back to article Sony chews the Blu-ray fat with Microsoft

Sony has confirmed that it's in talks with Microsoft about supporting Blu-ray Disc. Apparently, it has also been chatting to Apple, even though the Mac maker is already a Blu-ray Disc backer. The Japanese electronics giant’s US president, Stan Glasgow, told the Financial Times this week that Sony is talking to both companies. …

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  1. Jason Aspinall
    Thumb Up

    Hmmm

    Does this mean we may eventually get a port of Halo3 for the PS3?

  2. Steve Barnes

    Price

    I gotta say, it doesn't bother me as I have my PS3, but we'll need to see Blu-Ray players at $200/£100 before the end of 2009 before they come mainstream. As it's the Asda-esque DVD Players that are most popular these days, and such budget prices that made DVD players a lot more common.

  3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Player costs?

    I will only think about a blu-ray palyer if the disks are down to the £15 for new release and £5 for 6 month old that current DVDs seem to be.

  4. Mark
    Gates Horns

    Sony got it right with the PS3 it seems.

    With Microsoft now adding Blu-ray, and forcing gamers to buy HDD's (Burnout paradise, no online without HDD, GTA IV, no DLC without HDD), and more titles coming.

    Surely the PS3 strategy was the right one, delay it, fit all the things needed, and get it RELIABLE..

  5. Greg

    Here we go!

    Finally, we're at a point where all the big companies are forming up behind one format. It won't be long before economies of scale kick in. Excellent. MS and Apple are deluding themselves with digital downloads - it's a nice nirvana, but it won't happen for a while yet. In the meantime, roll on the Blu-Ray!

  6. Frank Bough
    Unhappy

    Apple

    ...are currently doing their best to hobble Blu-Ray by neither offering BD drives in their machines nor - much more importantly - supporting the creation of Blu-Ray discs in DVD Studio Pro.

    The time is not yet right for downloads, let's see some Blu-Ray authoring actio from Apple at last.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ok but please make the bluray add-on also play hd-dvd.

    I was an early adopter of HD-DVD (and still prefer it) and have a fair number of discs. I do hope that Microsoft and Toshiba include HD-DVD compatibiliy into their BluRay offerings but I fear it unlikely.

  8. Monkey

    Let's face it...

    ....Microsoft does exactly what it wants in order to make money, or stop others from making money. I still say the reason why they backed HD-DVD was to do nothing and eliminate one of the competitors for their HD movie download service.

    Sony will be talking BR disk add on in order to make money for themselves and other BR members, but I bet MS won't do a 360 with BR onboard purely so as not to offer consumers something that will compete TOO directly with their online service.

    As for Halo 3, most the people who want to buy and play it have already bought the 360 to do so. I'd be very surprised if a PS3 port would actually be worth the money or the dent in Sony's credibility for so explicitly getting into bed with MS just to get hold of one game license.

  9. Iain

    @AC

    Yes, a dual-format add-on drive that means I don't need to make room for a third component next to my 360 and HD-DVD drive would be nice. LG already have dual-format readers for not much more than Blu-only ones, so it's feasible.

    We don't know for sure that they were talking about 360 stuff at all, though. Apparently, Microsoft make this OS for PCs that has Blu support. Perhaps someone has heard of it?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Timing

    I'm sure Sony will let Microsoft produce an add-on blu-ray drive for the 360, and most likely it will be delayed just enough that Sony can reap the dual rewards of the PS3 having a blu-ray drive built in, and the poor reliability of the 360 - i.e. let's say 6-9 months after the 3 year warranty expires, so even the owners who were happy to keep replacing their 360s finally reach a point where they have a dead console and have to pay to replace it.

    Once the maximum number of 360 owners have switched to PS3, Sony will finally let Microsoft produce a blu-ray drive for the rest.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Steven H Taylor
    Gates Halo

    More topics

    What else they could be discussing? Well, inclusion of iHD, for instance. Though I doubt Sony would, some sources claim this. http://www.newsarcs.com/cda/story.php?article_id=1051

  13. Chris

    I can't see

    downloadable media *ever* competing with the 25-50Gb capacities of Blu-Ray. Not in this country at any rate... 50Gb @ 4Mbps anyone??

  14. David

    @Iain

    I think it's pretty unlikely that they will increase costs of a Blu-ray unit, just to incorporate playing of a now obselete standard that was only adopted by a minority!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Sony paying BT...

