s, using video Laserdisc technology, Philips' researchers started experiments with "audio-only" optical discs, initially with wideband frequency modulation FM and later digitized PCM audio signals. The compact disk was thus developed by Philips from its own 12 inch Philips Laservision disks." I already knew that Phillips and not Sony developed the CD. In my store of useless information. Additionally, it was not and is not a closed down proprietary format which nullifies your point anyways. I do also remember that Phillips has been none to happy with the locked down and drm'ed music discs sent out and wants those to not carry the 'CD' label on them. You know, I miss the old days when you go and flame folks and get flamed back. Anyone know of any places like that? :-)

Re:all failures - Phillips not Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472704)

Did you think nobody would notice that you linked to "CD-Interactive" instead of "CD", you fucking low-brow troll? Better go edit the "Compact Disc" Wiki to remove all all references to Sony!

Re:all failures (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472548)

I thought it was Phillips that developed the CD.

Re:all failures (1)

shawn443 (882648) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472566)

They went away with .mp3s, p2p, and my ex-wife (bitch).

Re:all failures (1)

thanuk (620203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472594)

Yeah, that and the 3.5" floppy. Disasters both of them.

Re:all failures (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472831)

Yeah, that and the 3.5" floppy. Disasters both of them.

Hey ! Don't go dissing 3.5" I still have my school projects on them and i STILL have a Floppy Drive that works. (Yeah buying it was a pain as my dealer kept shaking his head when i requested the drive).

Re:all failures (1)

Delphiki (646425) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472600)

Are you asserting that Sony is responsible for compact discs? Because if so, you are just plain ignorant. We can thank Phillips for compact discs. All Sony ever did was make CD players.

Re:all failures (0)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472651)

Really? I'm sure a whole lot of other ignorant people would like you to correct them, too. The CD was largely based on prior work that Philips had done, but according to Wikipedia (and many other people who know about these things): "In 1979 Philips and Sony decided to join forces, setting up a joint task force of engineers whose mission was to design the new digital audio disc." If all they were doing was making CD players, why are they credited with being co-developers of the format? And more importantly, why do they receive royalties for it?

Re:all failures (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472771)

Are you asserting that Sony is responsible for compact discs? Because if so, you are just plain ignorant

Meanwhile, back in the real world..
1980 Compact Disc standard proposed by Philips & Sony.
1981 Matsushita accepts Compact Disc Standard
Digital Audio Disc Committee also accepts Compact Disc Standard.
1982 Sony & Philips both have product ready to go. Compact Disc Technology is introduced to Europe and Japan in the fall.

does it really matter? (5, Insightful)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472533)

It doesn't matter to me who wins in the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray battle. Why? Because regular DVD's look great! High definition looks better than non-HD, but not THAT much better (especially considering the costs). Sony says the ps3 will cost less than a blu-ray player... that's at $600! You can get an amazing DVD player for $150 with all the bells and whistles. When HD-DVD/Blu-Ray come to market and start to popularize, you can bet plain old DVD prices will drop. From a financial sense, DVD's trump HD-DVD and Blu-Ray DVD. ...not to mention that yargh, I'm a pirate matey, and I like to rip/burn DVD's -- something that'll be nerfed with Blu-Ray/HD-DVD.

Regular DVDs do not look "great" (1)

Zobeid (314469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472657)

Regular DVDs look "great" only in comparison with VHS tape, and VHS is a joke. DVDs and LaserDiscs both push the limits of the NTSC standard -- a standard that is decades old and well past due for replacement. I do think the HD disc format war is depressing, and all the DRM they are piling on is depressing, and it frustrates me because they are screwing up something we really need.

Re:Regular DVDs do not look "great" (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472911)

You may well really need a HD movie format. Much of the DVD-buying audience have 32" or smaller TVs, where DVD's resolution is just fine, thanks. Certainly, I don't know anyone in the UK with a TV big enough to desperately need HD.

Re:does it really matter? (1)

|Cozmo| (20603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472663)

You've apparently never seen how ugly DVD looks on a large screen. HD content looks a tremendous amount better than dvd on a 90+" setup. Many people (like myself), don't care if the new stuff is more expensive if it looks that much better. If you're copying dvds to a single layer dvd(+-)r disc most of the time you'll have re-encoded video anyway, so obviously quality doesn't matter to you.

