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Sony CEO Sees 'Stalemate' in Disc Fight

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Sony CEO Sees 'Stalemate' in Disc Fight

Old 11-13-07, 12:42 AM
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True. Even if Blu-Ray dies and Sony suddenly stopped producing the discs, PS3's would still need to be made with a Blu-Ray drive. And most likely PS4's as well, unless Sony drops backwards compatibility altogether.
Old 11-13-07, 02:39 AM
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Good ol' Bill, lamenting the "spin" placed on this interview excerpt while furiously spinning it to fit his own agenda. Pot, kettle and all that.

Even if the excerpt about the format war was only five minutes of a ninety minute conversation, so what? Does this mean that Stringer's statements were not true? If anything, the apparent "off the cuff" nature of his comments would tend to strengthen their importance as they thereby seem more sincere and honest than the usual press release tripe we are fed.

I find Stringer's comments very interesting and decidely pessimistic about Blu's future. His indication that the studios have actually benefited from the format war rings true in conjunction with the pervasive gossip/speculation that Sony has been subsidizing disc costs for the studios in one way or another (and of course there was the Paramount deal). Don't forget that Sony competes with these other studios in software (i.e. movie) sales. In the absence of a well-disciplined and united front keeping all the studios in line (i.e. the BDA), it becomes a bit like sleeping with wolves.

Stringer's apparent bitterness about the Paramount deal speaks volumes about the effect that deal had on the format war. One can't help but wonder how much either side is prepared to offer Warner Bros to go exclusive with them and, given the tone of Stringer's comments, I am wondering if Sony is even interested in that game anymore.

As for his comments about switching the PS3 drives in the future if Blu is a bust, my impression is that he meant this figuratively rather than literally. I read his comment as indicating that the PS3 didn't need Blu-Ray's success in the format war in order to survive - that the PS3 would do fine whichever format wins in the end or even if neither format "wins." It's an interesting attitude to adopt only a few months after all those over-the-top press releases trumpeting Blu's victory.

But in the end, so long as this "stalemate" keeps bringing us $98 players and $8 HD discs, do any of us as consumers really care whether the stalemate ends?
Old 11-13-07, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Jay G.
Studios will continue to put out product on a format as long as it makes sense to do so.... studios dropped VHS because it was no longer profitable, not because they were trying to "force" people into DVD.
I thought of another example for my point: VCDs. VCDs never caught on in US or Europe, but are huge in Asia. In fact, nearly 10 years after DVD, the "successor" to VCD, was released, you can still find new releases being released on VCD in Asian countries. I'm sure the studios in Asia would prefer to just release on DVD with it's higher profit margin, but there's still a strong enough demand for the lower-price VCD format for them to continue to release on that format. So content providers will stick with a format as long as it's still profitable to do so.
Old 11-13-07, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ResIpsa
Good ol' Bill, lamenting the "spin" placed on this interview excerpt while furiously spinning it to fit his own agenda. Pot, kettle and all that.

Even if the excerpt about the format war was only five minutes of a ninety minute conversation, so what? Does this mean that Stringer's statements were not true? If anything, the apparent "off the cuff" nature of his comments would tend to strengthen their importance as they thereby seem more sincere and honest than the usual press release tripe we are fed.

I find Stringer's comments very interesting and decidely pessimistic about Blu's future. His indication that the studios have actually benefited from the format war rings true in conjunction with the pervasive gossip/speculation that Sony has been subsidizing disc costs for the studios in one way or another (and of course there was the Paramount deal). Don't forget that Sony competes with these other studios in software (i.e. movie) sales. In the absence of a well-disciplined and united front keeping all the studios in line (i.e. the BDA), it becomes a bit like sleeping with wolves.

Stringer's apparent bitterness about the Paramount deal speaks volumes about the effect that deal had on the format war. One can't help but wonder how much either side is prepared to offer Warner Bros to go exclusive with them and, given the tone of Stringer's comments, I am wondering if Sony is even interested in that game anymore.