    ...to keep the infrastructure in the UK in such a dire state (even after 21CN is delivered) that it'll be at least 2030 before we can stream live 1080p feeds.

    While in Korea, Japan, most of the US and even major cities in India/China they will be capable of this inside a decade.

    Perhaps Microsoft can build the UK's new infrastructure if they like this model so much.

  16. Iain

    @Chris

    You know that downloadable HD won't look or sound as good as BluRay. I do, too. But when at least half the country seem to think that Freeview is already HD because it looks so nice on a 32" 768p LCD screen, and that upscaled DVD is 'good enough', the performance increase over a 5-10Gb H.264 file probably isn't going to be big enough to persuade them to shell out £15+ to get the best quality available.

    On the other hand, is that really such a disaster? Blu is already on course to do better than Laserdisc, and as someone with some lovely Criterions still at home I'd be happy with that.

  17. Dave Cumming
    Stop

    Sony strategy

    "Surely the PS3 strategy was the right one, delay it, fit all the things needed, and get it RELIABLE.."

    how can a strategy thats left them scrabbling for sales and being so far behind Nintendo and Microsoft that they'll be on to their next gen of consoles before Sony even gets close to catching up and a strategy thats meant they've sold EVERY PS3 at a loss be a "right" strategy?

    Also the fact that PS3 owners want Halo 3 should tell you something, there isn't a single PS3 game I can think of worth having that I can't get for the 360. Sony will still be trying to claw back their money from the PS3 a year after Microsoft release the 720 (or whatever they call it in the end).

    Sony got putting Blu in the boxes right in terms of getting Blu off the ground but it destroyed them in terms of the actual games console market. Its yet to be seen if in the long term Bluray sales make up for the mess that is PS3.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not going to work...

    Online downloads for movies aren't going to work for a very long time in the UK, at least not while all our ISPS thorottle our download limits impose ridiculous monthly download limits, and monitor every thing we download... as AC above me said 50gb @ 4Mbps is not quick... admitadly the HD Movies (there are only a few) That are currently aviaible to buy via XboX Live, are 4.91 GB still gunna take u a good while to download... oh and you can only watch it once! GG MS!

  19. Waldo

    Not going to work? --- I think you might be wrong there

    If you pay a lame ISP peanuts and get 3Gb a month ( unlimited access- righhht) then no it wont work.

    BUT- allegedly ;-) with x264 DVD size backups are starting to swamp Newsgroups Newshosts that are SSL too.

    So where is the capacity issue?

    Where is the size issue?

    Where is the the monitoring downloads issue?

    Blue ray - the first consumer led choice in AV history ...phhffssss

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Capacity" <> actual useful data

    "downloadable media *ever* competing with the 25-50Gb capacities of Blu-Ray. Not in this country at any rate"

    Nobody is ever going to put 50G of "movie" onto a BRD. A lot of the data is "extras" that you probably wouldn't pay to download anyway!

    The actual "movie" content that you'd pay to download is only going to be 4GB-10GB. It's still a lot, but it's already in reach for some people.

  21. Ross Fleming
    Paris Hilton

    Integrate a BD drive? Why?

    There's two options (as mentioned by the article)

    1 - Develop an add-on BD drive, similar to the existing HD-DVD one

    2 - Integrate a BD drive into the XBox 360.1

    I think it's unlikely. The take up for the HD-DVD drive wasn't huge and they can't/won't develop a line of games that require one of the HD formats - simply because it never works when you split the product line in two (want to play this game? You need this version of the XBox. Think of the Sega Megadrive with MegaCD or 32X!).

    As for the the integrated offer - by the time they do it, BD players will likely be a commodity item available in your nearest Tesco for <£100. The need will be gone. I don't for a second think that this means that either Sony of MS will "win" the console war. There will never be a winner

    As for the dreams of a hybrid BD/HD-DVD drive, please dream on and accept HD-DVD has gone the way of the Betamax. You gambled, you lost.

    @Chris - "ever" is a strong word? 5 years ago I didn't think 16MB/sec was realistic over copper and I should be happy with 512KB/sec. But I've got it now.

  22. Michael J Evans

    Laserdiscs anybody?

    I used to be an early adopter. £400 for dvd player, £4000 for 42in plasma, £300 for dvd burner and plenty more besides. Not any more. The £3000's worth of laserdiscs at £30+ each boxed up in a cupboard will stop me touching anything to do with BR at their current prices for a long while to come.

