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Sony DRM and the New Digital Hole 184

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the speed-bumps dept.
expro writes "If the root kit scandal was not enough for Sony, Time Magazine reports that it is a delay in 'the release of copy-protection software required for the PS3's game and high-definition movie discs' giving Microsoft a serious advantage in the market place. Is there something Sony should be learning here about preoccupation copy control? With high definition writable media appearing already, will the price drop soon enough to help me overcome the real obstacle to backing up my exsisting commercial DVDs, cost of single media large enough to hold them that is playable in a player? Will the resulting new digital hole in copying existing DVD schemes to higher-density media replace the analog hole of VCRs in copying movies?"
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Sony DRM and the New Digital Hole

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  • by fatduck (961824) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @10:41AM (#14947950)
    Who would have thought it'd be Microsoft capitalizing on a competitor's fumbling attempts at DRM resulting in confusion and loss of product usability?
    • by Second_Derivative (257815) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:19AM (#14948068)
      HURR

      Nobody ever explained to me why Microsoft would inherently give a damn about DRM. As far as I know, it's the content industry that says "chain up people's PCs or we won't release high defenition material at all".

      Microsoft's actual anti-piracy efforts have been a token effort at best, especially when you consider that MS actually depends a lot on penetrating developing countries with its pirated software. All other things being equal, I seriously doubt they'd give a shit less about implementing something technically very thorny and that just makes your software a pain in the ass to use.

      Only reason X360 and Xbox have copy protection is to ensure developers actually pay licensing fees and don't just release software for their loss-making hardware without paying. It's got very little to do with piracy.
      • Thacherous computing plattaforms won't be able to run Linux. Or, at least won't be able to do that the way we do it now, that is easy to modify and improve.

      • by soupdevil (587476) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @01:05PM (#14948420)
        Well, you got some karma for it, but Microsoft is actually the author of one of the most successfuly DRM schemes. Apple's Fair Play has been cracked, but to my knowledge Microsoft's Janus scheme is still protecting music downloaded from sites like Napster and Rhapsody. The only way around it is the analog hole, which requires realtime playback and strips all metatags.
        • Apple's Fair Play has been cracked, but to my knowledge Microsoft's Janus scheme is still protecting music downloaded from sites like Napster and Rhapsody.

          Is this because more people want FairPlay cracked, or because the Janus scheme is that tough? Truth is, given a choice between Apple's DRM or Microsoft's I would choose Apple's simply because it is more relaxed. For myself, I would generally prefer to avoid WMA and WMV content to the best that I can, DRM or not.

          • by soupdevil (587476) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @02:29PM (#14948702)
            Janus is a better target, because of the subscription scheme -- you can download hundreds of thousands of files for a few bucks a month. Crack Fair Play, and you still have to spend 99 cents to download the file. But if you crack Janus, you can download a million files for ten bucks, and keep them after you cancel your subscription.
        • Aren't the newer versions of FairPlay still unbroken? JHymn can only do iTunes 5.0 and below songs, for example. [wikipedia.org]

          Earlier versions of Microsoft DRM were cracked too.
        • by Firehed (942385) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:27PM (#14949060) Homepage
          But unlike WMA's DRM, Apple's is actually in public use. More people want it cracked. Why did we start seeing security exploits in Firefox? It was gaining huge popularity, not because it was bulletproof. There are (relatively) so few people who are actually using a non-iTMS music store that all the cracking efforts are on FairPlay. And also note that the iTMSv6 fairplay hasn't been cracked yet. Honestly, life is in analog, so why don't they just give up already? Until we're actually converted into Matrix-bots, there's no way to fully close it.
      • by westlake (615356)
        Microsoft's position of DRM'd media content seems clear:

        Mandatory managed copy.

        You can save HD to back-up media or hard drive at full resolution. (Preserving closed captioning and multiple audio tracks?) You can distribute to home networks. You can painlessly downsample/download to portable devices and media.

        That would meet 95% or more of anyone's "fair use" requirements.

