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Sony CEO Sees 'Stalemate' in Disc Fight

Old 11-09-07, 03:37 AM
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Sony CEO Sees 'Stalemate' in Disc Fight


Sony CEO Sees 'Stalemate' in Disc Fight

AP
Posted: 2007-11-08 23:21:45
NEW YORK (AP) - The head of Sony Corp ., Howard Stringer , said Thursday that the Blu-ray disc format the company has developed as the successor to the DVD is in a "stalemate" with the competing HD DVD format, chiefly backed by Toshiba Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

"It's a difficult fight," said Stringer, speaking at the 92nd Street Y cultural center in Manhattan.

Toshiba has been selling its players for as low as $200 heading into the holiday season, while Blu-ray players cost more than twice as much. The HD DVD camp also scored a significant win in August, when it induced Paramount Pictures to drop most of its support for Blu-ray and put out high-definition movies exclusively on HD DVD.

"We were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while, until Paramount changed sides," Stringer said.

At the same time, he played down the importance of the battle, saying it was mostly a matter of prestige whose format wins out in the end.

"It doesn't mean as much as all that," Stringer said. He added that he believed there was an opportunity of uniting the two camps under one format before he became CEO, and he wishes he could travel back in time to make that happen.

Stringer was more upbeat about the PlayStation 3, the game console that has so far had disappointing sales compared to the rival Nintendo Wii.

The CEO said the console is the best-selling console in Europe after a price cut three weeks ago. In the U.S., a recent price cut has doubled sales.

"We are coming back up again," Stringer said. The company aims to sell 10 million PS3s by the end of its fiscal year in March. Nintendo has already sold 13.2 million Wiis.
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Old 11-09-07, 05:29 AM
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what a difference a few months make, I thought he said the war was over and they won
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Old 11-09-07, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BigDogg
what a difference a few months make, I thought he said the war was over and they won
They sent at least a dozen press releases during the year saying just that.

I guess Sony needs to put away the "Mission Accomplished" banner as well.
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Old 11-09-07, 06:49 AM
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Stalemate? They've already lost. It's all over but the shoutin'.
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Old 11-09-07, 07:15 AM
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Amazing what cheap players will do to affect things.
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Old 11-09-07, 07:53 AM
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But what does this mean exactly? Are they throwing in the towel (unlikely)? Are they going to attempt a similar low retail strategy beyond the PS3? What?
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Old 11-09-07, 07:57 AM
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BD vs. HD-DVD...the winner? DVD and downloads.

What a total fuck up by greedy corporations.
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Old 11-09-07, 08:07 AM
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That is true. DVD is still the clear winner in all of this. Sad given that HD DVD and BD look and sound so much better.
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Old 11-09-07, 08:42 AM
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Stalemate in Sony's eyes is a loss. The longer two competing formats exist, the more likely studios will go format neutral and/or other CEs will want to grab a share of the HD DVD market.

Stalemate to me also means to me, and confirmed by Sony, that there will be no price cuts on Blu-Ray players anytime soon. If they really wanted to win this thing, they would just cut players to competitvely compete with Blu Ray.

Last edited by chanster; 11-09-07 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 11-09-07, 08:53 AM
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All is not lost for Blu-ray. They still have the advantage in studios and hardware companies. I think the problem is they expected to finish off HD DVD this year and now that plan is crumbling. The longer the war goes the bigger the install base for HD DVD will grow and the tougher and more expenisve it will become for Sony to win this war.

I have a feeling the BD Group was planning on owning the HD disc realm and raking in huge profits for 4-5 years. Now they have real competition and probably have to lose money to win the war. By the time they knock out HD DVD (if they even do that) the player prices will be driven just as low as current DVD players.
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Old 11-09-07, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by chanster

Stalemate to me also means to me, and confirmed by Sony, that there will be no price cuts on Blu-Ray players anytime soon. If they really wanted to win this thing, they would just cut players to competitvely compete with Blu Ray.
I agree, they have really painted themselves into a corner now. Loosing focus on the PS3 has hurt them against the Wii, and 360. And when it comes to prices on PS3 vs standalone players, they cant cut one, without the other.
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Old 11-09-07, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by chanster
Stalemate in Sony's eyes is a loss. The longer two competing formats exist, the more likely studios will go format neutral and/or other CEs will want to grab a share of the HD DVD market.

Stalemate to me also means to me, and confirmed by Sony, that there will be no price cuts on Blu-Ray players anytime soon. If they really wanted to win this thing, they would just cut players to competitvely compete with Blu Ray.
In a previous thread: http://forum.dvdtalk.com/showthread.php?t=516289

Shepard makes no bones about the Blu-ray players not being reduced to compete with HD-DVD players. He claims that lowering the cost would take valuable money out of their profits (ahem) sorry, "Research and Development."

Yet i have read article after article from financial analysts who claim that the first player that is affordable by walmart/target standards will most likely win the war.

The more i watch this sh*tshow go down, the more i am convinced there will be no winner. Although, if i were to judge from the way Sony's been running things on this end lately, I would not be surprised to see them go Betamax.

It is funny to watch them turn tail though, like after all that crap they talked about the 360 not being backwards compatible, and what do they do? Make a PS3 that's not backwards compatible.

Now they are claiming stalemate on their little war that they have continuously boasted to have already won. How can there be a "stalemate" in a war that you won already? Garbage. I hate you Sony.
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Old 11-09-07, 09:10 AM
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This totally brings back memories of the 1992 Elections. Ross Perot (Wii) jumps in the race and pulls away just enough votes to allow Clinton (Xbox360) to beat G.H.Bush (PS3) with only 43% of the total vote.