    Mike E

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Downloads in the UK can work easily

    Not very many people actually have HD TVs in this country you know. SD (or 720p) will be more than adequate for them and SD downloads are not very big (in relative terms). Hell, if downloads weren't going to be successful, the (streaming) BBC iPlayer would have been a massive failure.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Downloads in the UK can work easily

    "Hell, if downloads weren't going to be successful, the (streaming) BBC iPlayer would have been a massive failure."

    It's not a success yet, neither is Joost.

    The article was about BluRay versus download, not DVD. I agree you can stream / download low quality content. Microsoft might as well stick to including a standard DVD drive if you want that comparison. They make the case for downloads and therefore a lack of need for HD media and there is not the bandwidth for that just yet nor will there be for a few decades...

  25. Mectron
    Flame

    Everybody is forgetting one important things

    BD is from Sony and Sony is a court proven criminal cartel that should be avoided at all cost. I will never buy a BD device of any kind. Buying one is encouraging organise crime. Beside i iive in a place with ultra high speed internet and d/L a 10 GB files is pretty common.

    Game Over Sony

    Sony a bright past:

    Root Kit, Virus, Price fixing, Exploding Battery

    and a Promissing Future

    Built Spyware in PSP/PS3, New BD profile every month, More restrictive and illegal DRM, planete wide extrosion (BD Roylties). Price fixing of BD player

  26. Martin Usher

    Never say never

    We're being offered FIOS in our city at the moment. This is Fiber Optic to the home and in addition to being the best vehicle for HDTV distribution -- it beats both cable and satellite according to a recent "Consumer Reports" survey -- it offers phone service and 5MBits/sec Internet access rates. (Consumer Reports is the US version of Which? BTW)

    IPTV -- TV over the 'net -- isn't like cable, you don't get multiple video streams sent to you, just the one you selected (although you also get low rate feeds of other channels so that when channel flipping it appears like regular cable TV). The selection is made upstream so its trivial to add movies to the choice of streams -- video on demand.

    We already have movie downloads on demand in the US through a number of routes including TiVo. TiVo is interesting because it seamlessly integrates live, recorded and downloaded content.

    "Never say never" -- downloads of HDTV content are a fact and given the rate its developing it may even be widely available before an economically priced BluRay player.

  27. Paul Parkinson
    Stop

    Why do all the haters insist that Sony owns Bluray?

    There have been bigger fish than Sony in the Blu pond since the beginning...

    Apple Computer, Inc.

    Dell Inc.

    Hewlett Packard Company

    Hitachi, Ltd.

    LG Electronics Inc.

    Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic and Technics for us westerners)

    Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

    Pioneer Corporation

    Royal Philips Electronics

    Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

    Sharp Corporation

    Sony Corporation

    Sun Microsystems, Inc.

    TDK Corporation

    Thomson Multimedia

    Twentieth Century Fox

    Walt Disney Pictures

    Warner Bros. Entertainment

    to pick one semi-randomly; LG are the largest manufacturer of flat-screen displays in the world (Plasma, they partner with Philips for LCD manufacture) - if you have a TFT monitor or Plasma/LCD TV, no matter who it's made by, it likely has one of their panels in it.

    OK, so Sony has a bad track record for some things, but don't most large corporations? (Intel, Microsoft, Apple to name but 3)

    Reference: http://www.blu-ray.com/faq/#bluray_developers

  28. J
    Alert

    Re: Player costs?

    "I will only think about a blu-ray palyer if the disks are down to the £15 for new release and £5 for 6 month old that current DVDs seem to be."

    You Brits getting ripped off as usual, I see. Here in the US most Blu-Ray (and the remaining HD-DVD) disks I've seen are sold for $25-$30, which is not so much more than newly released DVDs are sold for here, by the way ($15-$20 depending on title).

  29. matthew bennion
    Thumb Down

    Why do I need blu ray?

    I have a 28 inch flat screen CRT, can someone please explain to me why I'd want to buy blu-ray to increase the resolution when I can barely see the difference...

    Large Cheap TFT screens here in the UK are still cr*p and generally have poor colour depth, etc I was foolish enough to buy one and I pretty much took it straight. If I wanted to see the benefit of blu-ray properly I'd have to splash out 1000 quid plus on a decent screen to notice!

    It p*sses me off that I'm slowly being forced into a format that makes bugger all difference to me! And will no doubt force me into slowly repurchasing every DVD I own as standard DVD backwards compatibility in blu-ray players becomes mysteriously dropped with an excuse over “production” and “component costs”.