      • Nobody ever explained to me why Microsoft would inherently give a damn about DRM. As far as I know, it's the content industry that says "chain up people's PCs or we won't release high defenition material at all".

        You're right, it doesn't make sense at first glance. One would think MS would want to make it easy for people to use digital media, not harder by corrupting it with digital restrictions. However, I think MS is trying to position itself as the de facto DRM provider. If all media sold online used M
    • Microsoft has a very simple concept when it comes to DRM/Licensing fees, they just charge the customer!

      Remember buying your XBox, then having to buy the extra $35 kit to make it read them properly? Microsoft didn't care about having it locked down properly when they sold it, they just sold the units, and sold a separate kit later that opened it up as a DVD player.

      Really, the issue here is the fact that the blu-ray/hddvd people are lagging on finally deciding how to best screw over their customers and throw
  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @10:41AM (#14947956)
    There probably isn't. I guarantee you that in a corporation this large, the beancounters have already run through the numbers plenty of times to decide that this is their most economically viable course of action.

    I'm not saying corporations are always right or always do the right thing, but when it comes to making money, Sony usually gets it right, and I don't think one self-important slashdotter speculating otherwise carries much weight compared to a financial beast that's been generating astoundingly large piles of cash for the past long while.
    • by Stripe7 (571267) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @10:48AM (#14947983)
      SONY has not been getting it right for some time now. Their product lines has been going downhill for quite some time all because of their bean counters. They used to be somewhat good quality products now its just crap.
    • by DerGeist (956018) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @10:50AM (#14947989)
      Exactly. Sony isn't stupid, although they do make mistakes.

      The negative PR Sony gets in geekland is outweighed by the average consumer's perception of the quality of Sony products. Sony's rootkit was absolutely unacceptable, but don't think Sony didn't already know that.

      You'll never know what your boundaries are unless you surpass them. This way, when they slowly reintroduce the same technology years later when DRM and consumer hard-drive snooping has become largely perfunctory, they can measure how far they've come.

      • Perception of Sony's products... ok, you mean that they're overpriced crap and just about everyone knows this? Even their high-end stuff isn't quality any more. They're like Bose w/o the cache.

        And their media empire hasn't been doing so hot lately either.

        Basically, the main thing keeping Sony afloat right now is the playstation brand. They are not a healthy company.
        • I used to be a huge Sony fanboy... they always had the most intuitive interfaces on consumer electronics, the best remote controls, and the best TV pictures, as well as the occasional wacky but totally innovative product like the WM-DD9 audiophile Walkman [portaphile.com] or the STR-GX1ES egg-control receiver.

          But now I agree with parent, and it's pretty sad. The consumer electronics are overstyled, ordinarily engineered junk like we used to get from the likes of JVC. Some of the laptops have pretty designs, but they're fl

          • Sorry, but I have to disagree with the "intuitive interface" statement, at least with respect to their digital camera line. Their menu systems are among the worst that I've ever had to use.

            But yeah, their remote controls aren't too bad (a bit Sony-centric, but that's to be expected.) And their TV pictures are pretty good.

            I gave up liking Sony products after my last CD/DVD player purchase. The player did not support VCD / SVCD, Picture CD or any other home-burned formats that had already become common

      • The problem with the negative PR comment you just made is one of the fact that it wasn't
        just "geekland" that they got the negative PR over DRM- it was pretty much
        common news to the point that the governments were chastising them and taking them to
        court over it.

        With this in mind, it's a little amazing that they're so damn worried about DRM (which
        got them in trouble, costs for which are yet to be fully determined...) to majorly delay
        one of their MAIN product offerings to the point that they may well
        cede the
        • IT's because they know they won't cede top market position.

          what percentage consumer retention (of PS2 owners) will Sony need in order to be considered successful with the PS3? 60%? 70%? any of those two guarantees a wealth of riches for the next seven years. They'll be fine. Microsoft XBox owners and PS owners rarely overlap. The audience that is actively choosing between the two is small. PS2 owners will re up when it comes out, and until then they have a shitload of games to keep playing.

