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back to article Sony bullish on Blu-ray dominance

Sony wants to own 50 per cent of the Blu-ray Disc hardware market by the end of the year, according to a company executive. Ryoji Chubachi, President and electronics CEO at Sony, made the bold statement during a recent press conference in Taipei, according to a DigiTimes report. Chubachi claimed that Sony already has 20 per …

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Gates Horns

Flawed maths...

boosting sales 20% by 30% does not equal 50%... It's 26%

It obviously does not take a rocket science degree to be a writer for ElReg...

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Well

You can be as bullish as you want sunshine but I don't know anyone who's buying one until the price of the DVDs and the hardware come down.

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Shurely Shome Mishkate?

Sony have 20% of the Blu-ray hardware market from a combined effort of their standalone players (the BDP-S300 being anecdotally by far the most popular standalone on UK shelves, in my experience) and the PS3?

Methinks someone wasn't counting the PS3s there, who are a much bigger share than all the other players put together.

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PS3

The only reason they have so much market share is the PS3. Without it they would be much further behind.

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don't know about you...

but i'm waiting until they incorporate Toshiba's upscaling technology. I am a bit of a film buff, which means that i pretty much own every film out there at the moment, that i want, on DVD. There may be one of two films i rebuy in HD but I'm, realistically, only going to buy new stuff that comes out in HD. So, for the time being anyway, good upscaling is a more important feature to me than native HD content.

Although, considering the complete toss that has been released recently, i'm tempted to get a cheapy HD-DVD player to tide me over. (although they're being sold as upscaling dvd players that can also handle hd-dvd disks now)

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PS3 is the way to go

Given the cost of the PS3 (£260 is what I paid for a new one from shopto.com) when compared to the price of a standalone Blu-Ray player, the PS3 is a good choice, especially as it's constantly being updated, offers good 'other formats' support and, apparently, you can even play games on it ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Not exactly a hard target...

...when you're the main player in the spec and the spec can change as and when you see fit and you produce the only system right now that's truly future compatible in terms of Bluray capabilities - the PS3.

Fact is, Sony have a lot of power to push through a new profile as they want making other BD players obsolete whilst simply releasing an upgrade for the PS3. That means they've got the only BD player really worth buying and can squeeze competitors out much easier.

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Stop

I won't be buying...

I've just spent a lot of money on a new AV system at home. A nice 40" HD LCD TV, a top drawer receiver and surround sound system, my HD cable TV box, and, a normal upscaling DVD player. The reason: I'm never buying a device that is region encoded again. My DVD player was chosen because it was region free. Until Blu-ray goes region free I will not buy a player.

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Paris Hilton

And on the movie front...

I'm a movie buff too with a huge collection of DVD's and I tuly look forward to higher definition there but I never pay more than $10 for a movie. As long as they are trying to charge premium prices for HD I won't be buying them and it may actually cause me to buy *less* standard def stuff as I try to avoid buying into a fading technology.

So... the message to the Bluray proponents is, "you better quit charging a premium for HD because its going to cost you net sales." And also, I could not care less about your so called "extras" which are just another attempt by you to bait me to some web site where you can try and shove more advertising down my throat. Once I buy your product don't treat me like a market.

Paris, cuz I'd check out her bits in HD.

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Unhappy

Where are the films (worth watching) ?

Idiot that I am, I bought a PS3 last weekend. Yes, GT5 is great. As are the couple of films I have seen on it. You can definitely tell the difference etc etc.

However, I'm now wondering why I bothered. There is basically sweet FA (worth watching) on Blu ray right now. The choice of films available is really poor. I may have chosen the "winning" format but when there is bugger all worth watching on that format, it's not a sensible decision to have made given that prices of PS3s will have to drop.

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Go

I plan to buy a Bluray burner*

I plan to buy a Bluray burner when it becomes cost effective. Currently I can store data at $.33/4.3G on DVD plus the overhead of burning.

That means media prices will be roughly equal when BRD's are available for $1.50. There will be an obvious labor savings so I decided I will buy a burner when BRD's are available for $3 because it will save me some labor and space.

Any bets on how long it will take for disks to fall from the current $15 to $3? There has been no motion at all over the past year so I'll be suprised if they break $10 by 2009. Something tells me the "next big thing" will already be on the horizon by the time Bluray becomes cost effective.

