Gearlog : Update: Happy Blu-Day! — Here’s a story that is getting picked up everywhere. I wonder how long it will be before Sony gets a clue that its credibility is on a steep slide downhill. This company is at risk and doesn’t seem to know it.

There were, of course, some more recent vintage products on display like the Sony VAIO XL2 Digital Living System but the true stars of last night’s event were Blu-ray, a new Blu-ray VAIO (the AR) and a near-pocket-sized “Micro PC,” the VAIO UX. The gorgeous, 17-inch laptop not only has a Blu-ray player, but the drive can even burn Blu-ray discs — a true first.

On one table Sony execs proudly displayed two ARs playing early Blu-ray content: The House of Flying Daggers (below). They even had the Blu-ray packaging. So exciting…but WAIT! I went ahead and ejected one of the Blu-ray drives to see my first Blu-ray disc. Instead, I found a crummy, old school DVD+R, complete with the Sharpie-written, House of Flying Daggers. Apparently even Sony can’t get its hands on Blu-ray content!

  1. Dojo says:

    What a bunch of idiot at Sony. They didn’t even use a Sony DVD+R. Man, are they ever going to get a Clue!?!?!

  2. SN says:

    This only proves what I’ve been saying all along. Both HD formats will fail because the vast majority of people won’t be able to distinguish between HD content on them and current content on DVDs.

    Audio CDs were better than LPs in that they were clearer, no pops, skips, or hum, and were much more portable. They fact that they were priced the same, and sometimes even less than LPs, made them the clear winner.

    The switch from VHS to DVD had similar themes. DVDs actually looked much better than VHS and they were small and portable.

    But the transition from DVD to HD-DVD and Blu-Ray will not be as easy. These are more like SACD and DVD-Audio. Sure those sounded better than CDs. But, for the vast majority of people, the extra fidelity simply didn’t matter. They cost more than CDs. And, what really killed them, they were MUCH less portable.

    Both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players are going to cost a lot more. (Considering you can get decent DVD player for 50 bucks, a HECK of a lot more.) The content is going to be a lot more. You need a TV costing 2000 grand and more to notice the difference in quality. Most people won’t even care about the higher quality, regardless. And you’ll still have to buy DVDs to take in the car for the kids or to use in your portable.

  3. John hit it on the head in the last TWIT. You can have HD content on a standard DVD disc. Hell the dual layers hold 8+ GB! If you have a PC (laptop or media centre etc) hooked up to your HD tv – it will even decode HD in real time. I’m doing it right now with a mac laptop and a pioneer HD plasma. Works great.

    What exactly is it these dumb asses are trying to pull on us!

    Sony lost me with their rootkits. And they don’t get a second chance.

  4. It might have been playing HD content. He didn’t say it was a DVD-Video, it might have been a DVD-R data disc in WMV-HD or something.

    I do agree that most people will not really see the difference. I have always been a 720p fan myself. I think the resolution increase is good enough for most people, and better than some can see, and its always progressive, even up to 60 fps, which is awesome for sports!

    An even bigger truth: how many HD sets can actually show 1080 lines? Many in the 40-50 inch range show about 768 pixles high. The 1080 is being downconverted to almost every home HD monitor out there. Plus LCD and plasma displays are inherently progressive, so all the rescaling and deinterlacing will incur some artifacts.

    Plus, because the broadcast bandwidth is always 19Mbps, 720p needs less compression at the same frame rate which should mean less artifacts. This is anopther reason I support 720p for broadcast use. HD-DVD/Blu Ray will exceed this bandwidth limitation so 1080 will look far better than broadcast HD.

    Much like NTSC wasn’t able to be seen at full spec until the late 90s, it wil be years before true 1080 HD sets will be common place.

  5. SN says:

    “An even bigger truth: how many HD sets can actually show 1080 lines?”

    Very very few. I’ve been shopping for a 42 to 46″ “HD”tv and it’s nearly impossible to find them at Amazon, NewEgg, Best Buy, etc. Sure, they’ll claim their widescreen TVs are “HD” but it’s a lie. Even the most expensive DLP “HD”tv NewEgg sells is only 1280×720! (RCA HD61THW263 61” for $4600!)

    Searching Amazon I find merely FOUR TVs capable of 1920 x 1080. Only friggin’ four out of hundreds of TVs!