          Sony doesn't lose
      • Sony's rootkit was absolutely unacceptable, but don't think Sony didn't already know that.

        Actually, I suspect it didn't. Or at least (given that a corporation is NOT a single entity, no matter how much legal fiction would wish it otherwise) I suspect that most of the people actually involved in making this rootkit didn't consider it 'absolutely unacceptable'.

        What you see of the world is affected by where you're looking from, probably far more so that most of us realise. Imagine you're a techie at So

        • A few comments: First, you make an excellent point about Sony wanting to protect their pointstuff. I imagine that the company internal newsletter reads something like "MUSIC PIRATES ROBBED YOUR 401K OF 10% THIS YEAR!" So yeah, they'd want to stop it.

          Next, it wasn't even Sony employees who came up with the rootkit solution. It was an external company who sold it to them. I'm betting with you on this one, that most folks at Sony did not even understand the implications of what they had purchased -- the

    • I guarantee you that in a corporation this large, the beancounters have already run through the numbers plenty of times to decide that this is their most economically viable course of action.
      Would those be the same beancounters who decided the rootkit CD protection scheme was a swell idea? Or who failed to head off the iPod, even with a massive head start? Your argument is simply that Sony can do no wrong. I don't buy it.
    • There probably isn't. I guarantee you that in a corporation this large, the beancounters have already run through the numbers plenty of times to decide that this is their most economically viable course of action.

      Sure. However, a calculation is only as good as the data it was based on. In order to calculate the most economically viable course of action, you need to guesstimate what happens as a result of each possible action, and then compare the results. A beancounter has no magical crystal ball that w

  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @10:48AM (#14947982) Homepage
    Sony is now a bipolar company and should just split itself into two halves (content and electronics) so it can move on. If Sony take any longer to make decisions, the next wave of technology will come on go before the Bipolar Sony can make a decision on what technology to release. I divested myself of all Sony components quite awhile ago and have since stopped having flexibility problems with how I view/use my electroncs.

    No matter what DRM, watermark, or token system they release will do nothing more than frustrate their consumer base. Many consumers are now feeling for burned by Sony that they will wait until the mid to trailing edge of the technology cycle to adopt it.
    • Begrudgingly I made the same decision. Over 25 years ago I bought the original Sony Walkman and the engineering was inovative and exciting. For years Sony meant superior vision and engineering wonders. I own Sony camera's, TV, monitors, etc. but have reached the point of dumping Sony altogether. I don't know if it was the passing of Akio Morita or what but Sony has not been the same company of late. It's too bad really.
    • I have no idea what you are talking about 'losing its flexibility' can you give me some examples? Ever since Sony decided a few years ago to refocus their consumer electronics on the integration of their products to work seamlessly with each other, it's been like wonderland.

      I don't see how the DRM scheme of blueray is going to "burn" me. I can still watch my movies with ease, and even my friends with DVD players can borrow them and watch them, thanks to dual layering allowing a DVD layer and a hi-def laye

      • by Proudrooster (580120) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:41AM (#14948137) Homepage
        No idea what I am talking about? I pulled this out of one of my previous slashdot postings.

        Sony... the guys who brought us very expensive DVD players that wouldn't read CD-R/DVD+-R media (on purpose of course). This one really upset me. I couldn't play my DVD's slideshows and movies that I made on my computer on my Sony player.

        Sony, the guys who brought us the Sony Memory Stick and Magic Gate copy protection aka "Slow and Lame."

        Sony, the guys who just released the "iPOD Killer" that can't even play MP3's and requires converting them to Sony's proprietary format (because it's better right?).

        Sony, the guys who make TV's that enforce macrovision so strictly that they sometimes don't work with DVD players and legal DVDs. Can anyone say, RF adaptor? Should one really need to purchase an RF adaptor just to get the Sony DVD player and Sony TV to work together? Jeez....

        First and second generation HDTVs which won't play at full resolution with new devices because of what they call the "ANALOG HOLE".