    I don't give a rats bum hole if I'll get a crisper image with blu-ray....DVD does the job just fine!

  30. tim

    Funny, I thought HD DVD would take off

    The problem I've always had with the war of the format is that it's all down to which studio is behind the format and what gets released. I suppose all that need to happen is the same old deal as what happened in the VHS/Beta war - porn needs to pick a format and use it, and then rest of the industry will just have to use it. I have a PS3 but I didn't buy it for HD movies - so it's higher quality picture. Whoop de doo. It's still the same old suckful Adam Sandler movie, and nothings going to change that.

  31. Monkey

    Who the hell said DVD backwards compatibility was going to be dropped?

    Matthew if you think the BR manufacturers in the whole of that list posted by Paul are going to drop standard DVD playback then you have bought into the bullshit of the doom mongers. DVD was the single biggest change in the consumer home video format in 40 years of common TV ownership, shifting everyone from analogue to digital. BR doesn't have the installed user base to upset the DVD apple cart and won't do for probably 2-3 years. There is no way either standard DVD will be dropped or have production reduced for at minimum, six years. For those BR consortia members, you have to remember DVD is their bread and butter and their main source of steady cash flow.

    So where on earth have you gotten the notion that they will drop DVD playback from BR players?! What an absurd notion.

  32. Scott Mckenzie

    @Matthew

    You don't need to spend £1000 to get a top notch HDTV, try a Samsung LE40M87BDX for £699, 40" screen, Full 1080p, excellent black levels, very good motion handling and makes BR and HD look simply stunning.

    As for downloads, yes you can download an x264 rip of a HD DVD and it does look excellent, but to me the physical medium is still preferable and the considerably higher quality audio available with HD and BR is as important as the PQ... you don't get TrueHD, or even DD+ on an x264 rip yet.....

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @Dave Cumming

    I wondered how long it would take for the irrate xbox fanboi to turn up, plus I don't want to play Halo 3.

    As far as xbox vs PS3 sales go, xbox only outsells PS3 in UK and USA and is currently outsold by everyother format in Japan.

  34. Monkey

    Yeah Tim is back!!

    Nice to see Tim back making the usual totally off the point, random and ill conceived comment. Of course the BR back catalogue is lacking some key interesting titles because many are tied up in HD-DVD exclusivity for the moment. But as happened with DVD, the mass market mainstream releases come out first to get the sales, THEN the back catalogues get released once the costs can be offset against sales.

    A 'more interesting' back catalogue means fk all if you haven't got the volume of sales the moronic comedy films give you. HD-DVD was the absolute personification of that. Get over it, get some perspective and educate yourself about the lead time of manufactured goods and how profit and loss effects this. Because you still have no idea.

    Oh yeah, have you had the "welcome to the format" from anyone you were having a tantrum over?.......

    Oh and there are only three Adam Sandler films out on BR!

  35. PIB
    Paris Hilton

    @Dave Cumming

    You said:

    "...there isn't a single PS3 game I can think of worth having that I can't get for the 360."

    Oh really? So if I mention Metal Gear Solid 4, Gran Turismo and Little Big Planet, just off the top of my head, you wouldn't be interested?

    Not to mention the release of HOME (at last), which will wipe the floor of XBox Live.

    By the way. I own an XBox 360 too and hated Halo 3.

    Who are you kidding?

    (Paris because she'll want to star on HOME.)

  36. Iain

    @Waldo

    HD-DVD and BluRay both use(d) either H.264 for the even more efficient VC-1 codecs when creating 15-30Gb video files, even before you add audio.

    How, pray, do you suggest amateurs without access to dedicated hardware re-encode that lossy data to 4-8Gb including audio for those pirate downloads without losing any quality? It's plain impossible. You might still find the quality acceptable, but we don't all have such low standards.

  37. Tim
    Stop

    @Monkey

    Prat. Wrong Tim mate.

  38. Monkey

    Oh well

    But my point still stands

  39. Marco Alfarrobinha
    Coat

    @ AC PS3 fanboy, @ PIB

    "As far as xbox vs PS3 sales go, xbox only outsells PS3 in UK and USA and is currently outsold by everyother format in Japan."

    You said it yourself, mate, not bad going outselling the PS3 in the the two biggest gaming markets in the world. I'll a few quid that MS is worried but not losing any sleep about the Japan situation.

    "Not to mention the release of HOME (at last), which will wipe the floor of XBox Live."

    You are joking, aren't you?

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