As for his comments about switching the PS3 drives in the future if Blu is a bust, my impression is that he meant this figuratively rather than literally. I read his comment as indicating that the PS3 didn't need Blu-Ray's success in the format war in order to survive - that the PS3 would do fine whichever format wins in the end or even if neither format "wins." It's an interesting attitude to adopt only a few months after all those over-the-top press releases trumpeting Blu's victory.

But in the end, so long as this "stalemate" keeps bringing us $98 players and $8 HD discs, do any of us as consumers really care whether the stalemate ends?
Great post. It certainly seems like Sony's resolve is wavering. 2008 is going to be interesting.

Jay G- I think what was eluded to is that slowly DVDs will be phased out in favor of the new format over the course of several years. Already we are seeing HD players invade the sub $100 category, and once they supplant even cheaper models, and the installed base takes over, then studios can switch to greater and greater HD production (be it HD DVD or Blu-Ray). Or not. Maybe DVD will ALWAYS be around. It is difficult to say. I think it is more akin to a PS1 to PS2 type of transition than a VCD to DVD transition. We'll see.
Old 11-13-07, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ResIpsa
Good ol' Bill, lamenting the "spin" placed on this interview excerpt while furiously spinning it to fit his own agenda. Pot, kettle and all that.

Even if the excerpt about the format war was only five minutes of a ninety minute conversation, so what? Does this mean that Stringer's statements were not true? If anything, the apparent "off the cuff" nature of his comments would tend to strengthen their importance as they thereby seem more sincere and honest than the usual press release tripe we are fed.

I find Stringer's comments very interesting and decidely pessimistic about Blu's future. His indication that the studios have actually benefited from the format war rings true in conjunction with the pervasive gossip/speculation that Sony has been subsidizing disc costs for the studios in one way or another (and of course there was the Paramount deal). Don't forget that Sony competes with these other studios in software (i.e. movie) sales. In the absence of a well-disciplined and united front keeping all the studios in line (i.e. the BDA), it becomes a bit like sleeping with wolves.

Stringer's apparent bitterness about the Paramount deal speaks volumes about the effect that deal had on the format war. One can't help but wonder how much either side is prepared to offer Warner Bros to go exclusive with them and, given the tone of Stringer's comments, I am wondering if Sony is even interested in that game anymore.

As for his comments about switching the PS3 drives in the future if Blu is a bust, my impression is that he meant this figuratively rather than literally. I read his comment as indicating that the PS3 didn't need Blu-Ray's success in the format war in order to survive - that the PS3 would do fine whichever format wins in the end or even if neither format "wins." It's an interesting attitude to adopt only a few months after all those over-the-top press releases trumpeting Blu's victory.

But in the end, so long as this "stalemate" keeps bringing us $98 players and $8 HD discs, do any of us as consumers really care whether the stalemate ends?
Did you even read the full interview? Bill isn't spinning, but many of the faithful don't even read the full interview to realize that Stringer's comments as excised by the AP are nothing but misquoting of the original interview. I see nothing of pessimism as you do. I see continued support for a format across most of the board.
Old 11-13-07, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RocShemp
Perhaps it would have. Could Sony have been planning BD-exclusive features for Transformers or use the extra bandwith/disc space to include a DD TrueHD or PCM track to entice dual format supporters? As it stands now, we'll never know.
Sony doesn't own Transformers (not the live action Michael Bay film, anyway; they do own the animated series and movie). Sony has no say in how the Transformers film is released on disc.
Old 11-13-07, 02:51 PM
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Wow. The full text of Stringer's comments are even worse for Blu Ray than I thought...basically he says "We don't care if we win this optical media war, we will just have downloads" So basically what he is saying is he doesn't care if HD DVD wins the "hard" media, but rather he sees online delivery as the future.

see here:

But it's not a battle about the digital future. That's what's so strange about it. If it doesn't work out, that doesn't say very much about where we're all going. It's just... it's a scorecard: one-nothing or something
So here he basically says that neither Blu Ray or HD DVD is the "digital future"

