Can the Welshman save Sony?

10 replies [Last post]
DVdoctor
Offline
Joined: Apr 1 1999

Every day seems to bring more and more worrisome commentary re Sony.

PS3 pricing is in trouble, even Sony is trying to spin it. Can they really afford to risk the games console market inorder to build a base for Blu Ray when gamers for the most part could care less, vs providing it as a option along the lines of Microsoft xbox 360 HD DVD option
.
Apple has completely driven Sony to embarassing levels in walkman market despite owning half of one of the largest music companies in the workd (Sony BMG)

Sony has chosen to go it alone with the Cell processorin a deal with Toshiba/IBM in a marketplace that survives on high volume cost reductions.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/05/26/news/newsmakers/stringer_greatteams_fortune/index.htm

http://money.cnn.com/2006/05/30/magazines/fortune/sonyPS3_greatteams_fortune/index.htm

Sharyn

DVdoctor
Offline
Joined: Apr 1 1999

You know when the chairman of a public company the size of Sony starts talking about the PS3 GAMBLE that they are really really worried. On top of that talking about a system that is looking more and more like a "pc" of proprietary nature and in the same breath talking about future proofing and lasting a long long time, almost borders on the insane.

It just starts to look like Sony thinks they are going to introduce an all things to all people pc/media/games system with an unproven processor and architecture, a brand new very expensive BD format and a very high price.

Looks like a disaster in the making

Sharyn

infocus
Offline
Joined: Jul 18 2003
dvdoctoress wrote:
Every day seems to bring more and more worrisome commentary re Sony.

.............. Can they really afford to risk the games console market inorder to build a base for Blu Ray when gamers for the most part could care less, ...............

I know your point is more to do with the gaming market than Blu-Ray, but regarding the latter, that format is (unlike Betamax) not just Sony. A failure for Blu-Ray would be a big problem for the likes of Panasonic etc as well.

There is speculation of a unified standard once more (though I'll believe it when it happens). A realisation does seem to be setting in that the format war is badly hitting BOTH formats chances.

Chris.
Offline
Joined: Nov 5 2000

Funny business Sony.

Sony's software (music and movie) division crippled their personal stereo business; blocking an early mp3 Walkman due to piracy concerns.

Sony invented the Walkman (it's still their trademark). Try explaining to your iPod owning kids what a Walkman is!

Sony struggled on with MiniDisc. You can now pick up £290 retail MiniDisc player recorders on ebay for a tenner!

They've entered the DSLR market too, buying up Konica Minolta's camera division, taking on established giants like Canon and Nikon.

Such is the brand loyalty though, there are many users keen to get their hands on the new DSLR despite only previews.

You sure daren't write them off.

DVdoctor
Offline
Joined: Apr 1 1999

Whilst I agree that this is not just about Sony, certainly the word going around here in the US is that they are the ones that are really driving and controlling the BD program at this point going forward. They are the ones refusing to get any compromise joint resolution. In fact we understand that Blu Ray licensing prevents anyone from offering a system that at the same time supports HD DVD.

I think Panasonic is going to suffer, and I think that the activity with H 264 codec and Microsoft is a fall back position for other people who might want to have HD content distrubution and not get caught up in the whole battle. According to some friends at Microsoft, the advanced codecs are quite capable of providing two hours hd program content on current 9 gig dvd's with no problem. The issue is the movie industry being so paranoid about copy protectioin.

the MS suggestion is that most of the non hollywood market can certainly start to provide content on Standard dvd's with advanced codecs, and that we are likely to start to see some of the next generation dvd players support these codecs, and hd up scaling, and Native HDV support all on low price point red laser dvd players.

I think that over time Microsofts strategy will prove to have been the wiser one, that a HD HD drive will make more sense as an option, that it will continue to allow for attractive price points, and that Sony's strategy will back fire, that PS3 sales will not meet the projectioin, and that they will regret that they did not make the BD drive an option on the Low end PS3.

Whilst you cannot right Sony off, at the same time, they have a less than stellar reputation in these sort of technology decisions. It is interersting so see the Chairman getting publically drawn into the whole discussion, with a stong corporate culture of saving face, it not out of the question that choosing a Westerner as the leader publically as the leader and decision maker on this, has some interesting implications in the face saving game.