The Wii is siphoning off just enough potential PS3 buyers that this may hand the victory over to the XBOX 360. However, the PS4 (G.W. Bush) will return to later defeat the evil XBOX 360 (Slick Willy). But in the end, the XBOX 3000 (Hillary) will later make a feable attempt to defeat the PS4 (W) only to realize she's supposed to be campaining against the Wii 2000 (Juliani) instead the of the soon to be reitred PS4 (W).
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Old 11-09-07, 09:28 AM
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If Sony is publicly claiming "stalemate" they are privately admitting "defeat". But that doesn't mean that the war won't go on. Sony is infamous for sticking with their proprietary formats far longer than common sense would dictate. (well, common sense would state that Sony should not have produced the proprietary format in the first place)
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Old 11-09-07, 10:08 AM
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Jamers, where does Dukakis (Jaguar) fit into all this?

Also, there's a difference between "defeat" and "stalemate"... Keep in mind HD DVD was being outsold 2-to-1, software wise, and never said they were defeated.
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Old 11-09-07, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by sracer
If Sony is publicly claiming "stalemate" they are privately admitting "defeat".
True. I think this is a big statement coming from the CEO of Sony. And I don't think it will end in stalemate. Studios want one format since that's what needs to happen before mass adoption has a chance to take hold. They bought into Blu-ray because it was going to become the de-facto standard with 10,000,000 PS3s (and thus BD players) in homes by 2007. I don't think they actually thought there would be any real "war" and they certainly didn't want to sign up for one.

Originally Posted by BigDogg
what a difference a few months make, I thought he said the war was over and they won
I've been keeping this list:

HD DVD dead by...
1. HD DVD will be dead in CES '05
2. HD DVD will be dead in CES '06
3. HD DVD will be dead when Blu-Ray launches
4. HD DVD will be dead when the PS3 launches
5. HD DVD will be dead in CES '07
6. HD DVD will be dead because Block Buster expanded its Blu-ray section
7. HD DVD will be dead because the BDA purchased an end cap at Target
8. HD DVD will be dead Jan 1, '08 according to Panasonic (Kazuhiro Tsuga)
9. HD DVD will be dead when Paramount starts releasing on Blu-ray again

Last edited by awmurray; 11-09-07 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 11-09-07, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by darkside
I guess Sony needs to put away the "Mission Accomplished" banner as well.
Those banners are still going to be packaged in the new PS3 "Format Winner" Edition.

Sony will certainly hold out. Which will be unfortunate for many. Even if HD DVD is the majority format, Sony will still be relunctant to admit they need to put their movies on HD DVD format. In fact, they may never and might actually have to receive harsh warnings from major movie studios to do it. But we'll see what happens.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 11-09-07 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 11-09-07, 10:20 AM
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He added that he believed there was an opportunity of uniting the two camps under one format before he became CEO...
It's still not too late.
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Old 11-09-07, 10:23 AM
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It's look more and more to me like Blu-ray is going to become the "PS3 format" and HD DVD is going to be the consumer HD format.

Both will be niche... but HD DVD will be the bigger niche. It'll be interesting to see what 2008 holds. I really think that a single big studio (Warner, Fox, Disney) going neutral -- or, in Warner's case -- exclusive -- would cause HD DVD sales to explode. We're at the tipping point now.
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Old 11-09-07, 10:25 AM
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Anyone else bored of this format war yet?
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Old 11-09-07, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by RichC2
Anyone else bored of this format war yet?
Not until software prices go down.
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Old 11-09-07, 10:28 AM
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Here is some more quotes from Stringer:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...4f1036c8398c0e

Whats interesting here is that he acknowledges the PS3 could live without a Blu Ray drive...

Asked about the battle between Sony's Blu-Ray high-definition DVD format and the competing HD DVD, Stringer said if Sony lost out, it would have to change the harddrive for its PlayStation, but it wouldn't hurt the conglomerate too much beyond that.

He also signaled he would have preferred to integrate the two formats. "There was a chance to integrate (before I was in charge)," Stringer said. "I wish I could go back in time, because I heard it was all about saving face."

Asked why Microsoft Corp. is more supportive of the HD DVD, the Sony boss said Blu-Ray has stronger anti-piracy protections, "which is probably not in Microsoft's interest." He cited the competition between PS 3 and Microsoft's XBox 360 as a likely sub-plot behind this.
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Old 11-09-07, 10:34 AM
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I think the 90,000+ HD players sold was a punch of reality to the face of the BDA. This is the first couple believable statements I've seen from SONY in regards to the format war.
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Old 11-09-07, 10:35 AM
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Microsoft not wanting to protect it's interests via anti-piracy protections? No, I don't think that's it. Microsoft probably figured out it was pointless and would only frustrate consumers.

More importantly, MS is more supportive of HD DVD because Toshiba et al on their side, embraced VC-1 (which is a Microsoft codec). Initially, Sony didn't want it--they "had their own" codec. So, the statement about MS not wanting protection for their hardware/software is not really the case. If I'm wrong, someone can chime in.
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Old 11-09-07, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by chanster
Here is some more quotes from Stringer:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...4f1036c8398c0e

Whats interesting here is that he acknowledges the PS3 could live without a Blu Ray drive...
i think something was lost in the reporter's paraphrasing, because what that says doesn't really make sense. the PS3's harddrive has little to do with the Blu-ray capability and there's no reason the Blu-ray drive would need to change in the PS3, even if Blu-ray as a movie disc technology doesn't last. the PS3 would still be a game machine with games on BD.
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