*Nothing I buy will be Sony branded because they are rootkit installing criminals who all belong in prison.

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PS3 share

Seems odd as I'd have expected the PS3 to be totally dominant in Blu-Ray players already. I thought with Blu-Ray, the standalones were very much a tiny minority with few people really interested as most had PS3s (and even then most the standalones are Sony anyway).

Even more now it seems most people who actually have any interest in Blu-Ray (tiny proportion of the public) seem to think the only option for Blu-Ray = PS3.

What disturbs me though is how a format like Blu-Ray can succeed on the level DVD did (as some are strangely convinced it will) with one single company intending to dominate player, format and movie production.

Sony's plans don't bode well either for prices. If there's little competition because of Sony's plan to essentially "own" all Blu-Ray players, then I can hardly see the fantasy of cheap players and discs ever becoming reality.

Great for Sony execs, bad for the consumer. But we've said this all along, and the right choice was stamped out so we just have to stick with what we've got now. I suspect DVD though will live on for a good 10 years now.

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Upscaling

The PS3 does a rather fine job of upscaling regular DVD, the Cell processor allows it to do more or less whatever video post-processing it likes without breaking sweat.

DVDs through the upscaler look much better than they do through a regular SD player and PS3 streamed recordings from my MythTV back end server look rather better than my Samsung telly's built in digital tuner.

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I'm with you AC

Region-Coding = no sale. Not doing that again and having experienced the glitchy experience of a chipped DVD player, the ones with published handset hacks are the only "region-free" DVD players I purchase today.

You don't want people doing grey-market imports? Price titles fairly and put them out with the same quality image and features in all regions (or help/force local licensors to, as applicable).

To be honest I don't find the difference between 480p/576p to 1080i/p for film to be impressive enough to add another silver box to my collection and I have a Wii to play games so the PS3 with the gamepad interface has zero appeal.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC "I won't be buying..."

With the advent of virtually simultaneous releases across the world, i don't personally see the reason to "clip your wings" and say you won't get a BR machine. Content wise; there might be an argument, but I truly don't see the added benefit for multi-region anymore unless you have a stack of region coded DVDs. Or you are a pron afficiado.. but that will change over the next few months as the industry takes up format (but not all as most industry leaders can not see the benefit for HD porn! LOL!) which will always be region free due to sale-ability.

Not a flame, but my perspective on the region thing.

@AC "Not exactly a hard target.."

What you are saying in your second paragraph would actually severely cripple Sony as it would hurt BR. Fact is, Sony needs to push BR around to every manufacturer possible - this gives the consortium a nice base for their intellectual property (licence). Most manufacturers will not take up the format until it is stable (very shortly)

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Dead Vulture

re:I won't be buying...

Your loss...

Funny how HD DVD supporters / Sony haters will more than happy cut their noses off to spite their faces...

I do noticed however you opted for LCD technology, so you obviously don't care that much about picture quality. I suspect a upscaling DVD player will be just fine.

Did you buy your LCD from ASDA/Morissons/Lidl or Aldi?

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@Ben Smith

Tend to agree about availability, but as a unit, the PS3 is not too shabby at upscaling SD DVD's....

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Sooty

PS3 upscales as good or better than most upscaling DVD players available. Now it also incorporates Mosquito noise reduction to reduce the visible compression artifacts present on some DVD presentations. Making it even better.

Not sure what you think is so special about Toshiba's upscaling, there is nothing inherent in Toshiba's upscaling players that's particularly special or unique (nor in Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Mitsubishi, LG, Sharp, Samsung, Philips, etc...).

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Gates Horns

re: Where are the films (worth watching) ?

Dunno what your viewing choices are, but I onyl buy the pick of the crop, and found that there are plenty of decent releases (I have about 20 BD movies).

I also find that stores only seem to hold stock of a limited selection, so to get the full range, keep and eye on Amazon UK, or Play.com

There is also a vast selection of titles you can import from the states, but watch out, a small number contain region protection (it's about 20% that do). There are a number of websites that list the region-free releases.

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Go

Quite a few BDs are region free anyway...

I have a PS3, mainly for games and DVDs but I have recently purchased the Blade Runner 5 Disc Collectors Edition from Amazon in the US which plays very nicely on my UK purchased PS3. There is a website that lists the region free BDs somewhere, hence my purchase...

