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Why Blu-Ray is still doomed!

Posted by Matthew Greensmith at 12:09 AM on June 11, 2009

bluraylogoI know there are some good things about Blu-Ray, and have been impressed by the quality I have seen on Blu-Ray movies on a friends PS3.  Those of us skilled at pattern recognition will continue to avoid this doomed platform though.

With the recent announcement that Sony has dropped the UMD standard on the new release of the Playstation Portable (the PSP Go) we get to see yet another example of my oft repeated advice.

Never invest in a Sony controlled data storage medium!

Sony have tried to play in various storage markets before with completely Sony owned technology, and I cannot think of a single one where they eventually triumphed even when they started out technically superior.  To be fair to Sony I do not think they have specifically been bad at maintaining their technology it is simply harder for proprietary technology to keep up with open standards.  This is exagerated when you are working in an OEM environment where your customers are highly motivated to break your monopoly.

Sony used to be able to artificially extend their technologies by having really good equipment and bundling the technology in.  Now with Sony no longer having a quality edge on most of their conpetition it is harder to do.

Beta tape was much better than VHS but eventually was overtaken and disappeared.

DAT (Digital Audio Tape) was an alternative to CD’s which hung around for a long time in professional music circles but never took off in the consumer market.

AIT was a successor to DAT designed for the low end data backup market.  Despite being late to market it was making inroads on the similarly closed source DLT.  Then DLT was open sourced and wiped AIT out.

Minidisc never really made it outside of the Sony umbrella, and very little music was actually released on the format.  Once the other MP3 players moved from CD to hard drive or solid state minidisc died a quick death.

MemoryStick only survives by being the only option on many Sony products.  No other manufacturer uses the product and it is behind in capacity and more expensive.

The dark plastic “CDs” that PS1 games used to come on that even the PS2 struggled to read and ended life before the platform it was designed for.

Now UMD joins the pile of Sony data platforms defunct much quicker than any comparable open standard.  If you have bought content on a specific medium, I think it is reasonable to expect that you will be able to buy a new player for that content for at least the next decade, and that the cost of those players would go down over time.  This has generally be possible with any other standard in the past, but almost never with a Sony platform.

6 Comments

  1. From Tyler at 4:20 am on June 11, 2009

    Same old anti Blu-ray propaganda that has been floating around since before Blu-ray even came to market back in June 2006.

    And it is “Blu-ray” Not “Blu-Ray”

  2. From Matthew Greensmith at 6:04 am on June 11, 2009

    Propaganda?!?

    Methinks the man whose site (which is apparently his income source) has greater than 80 Blu-ray references (many of them syndicate links) should spend some time in the room of mirrors before accusing the blogger with no financial ties to any HD video format of spreading propaganda.

    Thanks for providing the site with its recommended daily intake of irony.

    Seriously though, I wish your beloved format all the success it can attain. It is surely a great technology, but my pattern recognition gene tells me Sony will find some way to hose it. If 5 years from now it is still a vibrant technology I will call you a genius and buy you a beer.

    BTW, if you are that concerned over the B’s your beef is with the WordPress spellchecker not I. Just count yourself lucky I stopped it adding an e.

  3. From Michael Anderson at 9:16 am on June 11, 2009

    When I got my launch-day PSP, I never really even watched the pack0-in Spiderman movie. I was going to be on a business trip later that year and thought about getting Tron, but at $25? No thanks. I saw UMD as a major failure from the start – slow reads, noisy as heck, and a fragile system with exposed media area.

    The only upside is taht I am now grabbing loads of stuff really cheap on UMD, and have a video cable perma-wired to one of the inputs on our TV.

    For me Blu-ray is just too little of an upgrade to warrant all of the added cost. Upscaled DVD’s look great on our big screen, and we do loads of Netflix streaming anyway. Why do we want to pay hundreds for a new media player, then extra cash for every movie we want to buy or rent as well as an add-on charge for Netflix …

  4. From Number9ark at 1:27 am on June 12, 2009

    Blu ray is to little to late . Not enough of a upgrade to warrent the move into it . Michael anderson is 100% correct netflix streaming is amazing and the upscaling dvd looks amazing also Im fine with what I have I’ll pass on blu-ray .

  5. From YukiEiri at 5:55 am on June 12, 2009

    I actually owned a mini-disc player at one point. Cute little square. I remember my computer crashed and I had to reinstall everything. Because of the proprietary Sony security on the music, the only way I could get it back on my computer from the mini-discs was to manually play them and record them into the computer. WHAT A COLOSSAL PAIN! That was the end of ANY kind of Sony storage for me!

  6. From Seth at 6:15 am on June 16, 2009

    The Blu-ray standard is operated by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) an industry consortium that develops and licenses Blu-ray Disc technology and is responsible for establishing format standards and promoting business opportunities for Blu-ray Disc.

    It’s not Sony owned and operated.

    That said I agree the improvement over DVD on sub 40″ screen is hard to see and the audio improvements slight.

    The up-scaling technology has got better (and cheaper) as has the software in screens so that artefacts seen on older screens have gone.

    LED backlighting and other technology advancements are improving image quality (e.g. contrast) on both upscales SD and HD content.

    So on one side we have cheaper compute power improving SD upscaling, extending the viable life of DVD. Not to mension cheap media etc, on the other cheaper internet with fat pipes makes downloading an option.

    Sony and Blue-ray have a far from certain road ahead, but there is a market for content you own shelfware, and if they keep prices low it might be viable.