        Sony the guys who make video cameras that shutoff if accidentally pointed towards a TV screen playing a DVD (say during your child's birthday party).

        Sony is capable of making a good product, but don't expect it to be flexible. If you use your Sony product as they deem you should use it (strictly buying their content), then you're fine. Stray outside the lines slightly and it will become a source of aggravation. I realize Sony has become more flexible lately because their electronics division has been suffering, but I will not forgive the sins of the past 4-5 years so easily due to the amount of hard earned cash that I feel was wasted. I will never buy into another proprietary Sony standard just because they want CONTROL nor will I buy another Sony device that doesn't allow what I consider "fair use". I really feel sorry for the people who have been buying with the Sony credit cards and now have accumulated Sony points.
        • Sony, the guys who just released the "iPOD Killer" that can't even play MP3's and requires converting them to Sony's proprietary format (because it's better right?).

          Sony has not released any audio devices that use ATRAC in over a year.

          • Sony has not released any audio devices that use ATRAC in over a year.

            Imagine that... early adopters CONTROLLED by Sony. You made my point for me. When Sony first released their iPOD killer, they put their users through a long cumbersome conversion process which resulted in proprietary DRM'ed music filed. Sony then realized that their users wanted more. SONY seemed to get the message that as long as they were shoving the proprietary Sony music and DRM format down the throats of the consumer that sale
            • Imagine that... early adopters CONTROLLED by Sony. You made my point for me. When Sony first released their iPOD killer, they put their users through a long cumbersome conversion process which resulted in proprietary DRM'ed music filed. Sony then realized that their users wanted more. SONY seemed to get the message that as long as they were shoving the proprietary Sony music and DRM format down the throats of the consumer that sales were suffering.

              But how does that prove that they have 'lost their edge'

              • I figure that the consensum here is that Sony is in a unique position as an schyzo corporation.

                The customers, when aware of the issues, demand LESS DRM, but Sony Entertainment demands MORE DRM.
                As a result, Sony's harware guys are having to fight on two fronts. They must battle competition and THEIR OWN content guys at the same time. Hardly a desirable position.

                Their competition (Toshiba, Hitachi, JVC, you name it) is fighting unencumbered, and are tearing Sony to shreds.

                And yes, they managed to reduce a fir
      • >> I have no idea what you are talking about 'losing its flexibility' can you give me some examples?

        MiniDisc would be one. Sony's idea of an "MP3 Player" was software that transcodes Atrac to MP3 in realtime for an MD player. In its time MiniDisc was a nicely engineered format. The physical media could hold quite a lot and the Atrac codecs weren't bad at all. But Sony was so petrified of piracy that they stymied the obvious PC applications. MD never succeeded in being more than a niche technology
  • Analog Hole (Score:4, Funny)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:02AM (#14948013) Homepage Journal
    You act like having the ablity to copy things in an analog format is wrong or something.
  • What's the Problem? (Score:2, Informative)

    by WebScud (662900)
    The first eight Sony blu-ray discs will play in full resolution over componet cables. That's an awesome standing on copy protection sonsidering HDCP is suppose to kill the resolution for any analog singal.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:13AM (#14948048)
    This is just a convenient excuse. If you read the statements. The dev Kits are only going out in June!. This mean everything is behind, not just DRM which has no effect on games development. Further Blu-Ray players are also due in that timeframe and all the AACS discussions are over and finalized already. You don't even need a Blu Ray drive for Dev Kit and I bet even the final dev kits don't have one.

    Sony is late with everything most likely the Cell processors and the programming tools for it. DRM is just a smokescreen, handy because really did have issues with both HD/BD getting it finalized, but it is now.

    But in Sonys case it is a very stupid excuse, give the rootkit problems. Many people will percieve this is Sony being late so they can figure out new ways to screw us over with DRM. They really need new marketing droids before they release lame excuses like this.
    • That's funny, if the dev kits are going out in June, what've companies been developing on all this time? I'm curious where you've even read that, as the article mentions nothing about dev kits.