Re:does it really matter? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472964)

This is a kind of self-selection, though. Merely by affording a 90" or larger HD-capable display, you're more likely to be able to afford a HD movie format. How large do you think that market is, though? 5% of US TVs? 10%? Worldwide it's a lot lower.

Re:does it really matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472969)

So, what you're saying is that the only way I can really appreciate the difference between HD content and SD content is to throw out my 20" tv and rearrange my entire living room to accommodate a 90" screen?

Wow, that is so _not_ compelling :-) I think I'd rather buy a new quad-sli game box instead.

Re:does it really matter? (2, Interesting)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472671)

My mom likes VHS, but her collection isn't growing as rapidly as it once did since they aren't making as many of the things anymore. Once either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray win standard status, a generation or so down the line, will they still be making new DVDs which will just get more and more pirateable as desktop tech progresses? In any case I think they're fighting over our children's money more than ours at this point.

Re:does it really matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472705)

>something that'll be nerfed with Blu-Ray/HD-DVD.

nurfed? i smell a World of warcraft player. /this is completely off topic, my bad. //its cool how things like this spread into general use.

Re:does it really matter? (0, Offtopic)

The-Ixian (168184) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472776)

yes, because as we all know WoW is the first and only MMO and all internet jargon has derived it.

Re:does it really matter? (5, Informative)

timsesow (969190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472722)

So, if you want to burn your own HD-DVDs, then you better go Blu-Ray, 'cause there aren't any HD-DVD burners coming out anytime soon. I have my first Panasonic Blu-Ray drive in my machine now, and it works great. Burns DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RAM, CD-/+/RW, and 25 and 50 GByte Blu-Ray disks (both -R and -RE). Plugged it into a CentOS 4.3 system (that LINUX for you Windows types) and it just worked. May be expensive ($900) right now, but that is the introductory price (read: recover engineering costs ASAP!). The real price problem right now is media, at just under $1US per gigabyte for rewritable (50GB BD-RE is $43 street, if you buy in quantity). The only HD-DVD media I can get is already recorded with a movie. Not really a computer product, just a TV product and that is sooooo 1980s!!

Re:does it really matter? (1)

Mathiasdm (803983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472750)

I used to think the same way. Then I went to a certain website [apple.com] and tried a few hi-def trailers... Give it a try, seriously. It DOES make a difference. P.S. If you don't believe me, ask your CPU while watching 1020p.

Especially for PAL (1)

Tryfen (216209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472848)

PAL DVDs are 576p.

720p is 25% better. For NTSC, 720p represents a 50% increase in quality.

On my 92 inch projection screen, I can see every hair, folical and acne scar on a movie star's face. Honestly, I'm so blown away by a good PAL disc that I'll wait until whatever comes after HiDef.

Re:does it really matter? (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472861)

DVD's do look great, but there is something better out there. I watched HBO's Rome and Lost in HD and was quite impressed, but most people don't have a high resolution monitor or TV, so yeah, they won't see the difference. Also makes grabbing stills much easier ;)
HD content on a 60" TV does look damn spectacular. Lost was especially good, found the island pans, etc, quite relaxing.

Re:does it really matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472957)

And "640K should be more than enough for everyone".

Almost true... (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472979)

That's almost true, but I remember some of the original DVD players costing upwards of around one thousand when they first came out.

Betamax, VCR, VCD, DVD, HD-DVD/Bluray have or will be prohibitively expensive at first. That's why for the first few months the only people who have them are those who have homes that appear on certain cable tv programs from certain cable [discovery.com] tv channels [discovery.com] who drop at least five grand on just the surround sound system, another five to ten grand on the video projector, about ten to twenty on the room and furnishings (heck, probably more!) and by that time it's not much to spend another thousand bucks on a Bluray or HD-DVD player.

Then they drop in price.

It works for Microsoft (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472536)


so why not Sony ?
MS love being the tollkeeper of file formats, Sony just want a piece of the action too

Re:It works for Microsoft (1)

chrisnewbie (708349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472752)

how many companies makes electronics like radio,tv,cameras etc..etc.. and how many makes O.S.?

it's a little bit easier when the only compettions is either linux or Apple.