You don't need a region free player if the discs you buy are not region coded...

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Sony behind in technology support

Sony may want a bigger slice of the market, but until their products offer premium features for the premium price they charge, competitors will put a serious dent in that forecast. Slow startup times and no support for the Blu-Ray extras on their standalone players isn't an incentive to buy....

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Not worth the effort

The fallout from the HD wars has left me a little concerned that any new kit, especially from Sony, is likely to have the SD data degraded a little "just to push the consumer along". I've already seen this in action in an an-store demo -- I'm used to upconverted DVDs and this demo was 'fuzzed' slightly to show off how much better the HD picture looks.

I don't like region coding and other restrictions. There's more to life than Hollywood's products.

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Lack of content on BluRay?

Say what now?

What is it with people? Are you the same folks that bleat on and on about PSP not having enough games? Or perhaps you're the ones still bashing on about how PS3 doesn't have any games?

Do you get out much? Do you even go to the major online retailers? What the hell are you smoking?

Just as PSP has a huge variety of titles available for it. PS3 of course has all the major multi-platform titles and a great crop of exclusives that's growing rapidly this year.

BluRay, no films? Really? I mean, Amazon has hundreds and hundreds of titles available. Do you mean that BluRay doesn't have as many titles available as DVD? Is that a surprise? Just as VHS had zillions more titles than DVD a couple of years into DVDs life, DVD has far more titles than BluRay just a couple of years into BluRay's life. That said, there is a great choice of new and old titles on BluRay that grows with every week. As someone else mentioned, there is a growing trend of simultaneous release with DVD. You speak as though the introduction of a new format brings an instantaneous release of all existing titles in the new format.

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@Highlander

Agree with you 100%. The quips on the PS(3|P) game library look silly today, and have looked silly for a while now. And comparing DVDs to BRs for library size is pointless.

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J
IT Angle

Maybe...

For me, forget the price of the players and disks. When the prices of HD TV sets fall (quite a bit), then maybe I'll get a BR thingie... I still have a CRT, mind you. Expensive TVs: no HD for me.

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Joke

@Highlander

"That said, there is a great choice of new and old titles on BluRay that grows with every week. As someone else mentioned, there is a growing trend of simultaneous release with DVD."

According to Amazon, there are 362 new titles being released this week.

Guess how many of them will be available in BluRay? 7!

5 of them are Region 1 only! (Some of those are also available in Region 2 as well, but that simply means that European users are going to be gouged again).

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=br_nf_2_more?_encoding=UTF8&field-releasedate=1y-7y&node=130

There are 30 BluRay titles scheduled for release on Amazon.com in April. Out of over 1600 releases this month.

Of the 2,348 titles that Amazon shows as scheduled for release after April 29th, 57 will be BluRay.

I think the icon is self explanatory - if you bought a PS3 to play High-Def movies, the joke's on you!

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Blu-Ray market share

There will be no major market share changes unless the Chinese disks producers are in on the act. For now, they are staying away from the HD battle zone. When the dust has settled and Sony is willing to negotiate for a reasonable royalties with the Chinese, the disks price will stay prohibitively high and, thus, crippling sales.

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Boffin

@I'm with you AC

> Or you are a pron afficiado..

Porn is not the reason for others. I'm a purist and prefer my movies to come in the original language they were filmed in, and without censorship.

Also, someone care to explain to me why movies are released in both Pan-and-scan and widescreen in one region (which coincidently isn't the one I'm in) but pan-and-scan only in another?

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Happy

BluRay - The Ultimate Pirate Master Format

Chances are, if you think you need better quality than standard definition DVD, then you're probably more than capable of downloading a film from the Internet.

For those of us that are honest and all that, there's Amazon Unbox, AppleTV, etc... High definition is getting better in these formats all the time. In fact, given the nature of the Internet, it will not be long before Internet HD formats are delivered at higher bitrates than BluRay. What's better is, there's no required CODECs, with H.265 being planned now, we'll have the technology as soon as the open source world implements the ideas presented by the committees. This is a year or two.

So, why would I want to spend $500 on a player and $30 a disc when within a year or two, I'll get much higher quality from the Internet?

Oh.. that's right, the not-so-honest of us love Bluray since it's cracked and it's the perfect format to use as a master for creating REALLY high quality downloadable films on bittorrent. That's right, now you can download films in 1080p from illegitimate sources. All brought to us by Sony!