      If I remember correctly the story a few months ago about that artist who was fired for slamming the PS3 made some comments on the dev kits his team was using to develop their next gen titles.
      • The grandparent was referring to the final devkits, which are probably going out in May/June. This was fairly widely reported in the gaming media. Here's just one example story. [1up.com]

        I'm not sure how different the current devkits are from the final PS3 hardware, but it could potentially lead to some serious development work still to come. If nothing else the more elite devs will want to take at least a few months to get better performance/graphics out of their game using the presumably superior performance of the
    • Sorry, but you're wrong on a number of points there.

      From Sony's presentation at the recent PS3 announcement:

      Loaned Dev Tool Delivery Schedule
      Apr - DEH-R103X
      Cell Final
      RSX Final
      BD-Drive Proto
      Controller Proto

      May/Jun - DEH-R104X (Final)
      Cell Final
      RSX Final
      BD-Drive Final
      Controller Final

      So, the final dev kit is most likely going out before June (the slide shows it on a timeline somewhere between May and June), the final Cell and RSX are in the earlier releases of the devkit and there is a Blu Ray drive in the f

      • Note that your list doesn't have the CELL final until April... This is late. Very late.
        The question is do you seriously believe it is AACS holding up launch till November?

        http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/ps3/playstation-confe rence-news-roundup-160603.php [kotaku.com]
        Here's their summary so far for anyone who wants to catch up:

        PS3:
        - GLOBAL RELEASE NOVEMBER 11th
        - 60GB HDD 2.5" with pre-installed Linux OS will be included?
        - Dev kit specs fix as of today
        - Final PS3 development kits will be sent to developers in June
        - 10.000.00
        • No, technically my list shows a final Cell in the April release of the loan devkits. I don't know what's in the current devkits, but that could conceivably be final as well.

          Do I believe that it's the AACS issues holding up the launch in Japan until November? Not entirely, but I'm not going to assume there isn't any truth in it either. I'd be more tempted to suggest the launch timeframe is set by game software availability, network infrastructure and hardware costs rather than vague claims that Cell isn't re
  • by therage96 (912259) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:14AM (#14948051)
    I wouldn't count on this to change Sony's attitude. After all, this is the second time they have seriously dropped the ball when it came to market in which they didn't already dominate.

    There were many times before the arrival of the Ipod that Sony had the best looking Mp3 players, and they always seemed to have the features I wanted. However, they made the idiotic move of making a user convert all of his songs to the ATRAC3 format. Seriously, who wants to deal with that crap? So what happens? Smaller players move in and dominate.
  • Content (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mabu (178417) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:18AM (#14948063)
    The irony is that most of today's media: games and movies aren't worth playing/watching, much less making back-up copies.
    • Ya know, I bet people have been saying that since the invention of paper and ink.

      Monk 1: "Why good brother Monk, this manuscript isn't worth reading, much less transcribing word by word so that we might have a back up copy."
      Monk 2: "Shut up fellow Monk, the Vicar has demanded copies and copies he shall get."

      There's two reasons you argument is shoddy at best.

      First, there have always been people pumping out shitty content that isn't worth watching/playing/hearing, much less making a copy of.

      Second, did it eve
      • Suffice to say there's always been mediocre content.

        However, if you look at mainstream media: news, music and radio stations, movies and television shows, you CONSISTENTLY find that the best produced products, in virtually EVERY GENRE are mostly outside the edges of commercial media. From HBO to Comedy Central, to most musical acts that are on mainstream radio sucking huge and all sounding like the same whiny gen-x'er losers who are using the same music production software to compress the shit out the trac
    • really, who's going to back up DVDs to Blue Ray? That's backing up a 15$ disc to a $30 writeable... Not much sense to me. That's what dual layer DVDs are for anyway.. but again, the cost per copy + time and hassle, just buy it used or on sale.
  • You can spend all the money in the world creating DRM, but within a month of it being released someone will break it... the 360 seemed to be getting cracked without too much trouble and the same will happen to the PS3. The fact is very few people copy console games and there isn't a huge market for them. Most piracy is done by people in their own homes and if you make it slightly difficult to download an ISO and then burn it (just with the most simple protection) then the average user won't be bothered to
  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:25AM (#14948097) Homepage
    They will never learn the idea of "enough profit" or "too much."