Sony just doesn't get that throwing technology arounf that aren't supported just doesn't work. Now Blue-ray is different since they have major companies backing them but hd-dvd is cheaper and it also have major companies backing them.

Sony may have two movies studios but if all the other ones band together and say "we use hd-dvd" they will lose that war.

I would of like to get Blue-ray because it's suppose to be better and have a lot more capacity but let's face it, i wont be a betamax victim.

Recent Attempts Probably Not Fiscally Unsuccessful (5, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472567)

Their proprietary formats recently have probably met the first goal of proprietary formats: feeds revenue into the company. Unfortuantely, they just keep failing to be adopted as defacto standards (for good reasons).

Look at their memory stick. While they didn't succeed it making it the de facto standard for portable media, I'm sure it's worked great for them. Their cameras, PSP, etc all use it and between their manufacturing and licensing I'm sure it helps them out some.

The PSP's UMD bombed for movies, that's a given, but it was a worthwhile "attempt." Personally, I think it was the price that killed it, had they made it cheaper than it would have been worth it for travelling purposes (and only travelling).

Sure, technologically UMB is not the best for gaming because of the power/loading time associated with discs but I'm sure the licensing helps them, but it was a good effort. Storing a lot of data for personal gaming probably doesn't have too many options. Besides, if company X wants to print a game for the PSP they get a piece of the production fee one way or another.

I have a feeling Blu Ray is where it all hits the fan. Unlike it's other more recent proprietary formats which can supplement their own products, Blu Ray can only survive on its own in the wild. It must be adopted as the main video format or else there's just little point in it. Sure if it fails you can still sell Blu Ray burners for Desktops and such, and if PS3 goes Blu Ray then publishers will need to kick a few pennies to Sony.

But in the end, it needs to beat out HDDVD to win and the only way that could happen is if they beat it to market or offered it as a cheaper alternative. I guess we'll see what happens here.

Re:Recent Attempts Probably Not Fiscally Unsuccess (2, Insightful)

revlayle (964221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472610)

Well, HD-DVD is already out on the market... so let's see if they can go for cheaper.

Wait, it's Sony...

Re:Recent Attempts Probably Not Fiscally Unsuccess (2, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472730)

Look at their memory stick. While they didn't succeed it making it the de facto standard for portable media, I'm sure it's worked great for them. Their cameras, PSP, etc all use it and between their manufacturing and licensing I'm sure it helps them out some.

The problem with the memory stick is that a lot of people went out of their way to avoid anything using a memory stick, simply because it tied you to expensive Sony products. And memory stick is one of the most confusing as hell "standards" out there with numerous variants. I have one device that uses a memory stick - a PSP. I certainly have no intention of buying any other Sony product because of it. The PSP's UMD bombed for movies, that's a given, but it was a worthwhile "attempt." Personally, I think it was the price that killed it, had they made it cheaper than it would have been worth it for travelling purposes (and only travelling).

Definitely the price. It should have been $10 or less per movie. Attempting to flog a movie for more than its DVD equivalent on a proprietary format that only plays on one device is sheer stupidity. It is doomed to fail. Still, Sony could salvage the situation and drive memory stick sales if after dumping UMD they opened up the PSP to play ripped movies at full res. They could still make a lot of money. Better yet (for them) if they hand out something akin iTunes for doing the ripping which also manages syncing the device and links to their own reasonably priced store. I read a rumour that there would be an 8Gb PSP soon so perhaps they are planning something like this. It has the potential to be great, but Sony is like an anti King Midas - turning gold into shit - so who knows.

Other than videos, the PSP is fairly reasonable as far as DRM goes. I can play MP3, AAC, WMA music and rip my own videos. The resolution thing is an annoyance but ripped movies look pretty fine anyway so it's not a big deal. If UMD dies, they should definitely unlock the restriction though.

I couldn't care less between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. I feel both formats are irrelevant unless you have an HD TV, or a computer with a BD/HD-DVD ROM. All I care about is that one of them wins so this pointless pissing contest is over. Personally I feel it will be Blu-ray that wins but I guess judgement must be reserved for six months at least to see what happens with the PS3. Again, the PS3 could be an awesome device assuming Sony internal politics don't castrate the thing.