I should point out that that is not part of the software battle. I mean, that's actually in some ways sort of anachronistic. We're fighting over a packaged goods hardware that will not go on forever, from a classic sense.
This quote speaks for itself, and should warn any future buyer of HD players right now to not put all of their eggs in any basket.
Old 11-13-07, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by chanster
So here he basically says that neither Blu Ray or HD DVD is the "digital future"
I'd have to say I agree with him. I don't think either format -- Blu-ray or HD DVD -- will be our preferred way of watching movies ten years from now (and probably well before then).
Old 11-13-07, 03:02 PM
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What did I read on Drudge the other day about Intel's new Penryn chip? Something about it's ability to stream high def on the internet?
Old 11-13-07, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by MBoyd
What did I read on Drudge the other day about Intel's new Penryn chip? Something about it's ability to stream high def on the internet?
That makes no sense. High-def online is a bandwidth problem, not a processing power problem.
Old 11-13-07, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
That makes no sense. High-def online is a bandwidth problem, not a processing power problem.
Intel has used downloadable HD video to plug the chip. It's a processing power problem inasmuch as you can use really elaborate codecs to compress the heck of the video, putting the burden on the client to decode it instead of having something computationally lighter with a larger footprint.
Old 11-13-07, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Adam Tyner
I'd have to say I agree with him. I don't think either format -- Blu-ray or HD DVD -- will be our preferred way of watching movies ten years from now (and probably well before then).
Claiming ANY current "standard" in the electronics industry will be around 10 years from now, whether it be media, digital imaging devices, computer componenets, etc., would be naive.

It's a given HD in it's current codec and format, probably won't be around 10 years from now as a majority, but it will probably be still supported on players.

Backwards compatibility has been a key for any crossover product to be successful. If you don't let your products accept other formats, you might as well kiss your new proprietary product good-bye as far as being a mainstream item.
Old 11-13-07, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by theflyingdutch
Did you even read the full interview? Bill isn't spinning, but many of the faithful don't even read the full interview to realize that Stringer's comments as excised by the AP are nothing but misquoting of the original interview. I see nothing of pessimism as you do. I see continued support for a format across most of the board.
I sure did and I don't see any of the misquoting you claim. Care to provide any examples of misquoting, as old Bill surely hasn't provided any examples? As chanster points out, the tenor of Stringer's comments basically boils down to "so what if Blu Ray fails." If you don't see this position as light years away from the "BLU RAY HAS WON, GAME OVER" press releases earlier this year, you are incapable of recognizing spin.
Old 11-13-07, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Claiming ANY current "standard" in the electronics industry will be around 10 years from now
Sure, but VHS lasted a really long time. So did vinyl, the CD, Laserdisc, and DVD, to a lesser extent... I just don't think HD DVD or Blu-ray will have the longevity of any of those formats.
Old 11-13-07, 04:34 PM
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Stringer is the new Manny Ramirez
Old 11-13-07, 05:00 PM
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Most everyone realizes that HD-DVD or Bluray are not what we will be seeing in 10 years. Hirez downloading will supplant whatever is here now. Stringer's comments aren't a pessimists way of looking at, merely a realists. However, HD we will see between now and then lead Stringer and anyone wanting everything BD has to offer.
Old 11-13-07, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by theflyingdutch
Most everyone realizes that HD-DVD or Bluray are not what we will be seeing in 10 years. Hirez downloading will supplant whatever is here now. Stringer's comments aren't a pessimists way of looking at, merely a realists. However, HD we will see between now and then lead Stringer and anyone wanting everything BD has to offer.