    The stark reality that has always been out there for everyone to see is simply that MOST people are willing to spend their money of "official" copies of their favorite entertainment. This means they'll watch the movie and if they like it, they'll buy the DVD. If they hear the song and like it, they'll buy the CD. This pattern (I have no studies to back this up... it's just my observation) fits the vast majority of consumer out there.

    So then the question comes up, "...that's fine, but what about the REAL pirates who attempt to counterfeit and sell to a public who thinks they are buying 'official' copies?" GO AFTER THEM to the fullest extent of the law. I doubt that anyone would fail to support legal/criminal action against those activities. But the 'copy protection' that exists today and is likely to exist tomorrow will not thwart those pirates, but it goes a long way to inconvenience their paying consumers.

    So far, they have mostly gotten away with it. Sony didn't get a black eye from the back-door infecting CDs... I'd liken it more to a minor abrassion if even that. The majority of the buying public never noticed and still have never even HEARD of Sony's stunt.

    I believe there is such a thing as "enough profit" and they should recognize it for their own benefit as well as their consumers. It has been demonstrated that big business often consider government fines, liability lawsuits and other costs associated with survival in a litigeous society as "a common business expense." I believe they should stop viewing casual or civilian copying as a threat to their business model because I would believe (again, no supporting facts) that the legals costs, the costs of product delays, the costs of lost fandom, the cost of development of 'protective measures' and the COSTS OF SUPPORTING LEGISLATION far outweigh any potential losses they might consider lost due to civilian copyright infringement.

    (I also believe they know this... I believe their aims are a little bigger than they will admit and it's likely something along the lines of price fixing, monopolistic control and that sort of thing.)
    • They will never learn the idea of "enough profit" or "too much."

      That's because there's no such thing. They are a publicly traded company; they are required to maximize stock value to shareholders.

      Instead of trying to convince the industries to abandon a business strategy that has so far been very successful, perhaps it would be more worthwhile to educate consumers on how these companies are ripping them off.

      After all, they're the ones who keep buying this crap and perpetuating the system.
    • The lesson of Business Greed:

      A person sells a product for $100 and finds that lots of people are buying it. The guy figures that he could notch up the price up a bit and increases it by $10. People still buy it, since they still feel that the product is worth the money being made. The guy is now making a good profit on top of what he was already making. He now figures that since people are happy with that price he could make even more money by notching up the price again, so the price is now $120. Suddenly
    • of couse what they miss is the fact that commercial pirates are usually working with professional recording hardware anyway... probably "borrowing" time or equipment from the actual producers of the ones we buy at the store. They just run a few "extras" for spending money. Of course the content industry can't get their OWN guild members to take piracy seriously, look at all the leaked Oscar * Grammy discs. They can't get directors and producers to keep media "secret" from their own housing staff... how do
      • Actually, you're 100% correct about that. I recall several years ago this was a major problem with places that contract to produce DVDs and CDs for the big names out there. From 9 - 5 they were producing legitimate copies and after that, some time in the dark of night, they were producing the same stuff again, but without being tracked and accounted for.

        I don't know how common this is TODAY, but I know at one time, it was way too frequent.
  • Betamax Revisited (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PyrotekNX (548525) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:41AM (#14948135)
    Sure Betamax was a superior technology compared to VHS, but who won that war? Now they have Bluray. Sure it's a good idea, but Sony is already fumbling the format. It does not matter how good a technology is if the consumers aren't willing to adopt it. DRM takes quite a bit of processing time compared to non-copyprotected media. What does that mean to consumers? Since DRM takes more CPU time and memory, the hardware required to play a DRM'd movie will have to be that much quicker to operate. The faster and more sophisticated the hardware is, the more expensive it will be to us. These units also have a higher energy draw, about 25% more. This is just part of the hidden costs. DRM software doesn't invent itself. It takes a lot of time to develop the software, distribute it, etc etc. Time=Money. This cost is of course passed on to the consumer.