Sony's the new Microsoft (0, Offtopic)

indiancowboy (637150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472590)

Is is just me, or are others too, getting bored of slashdot's new found love for Sony bashing? Enough already!

Re:Sony's the new Microsoft (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472744)

It's just you. Sony has gone downhill of late, and a lot of people are critical of them. There are some stories about them that are unfair, such as that "OMG! Reading from graphics memory takes aaaaaaages on the PS3!!! We should get PCs with good old AGP graphics instead" thing, but they're no longer the great inventive powerhouse they once were.

Blue ray may win (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472631)

It is too hard to tell right now whether blue ray or HD-DVD will win. It is also hard to tell exactly what the adoption of HD will look like. Part of the problem is that the HD market is confusing, there isn't that much HD programming available, etc. Still, it is coming - just like its been coming for about 12 years.

Re:Blue ray may win (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472783)

"It is too hard to tell right now whether blue ray or HD-DVD will win."

Too true. I remember my friend's father, years ago, when he proudly displayed his brand new DiVX player. Then two months later DVD became the standard and he was stuck with hardware quickly becoming unsupported.

Re:Blue ray may win (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472787)

there isn't that much HD programming available, etc

What the fuck are you talking about? 35mm film has a higher resolution than SD, and even HD-- so if studios want to release movies on bluray or hddvd, they can release discs which will be visually superior to DVD. Primetime Television has been HD for a couple of years now.

Yes.there are currently only a limited number of hd-dvd titles available. But this has nothing to do with a lack of programming, and more to do with the fact that hd-dvd is quite new.

/. obsessed with Sony (-1, Troll)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472640)

In other news Microsoft fanboy /. once again called for burning Sony at the stake on a public place...

 

Re:/. obsessed with Sony (0)

Delphiki (646425) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472715)

In other news Microsoft fanboy /. once again Hahaha, yeah... In other news, Fox News blasted for catering too much to the Democratic party. Michael Moore accused of disguising government as documentaries. Also a new WSJ editorial advises you to put all of your money under your mattress.

Technologically superior? (5, Informative)

RSquaredW (969317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472647)

It always seems to come up that Betamax was 'technologically superior' to VHS, and there's always some /.er who posts a refutation. Instead of being redundant, I'd argue that Minidisc was Sony's worst "technologically superior" failure. MD came about a few years before Zip, and had more storage capacity (177 MB versus 100 MB), a smaller form-factor, and the discs were cheaper. However, the software was terrible for audio (you had to record directly into the audio jack) and there was no way to use MD as portable storage until long after the iPod had arrived. There was a huge market for Zip as a middleware between floppy (1.44") and CD-R, and Sony could've aimed MD towards that market and done well (and provided a superior product to those damn Zip disks).

Even when the first hard-disk mp3 players started coming out, Sony 'updated' with the NetMD software. That software must've been the inspiration for the rootkits of 2005, and was one of thoe most user-unfriendly products I've ever seen. Still no data-recording, even though competing players had that function, and an annoying three-copy rule on each mp3. Add this to a proprietary format and you get a terrible experience - no wonder MD never caught on. Even so, the hardware was good - the HiMD update allows .mp3 and provides hard drive functionality...but too little, too late. I would hope that Sony has learned the lesson of MD: superior technology without user-friendly software is worthless.

Re:Technologically superior? (1)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472712)

Betamax failed as general public format but went on to become the industry standard for semi-pro and professional low end equipment. They may a few million from that I am guessing...

Re:Technologically superior? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472945)

Why are subhumans like you allowed to post on the Internet? Shouldn't you things be locked in cages and forced to do menial labor instead of spreading blatently incorrect information?

Re:Technologically superior? (2, Interesting)

dsgitl (922908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472896)

I have a NetMD player kicking around some place. I also like to refer to it as "The Worst Christmas Present Ever." For those that think the average consumer won't choose HD-DVD over Blu-Ray by name along, consider that I ended up with a stupid NetMD player because my mom saw on the box "Compatible with MP3!" MP3 and DVD are the standards now -- maintaing those names goes a long way with the average consumer.

I gave up on my MD player after about three weeks. Slow transfer times, arcane rules about what I was allowed to do with MY music, and a trule terrible interface with both the program and the player made the entire experience worthless.