  6. SN says:

    “Bill Gates must be laughing his head off.”

    Oh the irony. As you may remember, quite a while ago Microsoft got caught red handed displaying fake Xbox 360s while the game demos ran off of Apple G5 systems.

  7. Milo says:

    Agree with sn. To expand on that:

    I keep hearing one argument for these blue ray products is their storage. I can’t see that for the mainstream or even not-so-mainstream either. I have 2.5 Gig on my email account for free. That would store anything crucial and only the apocalypse would destroy it, so RAIDs would still be the critical system of choice. My experience with CDW*s is that they only work about half the time or less. How reliable is a new technology going to be when the old one it’s based on didn’t work either? If it’s like the old system, and it’s practically guaranteed to be, word will get out and even less people will buy it.

    If I want portable storage I can buy up to 8 Gig or more that I can carry on a keychain. It’s more reliable, faster, smaller and costs far less than buying a BR player and some disks. Oh yeah I’ve heard that USBs are supposed to fail after 3 billion accesses or something; nobody cares, even if they did that figure is most likely in reality on a par with BRs. By the time these guys actually have a product the price per memory unit of USB sticks will have dropped another 100% or more and capacity at least doubled. Blue Ray is screwed!

  8. SN says:

    “will eventually make all other removable non-disposable storage media obsolete.”

    I still think that tape-backups will stick around for a long time for high-end business backups. Who’s going to trust 50 gigs on what is essentially a huge CD-R. As Milo mentions, the life of CD-Rs and DVD-Rs are quite short and are completely unpredictable.

    For reliability, good old fashioned tapes will be with us for decades.

  9. Milo says:

    How much does anyone wanna bet that some of the BR guys (I include the other format which is also BR.) will try to regulate and sue their way into a market?

    Let’s see.. first off get the regulators to ban DVDs because of the threat of copyright violation. Second off, try to sue any retailers carrying DVD hardware or disks for the same reason.

    Also get the FCC to mandate that BR must be used with HD equipment. Do that along with some goofy interface that will only talk between the 2. Threaten to jail/sue anyone who opens the case or builds a converter. Ditto anyone who tries to fix the old stuff. Get the manufacture of replacement parts banned for the old stuff as well.

    Throw in something about child porn, maybe some health threat BS and that should do it!

    Doing business these days is so much easier compared to that old satisfying the customer crap!

  10. Randy says:

    John, this is a HOAX.

    It’s sad that so many blog-type news sites aren’t picking this up.

    The notebook on the right is playing the blu-ray disk, the one on the left is playing a DVD for comparison. The one on the left is the one the picture is from.

  11. Pete says:

    That’s awkward :S It’s not like JCD to get caught out like that…

    By the way, John already raised this on this week’s TWIT podcast and quite a reasonable discussion was had – worth a listen if you don’t subscribe yet.

    Anyways the arguments stand as far as I can see – this is a small step change, nothing like the jump from video to DVD, and I can’t emphasise enough that we have already seen a strategy JUST like this one fail, because a) no-one saw any real benefit in changing what they already had and b) the hardware was expensive, and the software in short suppliy i.e. SACD and DVD-Audio (what are they? you might ask…)

    This format change is what the manufacturers and film companies want, NOT what consumers want (at least not for the foreseeable future) whatever the fanboys might have you believe… I’m giong to keep my cash in my wallet for the moment thank you very much…

  12. Jeff says:

    The real question is whether Sony will sue itself for copying that movie?

  13. Jason Lennerth says:

    Blu-ray is a far superior technology. I hope hd dvd dies a quick painfull death. check my posts on under the forum section I am vick vega. Gotta love Tarantino

  14. Chris says:

    As mentioned in comment #13 this is a hoax.

    I’m not Sony’s biggest defender when it comes to their overpriced PS3 or their knock off of the Nintendo controller, but I think this really deserves an update since this entry contains false information.

  15. Hopping Bunny says:

    Technologically-advanced/exclusive products: Betamax, Memory Stick, Blu-ray, Bugatti Veyron

    Inferior/run-of-the-mill: VHS, SD Card, HD-DVD, Honda Civic

    You are the judge.

  16. Redwolf says:

    Boycott Sony!

  17. Angel H. Wong says:


    No need, they are screwing themselves up.

    What was that line from dragonlance chronicles?

    Oh yeah:

    “Evil feeds on itself.”


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