Thank you Sony!

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Happy

@Martin Usher

Most of the fuzziness you see in the store is down to the fact that they use substandard hdmi cables and a splitter.

I use my PS3 (apart from the brilliant games), to watch upscaled DVDs and Blu-ray movies and with a decent hdmi cable it's fine. Granted it does help that it's on a 1080p HD tv...

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Actually Joker AC...

... you are kinda taking the piss out yourself.

Now before we get into it, I accept that I don't have the Amazon figures from the time to back me up but what I do have is a lot of experience as a film buyer all through the VHS format, the transition to DVD and the current DVD to BR move. I also worked as department deputy at a HMV superstore for five years too during the VHS to DVD period....

DVD was on sale in this country for 18 months and at the end of that time the shelf space it took up in shops was often little more than one side of stand alone display racks. HMV superstores had in stock IN STORE about 1400 VHS titles at the time but usually no more than 125 listed DVD titles. Half of which weren't even in stock or on the shelves. Those that were out were the usual format launch titles (funnily enough seen again on BR and HDDVD), and the only titles dribbling out onto DVD were the absolute mainstream blockbusters from the time that could assure studios a return on their money (£25+ a time as well to all the moaners about BR disc costs). It was only once player sales reached critical mass in the US and Japan, triggering price drops in the second generation players and larger take up across PAL territories, did the variety of launch titles suddenly increase and studio revenue from the format became more guaranteed.

But VHS format releases carried on in substantial numbers for many years. You do know don't you it has only been 3 years since many major media and supermarket retailers OFFICIALLY stopped purchasing VHS? It took nearly four years for in shop stocks of DVD's to exceed VHS stocks.

The format war between HD-DVD and BR has done nothing but harm to the release schedules of both formats, so whilst it is a pretty extreme figure you quote AC (and correct no doubt), it is omitting some VERY key factors about current circumstances. As well as having no clue whatsoever about consumerism, consumer demand, stock hedging analysis shops do, no clue about history and previous format changes or how the studios behaved at the time with a new format. Just like a lot of people who post about the BR situation.

You are comparing one format release schedule to another when one format is in a prolonged maturity stage and another in its absolute infancy of consumer awareness. Just like VHS-DVD at the time, and just as then it is a very spurious statistical comparison you are making to do that. Especially given the other mitigating factors as well up until recently. It'd be the same if HD-DVD had won. It would run out of steam for a bit until Warner, Sony, Fox and all the other BR consortium studios began releasing on HD-DVD.

I'd actually argue that those people that bought a PS3 as a BR player are sitting very very pretty. Free updates from Sony to improve functionality, cheap (by comparison to other BR players at the time), entry into the BR market, owning a player on the winning side and a disc media that has seen an overall 6-9% drop in shelf price in the last two weeks. Laugh all you want at those with the cash to early adopt PS3's, they have the right to be smug when comments like this are made.

The joke is on those that paid a good price for a standalone HD-DVD player and a shit load of discs over the last year. I'm part of that group of people but I know what's what and accept that early adopting comes with a risk of getting stung. No need to be bitter about it. Unless of course you spent all your pocket money from Mom and Dad. In which case it is colouring books for Christmas for the next 15 years.

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Flame

Bollocks as usual

As is so common people spouting what their mate Dave told them in the pub as fact...

LCD not good technology, TV's from Lidl being poor, non region free BR players, poor upscaling from the PS3, never buying discs until they're under $10...

Do none of you read other sites, or do any research? You've been able to get region free Sony BR players for around 6 months if you look in the right places, they may not be as cheap as the normal ones and are presently only Profile 1.0 (sufficient for me in all honesty) but gets round the region coding issues.... Plasma TV's do offer great pictures and probably do just pip LCD in some areas, but they're not for everyone... a decent LCD can give a performance on a par with a decent Plasma, usually for significantly less cash too.... try using your Plasma TV in a room with loads of natural light, being able to see the picture is the first advantage of a good quality picture. Sony, Samsung and Panasonic are making LCD's now that only really lose out to the real high end Plasma panels from the likes of Pioneer, even the black levels and motion handling are nearly as good.