I've had friends that swear by MiniDisc (and the Japanese apparently love them), but I just couldn't ever see the point. A cheap-o portable CD player that will read MP3s seems to be a much better alternative.

Disposable media (2, Insightful)

od05 (915556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472656)

I'd prefer bringing back the tape or having cartridges with plastic casing (like NES games) so my media doens't need replacement every 5 years. I remember seriously abusing NES games and cassette tapes and having them still work.

Both HD-DVD and Bluray are optical disks that will not play if scratched. If the media itself wasn't so fragile people won't need to back it all up in the first place. I won't be buying into any of this fragile DRMed media that will not play if scratched until I am able to back it up first.

Re:Disposable media (1)

timsesow (969190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472827)

TDK is coming out with their DuraBis coating on the blue laser media. I have tried to scratch it with steel wool and it just stays shiny. It is basically silicon oxide (dioxide?), instead of polycarbonate or acrylic.

OLD CSS ??? (-1, Offtopic)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472664)

Wow this new scheme is awful. The moderation is way on the other side so i dont know how to react when i read the comments. The boxes are also too big. Shouldnt slashdot have like a link to the old CSS for people who dont like this forced upgrade? the fonts are all the same. all the text runs together its AWFUL. why dont you leave the old slashdot default in place, and then let people change it to these gay web2.0 css sheets from their userprofile? why penalize everyone?

Im surprised there isnt a link on the mainpage for people. i nearly had a heart attack. Please can someone post a download location for the old slashdot css?

Re:OLD CSS ??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472727)

You got that right... what a mess. I want my old slashdot look back.

Re:OLD CSS ??? (-1, Offtopic)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472791)

Here's a better idea: How about instead of whining 2 months too late, you made a better design yourself and submitted it when you were given the chance to do so?

Re:OLD CSS ??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472972)

I liked the old one... cock jockey.

Re:OLD CSS ??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472895)

My hope is that all the spoiled whining brats that hate the design just stop posting and coming here. Win win!

Memorystick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472668)

The completely unnecessaray "memory stick" flash memory is the reason I don't buy Sony cameras, good as they otherwise are. And I'm in no doubt that memory stick was also the reason Sony had to pull out of the PDA market, every single review I ever read said something along the lines of "Great device.. superb display.. darn memory stick". If they had used SD as every living PDA supports I'm certain they wouldn't have had to pull out.

I just can't understand why Sony don't ditch memory stick. It's not best on price, nor performance, nor size, nor capacity. There's simply no reason for this Sony-specific flash memory format to exist.

This isn't another betamax (3, Informative)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472680)

Sony has a virtually guaranteed market for blu-ray disks in the PS3 gaming market. Unless the PS3 is a total failure [slashdot.org] I doubt blu-ray could be a real loser. I don't blame Sony for trying to use that market to push HD-DVD out of the market.

Blu-Ray a win-win for Sony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15472687)

Think for a sec... if Blu-Ray becomes the standard^H^H^H^H^H^H^H accepted format, Sony finally gets their grip firmly wrapped around the industry's balls. After their Minidisc blunder, they are convinced they have it this time.

Now, if Sony loses this little war and the industry settles for HD-DVD, they still score a win. The Playstation 3 will still use BR discs and with it being a proprietary format, they can prevent just about every bit of software piracy and unlicensed game sales (a'la Dreamcast's GDROM, although Sega was cool with home development. Props to Sega). It'll be next to impossible to acquire the drives to read BR discs, much less burners and blank media.

Either way, Sony will score a decisive win in this battle. Maybe not the one they really want, but it's better than coming out of it all empty handed.

tirades are somewhat fun.... Go sony. (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472697)

Obsessed with owning proprietary formats, Sony keeps picking fights. It keeps losing. And yet it keeps coming back for more, convinced that all it needs to do is push a bigger stack of chips to the center of the table.'"

I wouldn't exactly call Sony's efforts dismal failures. I know dozens of people who bought Sony stuff and are locked into Sony's bullshit formats, and who pay a markup of 100%+ or more for flash memory and storage (because of Magical Fairy licensing fees, I presume, the formats aren't superior to pretty much anything else out there.)
Besides, what other digital camera manufacturer gets money when their customers buy memory?
They are getting their money and are pretty happy about it - and most importantly, people are still buying their stuff - mainly because of the "Ooh, Shiny!" effect (you have to admit that to the lay person, their stuff does look good in stores), but sales continue.