Sharyn

Chris.
Offline
Joined: Nov 5 2000

Like good poker players when the game's up for them, they do act on it. Usually without too much fanfare. It was probably hard for them to swallow their pride and start producing VHS VCRs but they did, same with MiniDV camcorders when Digital 8 wasn't anywhere near as succesful as Hi8 and lately MiniDisc players that can play mp3s as well as mp3 players.

infocus
Offline
Joined: Jul 18 2003
dvdoctoress wrote:
Whilst I agree that this is not just about Sony, .............

Nor even Blu-Ray. Whilst the latter may be having a hard time, I don't think HD DVD is getting on very well either, with rumours of the likes of Toshiba losing money on each sale.

I don't want to get into the argument of which I think is better and more deserves to win. Just to hope that a single format is established soon - whichever it may be. At that point I predict sales to really start to ramp up, to the benefit of all.

The poker analogy is a good one, and whilst Sony may be feeling pressure, I don't think they're alone. Not just othe rbackers, but those in the HD DVD camp as well.

DVdoctor
Offline
Joined: Apr 1 1999

I think that what you are going to see in the shorter term are units that take the functions like this samsung and ADD in the ability to decompress some of the HD codecs and play back consumer generated dvd's with hd content. Sony with its announce ment of the H264 support on its DVDcamcorders will need to have this sort of ability.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130000688000&category=61248

Sharyn

rjpobrien
Offline
Joined: Jul 30 2005
dvdoctoress wrote:
I think that over time Microsofts strategy will prove to have been the wiser one, that a HD HD drive will make more sense as an option, that it will continue to allow for attractive price points, and that Sony's strategy will back fire, that PS3 sales will not meet the projectioin, and that they will regret that they did not make the BD drive an option on the Low end PS3.

I know I've expressed my views on this before but I still think that you have this wrong. The same things were said about the PS2 including a DVD drive and the price being £300 6 years ago. Its the best selling console of all time. When you also consider the cost of an Xbox with the add on and compare it to the PS3 you realise its actually pretty well priced. Time will tell and no doubt we will be looking back in a year discussing the success/failure of the PS3 but don't bank on it being a failure just yet.

Richard

DVdoctor
Offline
Joined: Apr 1 1999

I think that there are several important factors that can be missed here

When the ps2 was introduced there wasn't any Xbox and it really was a major step forward in the games platform. Sony was the real inovator at that time with a lot of excitement from the gamer community. This time they simply have not won the hearts and minds of the industry, in fact there is way more excitement about WII than PS3
Dvd at that time was new, but at the same time DVD was a major improvement in quality immediately for the end user with NO NEED to upgrade their tv. BD and HD in general is really only a major improvement when you use very large displays, and you need to make sure you have an HD capable display, so this time there is another major piece in the equation that needs to be in place for the end user to experience the true benefit in quality,

In addition if you look at the typical enduser ability to determine quality, the comparison of an upscaled standard dvd on a HD display vs a native BD on a HD display is not that dramatic.

Lastly the cost of the BD content, and the very minimal catalogue of content is an issue, a lot of people look at the content and the price for a BD vs dvd and seem to be unimpressed.

Lastly since at PS2 intro there was NO question as to dvd being a standard, I think people were willing to make the commitment.

It would be hard to make the case that Sony put a dvd drive into the PS2 as a way to win a dvd battle for market share, or even if the majority of people really bought and used the PS2 as a dvd player.

In addition other than storage increase, we need to remember that BD and HD are really about content protection, NOT about quality. Not a lot of the makers want to focus on this but if you just wanted to see HD quality, the new codecs are quite capable of delivering HD on standard DVD's. The industry could have simply changed the codec, and had the dvd players add an additional codec. It really was more about copy protection than quality, In addtion to of course the additional capacity.

It makes for a good discussion, there are lots of different angles, and it will be very interesting to see.

Sharyn

bcrabtree
Offline
Joined: Mar 7 1999

Have to say that I think that Sharyn (John?) is spot on throughout this thread.

For the record - I've been told (by someone highly unlikely to give me false info) that the on-going delay with Blu-ray Disc hardware is largely to do with tying up agreements over the copy-protection.

Bob