Tampa Blu-rays

Sometimes I get carried away with leaving a comment somewhere and it turns into a short blog post. Since I now have my own bloggy blog, I can blog it and let a pingback handle the comment for me. This way I can also add a clever title. Actually, I just think I am clever. Maybe you don’t know that Tampa is always a bottom feeder because they don’t draft pitching. Sony is going to become a bottom feeder because they are bundling. Perhaps I should get to the point…

Ed posted a quick Aside about the PS3 and I started going off with a comment. In fact, this is the second time today because I already did so in an e-mail exchange with him earlier today. Anyway, I understand companies need to make their money and they need a marquee product to spotlight their company. I don’t know that it has ever been more evident what this can do for a company than with the case of the iPod saving Apple’s bacon. Sure, the iMac saved it from the brink of destruction over a handful of years ago, but the iPod made it a relevant company brand again.

Since Sony’s previously profitable Walkman business was wiped out by the iPod, they are in search of their next front-line product and it appears Blu-ray is it. However, Sony is seriously screwing the pooch with this. They are trying to force the adoption of the Blu-ray format even though there is the competing HD DVD format, supported by Microsoft and Intel among others.

First off, both camps are stupid (remember BetaMax/VHS?), but Sony especially so because the mainstream will hold off until there is a standard. Their strategy seems to be to try and sneak these things into people’s houses with a low price for PS3, comparatively speaking considering a standalone Blu-ray player costs $1000.

However, MS can easily do the same thing for HD DVD with their add-on for 360 and oh, if HD DVD loses, they just start selling a Blu-ray add-on instead. Plus, they have a head start on this generation console race, are cheaper and will likely get even more so when PS3 launches. They are saving money up front (if either console were to turn a profit in its first few years, they’d need to sell it at double the price) instead of trying to force the format they support. It’s a smart strategy and if their horse loses, they easily back the other.

Of course, don’t be naïve that MS isn’t going to try and get you to adopt HD DVD. As I said, they’ll probably be putting out an add-on for the 360 before there is a standard. They have also announced they’ll support HD DVD with the next version of Windows known as Vista. They will not natively support Blu-ray on Vista, but they will not stop third-parties from supporting it. My guess is they’ll handle it the same as the 360 and natively support only if HD DVD loses the war.

Anyway, these next-gen DVD formats are useless without an HDTV because you can’t tell the difference between the DVD and a next-gen DVD on a standard TV. The only thing you may notice is that a multi-disc package becomes a single disc package for those directors that love to load on the extras that I personally never watch.

Most folks won’t be upgrading to an HDTV for another 3 years when they are cheaper and analog broadcasting ceases. Rather than buy a little box that will decode the digital signal and convert to analog for a standard TV, you’ll likely buy a new set.

Sony should have skipped Blu-ray for their PS3 launch and gotten their system out instead of giving the 360 a good start. PS3 may still win out overall, but I won’t be buying one for a long, long time. Maybe before the next, next-gen is ready and the price has dropped to $150 or so. Then I can play Metal Gear Solid 4, unless it comes out for the 360, or any other *must-play* exclusives.

BTW – I hope Apple is working on an iPod mobile phone because the Sony Walkman mobile phones are pretty good from what I hear. Convergence is where it is at and it won’t be much longer before our phone is holding our 100 gig of music instead of a digital music player like the iPod.