And yes, it looks like the BR/HD competition will be worse for the consumer than the +R -R thing, as media is priced insanely high.
Really, the price is bullshit, I can buy a 250 gig hard drive for $60 - shipped - and the most expensive blank disk is $10 less (not including shipping) with a heckuva lot less storage than 250 gigs).

For flexibility, for value - No Sony Products (2, Insightful)

gadlaw (562280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472728)

The last Sony products I bought were Walkman Cassette players and a Trinitron TV. Back then those products were values for the money. Now I look at everything from digital camcorders to various music players and see no good value. I see locked in technology that would cost me more to own so I find something else to buy that does give me value and quality for my money. The article mentions Betamax, the memory stick and that stupid mini-disc, all examples of proprietary, expensive and locked down technologies from Sony. If Blu-Ray is the same it'll have the same fate as the other products Sony has tried to pawn off on us. It'll smell like a turd but they'll have pretty girls and advertisements telling us that's flower perfume we're smelling but it'll still be turd. Sony thinks that they have the video game players locked in because of the PS1 and PS2 and they reason that those folks will migrate to whatever nonsense Sony puts down in front of them. This was the reasoning with the mini-disc and the memory stick as well. Sony thought they had the personal music player market locked up. I mean after all, wasn't the walkman the most popular thing on the planet? Folks won't mind if we lock them into our Sony's expensive stuff. Only it didn't work that way, other music players came and other memory options came out and that market once owned by Sony was gone with the wind. The article writer Jonathan V. Last is right, Sony is a prisoner of their own internal logic and keeps making the same fatal mistakes.

Not DevStation, but Devastation (0, Offtopic)

paranerd (672669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472793)

Look at the bottom of the slide. The typo isn't with the capital 'M' but with the missing 'A'

Re:Not DevStation, but Devastation (-1, Offtopic)

paranerd (672669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472835)

Sorry....wrong topic!

Content will decide the victor... (2, Insightful)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472810)

The studios listed for HD-DVD are *also* listed for BR ("CYA group"), but Sony's got more lined up for BR only. When little Joey wants his Disney fix in HD, and the parents find out it's only to be had on BR, guess what wins? Add the gaming boost from Playstation's market share and Sony may actually have something here.

makes sense (1)

moankey (142715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472864)

It may not make sense to us regular folk that go to work and collect our checks to keep wasting time and effort of forcing a proprietary format but for someone like Sony that has the resources if I were Sony I keep trying to do it.
Its one thing to develop, market, manufacture, distribute etc... the next new radio/tv/gaming/remote control... to earn large profits to feed the 800lb gorilla. But how little effort would it take to earn some extra change if you controlled a widely used format?
Considering they already have a level of control in all facets of entertainment, film, tv, hardware, gaming, PC's, music,...

Maybe it's because.... (1)

dougjm (838643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472893)

Sony owns the rights to so much of the content. They end up with the R&D dept coming up with products and concepts for the electronics dept which have to keep the media and content dept happy - that means bundles of DRM obviously - but if you invented succesful formats before - or helped in the creation of them - and got bundles of cash for it why wouldn't you do that again.

Even more memory stick formats coming... (1)

mozkill (58658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472894)

Sony has even more memory stick formats coming. I just bought the sony ericsson w800 with a 2GB memory stick pro duo and now they announce a newer version of the phone on http://gsmarena.com/ [gsmarena.com] that takes a different memory type.

therefore i cant just upgrade my phone and use the old memory sticks. im not a customer any more of sony.

Walmart (1)

SDrag0n (532175) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472922)

I saw HD-DVDs in Walmart a couple of days ago. . . I didn't see any Blu-ray movies. That may be a problem for Sony getting people to adapt it, they're a bit behind in getting it out to the market (at least, what most people will use it for. I don't plan on getting a $1000 BR burner. Or any BR device for that matter)

Repeat much? (1)

entmike (469980) | more than 8 years ago | (#15472987)

How is this article not another repeat or just another article about how Sony sucks at proprietary formats? How is this not complete rhetoric? Or has Slashdot resigned to auto-approving any article with the word "Sony", "Blu-Ray", or "PS3" in it?
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