I'd like everything BD has to offer . . . when it becomes available.
Old 11-13-07, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Adam Tyner
Sure, but VHS lasted a really long time. So did vinyl, the CD, Laserdisc, and DVD, to a lesser extent... I just don't think HD DVD or Blu-ray will have the longevity of any of those formats.
Well, I would have to agree in a sense. To me, it seems obvious that DVD is the film equivalent of the CD. CD is 25 years strong and is there a viable replacement in sight? DVD, like the CD, is good enough for the casual i.e the masses and it's not going away for a long, long time. Will HD-DVD/Blu-Ray always be a niche? Depends on how you define niche but I don't think the libraries of either or the eventual winner (if there is one....) will even come close to whats available, even five years ago, on DVD.

Although I don't think downloadable content is the next step either - too formidable for J6P (for the forseeable future at least...) and losing the tangible aspect will lose the enthusiasts and collectors - speaking from experience anyway where I spend more time staring and stroking my collection than actually watching anything....heh.
Old 11-13-07, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by theflyingdutch
Hirez downloading will supplant whatever is here now.
No, it won't. Ever. Will people download movies? Yes. Just like people rent movies now.

People will want to own movies, though. Optical discs is pretty much the only way that's ever going to work.
Old 11-13-07, 05:35 PM
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It's 2007 and not everyone even uses the internet on a regular basis. How much of that is still dialup? And in 10 years, we're all gonna be downloading mega size HD files at blazing speeds? Sorry, but I will always want a PHYSICAL copy of my movies. What's Best Buy and Walmart going to use for loss leaders?

I found this:

http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm

Last edited by Mr. Cinema; 11-13-07 at 05:40 PM.
Old 11-13-07, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by theflyingdutch
Most everyone realizes that HD-DVD or Bluray are not what we will be seeing in 10 years. Hirez downloading will supplant whatever is here now. Stringer's comments aren't a pessimists way of looking at, merely a realists. However, HD we will see between now and then lead Stringer and anyone wanting everything BD has to offer.
Stringer's job, at least outward facing, is not to be a realist. I would prefer my CEO be the Panny guy, who is at least going down with guns blazing.

Everybody knows how the feelings of a CEO can equate a policy change, especially when Stringer here says the Blu Ray/HD DVD divide was the result of the former regime. CEOs have to envision things and then they tell their underlings to come up with the facts to support him or give him one hell of a reason to not go forward.

These quotes definitely equate to a "distancing" and it would be absurd not to think that he has already begun discussing/formulating "exit strategy" from Blu-Ray "ala the digital future."

I'm not saying its going to happen tomorrow or even next year, but its a coming.

Last edited by chanster; 11-13-07 at 05:40 PM.
Old 11-13-07, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Lord Rick
No, it won't. Ever. Will people download movies? Yes. Just like people rent movies now.

People will want to own movies, though. Optical discs is pretty much the only way that's ever going to work.
Then you're in the minority on that then.

As for what "physical" discs or whatnot will be available and what we may want, I forsee hard drive capacity to more than make up for the issues of storage. I will want my movies on my hard drive and not in some disc format.

Last edited by theflyingdutch; 11-13-07 at 05:54 PM.
Old 11-13-07, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by theflyingdutch
Then you're in the minority on that then.
No I'm not. Proof?
Old 11-13-07, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Lord Rick
No I'm not. Proof?
The "proof" is in the way video recording and storage have gone in the past 15 years. Hirez in the 90s was laserdisc, but there was a movement toward a smaller format (DVD). TIVOs, etc., brought us to recordable content on hard drives and with larger hard drives and advanced streaming technology, I see HD not just a pipedream.

I also remember my own videorecording gear and the popularity of each subsequent technology as it was adopted. I (and others) went from huge VHS recordings, to MiniDV (in 1996 when it first came out), to DVD-ROM, and now to harddrive storage of those videos. We've even gone past standard definition and gotten HD hard drive video recorders.

It's clear. We are moving away from discs as the storage medium and going to the ability of our hard drives to hold those movies far into the future. It's only a matter of time.
Old 11-13-07, 06:01 PM
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I think there will always be physical media the proof is in CDs. Everyone I talk to tells me they haven't bought a CD in years. Yet they are still there. Every Tuesday new ones come out.

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