Discs for less than $10, guess you'll be waiting a while, there is a cost involved with production, the hugely complex menu system for BD Java, high pressing costs (no longer subsidised by Sony) etc.... you're clearly not a "huge film fan" if you're not prepared to spend more than the average joe on something you love... i bet you're the kind of guy who whinged like a baby when HD went under as you were robbed, screwed over etc?

Presently if you want a decent BR player for sensible money buy a PS3 or a Panasonic BD30... if you've got more cash to burn look at Marantz or Denon... if you're patient wait for the Panasonic BD50 or the Sony S550. All depends on if you want/need HD audio (you're mad not to but a £500 surround sound system from Currys isn't going to portray the subtle nuances of lossless audio) and how you can get it to your system... downmixed from a PS3 via optical is enough for most, but if you can use HDMI to a proper amp then great, you may even need 5.1 analogue outputs.... do some research before whinging on here for christs sake!!!

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bob

re:re:I won't be buying...

Ouch!! you shop snob.

I bet you get your food shopping from Harrods because Sainsburys is just too common for you.

I'll bet you bought a PS3 because it was a "cheap" Bluray player though ;)

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Flame

re:re:I won't be buying...

No, I buy my groceries from Morissons, but I would never buy a television from there.

All supermarket TV's are shit. Sorry, that's fact.

Most LCD's are pretty shit too. With only the top end sets coming anywhere near a plasma, so you may as well just get a plasma, and not suffer the motion blur, dead pixel issues, view angle headaches.

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Anonymous Coward

@Monkey

You might want to read what I wrote (including the link to the Amazon figures).

I was simply pointing out that the BluRay fanboys who claim that there's loads of material on Bluray are talking through their rear ends. The history of the changeover from VHS to DVD is irrelevant to the point that I was making, which is that _today_, and for the foreseeable future, anyone who enjoys watching films at home will be watching far more DVDs than BluRay discs. And for the next 2 to 3 years the ratio won't be 2 to 1, it'll be 10 to 1.

Sony are welcome to their 50% share of a pretty paltry market. The consumer could see the advantage of upgrading from VHS to DVD. It's not at all clear that the consumer will see the benefits of BlueRay over upscaled DVD, when Bluray costs twice as much. Most of the fanboys have already spent their money, the only question now is whether there are enough people who can be confused by the advertising to grow the market.

(If I wanted to argue about the VHS to DVD changeover, I'd have pointed out that very few people _replaced_ their VHS gear with DVD, because VHS was still needed for recording TV. People started to add DVD players to their setup only when there was enough content available _for rental_, and it was obvious that DVD was better than VHS for that purpose. BluRay doesn't have the same degree of improvement).

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AC

Now_that_ is a _much_ better point you make, _despite_ the slightly _off_putting_ underscores....

But it isn't the point you made originally. What you did was just stick the knife in the PS3 and the owners and used the BR release figures over a short period to do so without the commentary you have since added only after someone pointed out a few holes in the way you represented the figures.

Your follow up comment is totally true and a very good set of points, but still gives no actual weight to your "jokes on you" shitty comments about the PS3. I'm no hippy don't get me wrong and love a good slanging match, but I felt your comment was... well.... _bollocks_. If you've got a PS3 for movie watching you will be sitting pretty as the format expands.

I raked up VHS because at the same point in the format change over and shelf life of DVD as BR is at now, DVD titles were almost as thin on the ground in the high street and release schedules, and it was only Amazon that had the big range. But DVD went BOOM eventually. There are parallels with BR as it stands at the moment from this historical point of view. That was my point if you'd read it a few times.

Your quoting of pending release figures and the ever so slight way you twisted them to suit the argument was wrong. You did a Bush and Rumsfeld and ignored some other key facts behind it all. Those facts and parallels with the previous format change over are what I pointed out.

What I DO completely agree with you about is that the speed of take up of HD is going to be a much, much slower process and that indeed, Sony will likely have 50% of not much for quite some time. But in terms of watching BR discs, there are plenty about if you look about (as you had to with DVD at first), there are plenty slated for release with dates set and the cheapest and most practical way to watch them is going to be on a PS3.

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BD

i still use 2 crt TVs.i but a 100 pack of DVDs for $20.00.Untill BDs are the same price Sony can stick it where the sun don't shine.The other problem is the cost of HD TVs.Until they come down to something i can afford they're out too.

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