    Now lets got to the real issue here. Which will consumers prefer? An expensive, poorly designed piece of technology, or something that is no more difficult to adopt than what they currently have. Most computers have issues playing non-DRM protected HDTV content let alone one that is. I bought the new special edition Terminator II that had the metal case and the high-def version. My computer was brand new at the time and it wouldn't even play it because of the DRM.

    So what new format will we choose to distribute the next generation of media? Will it be Bluray or HD-DVD? Maybe neither! There are competing technologies out there that are capable of high-def right now without the need of clunky, ill-deigned DRM software. There's Xvid, DivX, etc, why PAY for proprietary forms of media you can't even bring to your SO's apartment to watch? That was the beauty of VHS, you could record stuff off of tv CHEAPLY, there was ONE format in video stores.

    All of this just leads to confusion for the consumer. The new DVD format should piggyback on the old technology and be founded on OPEN standards. History will repeat itself with Sony's proprietary formats. Early adopters of Bluray will be throwing out their money. It will be at least 5 years before HD is fully mainstream. The majority of the movies out there will not benefit from being in HD.

    Do you honestly think seeing Gone With the Wind will be better in HD?
    • Sure Betamax was a superior technology compared to VHS, but who won that war?

      Sony lost the home format but won the broadcast-level market and holds it to this day. Betacam SP has been the industry standard for production for many years, only recently supplanted by newer digital efforts (and even those are still in their infancy).

      You make a fine point, but it is worth mentioning that while Sony lost the living room, they won the studio.

      • Beta went digital years ago. Same form factor for the tapes, but the data they've held has been digitally captured, stored and processed for years. Punch "digibeta" into Google and see what comes back.
    • Why do you think Sony is pushing so hard for Blu-Ray in the PS3? It's certainly not because they expect it will sell more games. They're willing to endanger their console dominance for the Blu-Ray drive.

      Their plan is simple. They're hoping that the PS3 will sell as well as the PS2 did. You're right - there's very little reason to buy an HDTV movie player right now. However, there is a large market for next-gen consoles. They're hoping to capitalize on the PlayStation's success and, at the same time,

    • Since DRM takes more CPU time and memory...

      This is simply a replay of yesterday's FUD-fest over DMA and battery life on the iPod.

      The new DVD format should piggyback on the old technology and be founded on OPEN standards.

      There are a half-dozen or so manufactuers world-wide with the financial backing, engineering talent and production lines needed to make HD hardware mass-market.

      There are a half-dozen or so content providers whose backing you must have if your HD product is to be commercially viable. I

  • by i41Overlord (829913) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:42AM (#14948138)
    This "delay" is nothing more than Sony realizing that it would make much more money by releasing an eagerly anticipated new product during the peak Christmas buying season instead of releasing it during post-Christmas spring or the summer doldrums.
  • SONY is a hydra (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:58AM (#14948200)
    Some of you guys have a very strange understanding of Sony, but that is kind of expected, as Sony is a strange entity in and of itself.

    Let me illustrate with an example: Sony regularly names Sony as a defendant in copyright lawsuits.

    Sony Corporation is: several mini-divisions of Sony Electronics (Walkmans, stereo gear, camcorders, TVs, phones, not to mention an entire division dedicated to pro-level broadcast hardware and Betacam SP); a large media arm in Sony-BMG Music Group which has its own problems, Sony's movie studio - again, schizo in performance but huge and sprawling; Sony's various software divisions (SCE*), in NA, Japan, and Europe; 'online' or SonyConnect verisons for each of those again...not to mention weirdo initiatives like Sony Ericsson (very successful)...

    You see where I'm going with this. Here's an article [post-gazette.com] that does a good job summing it up.

    It is pointless to discuss an entity called SONY as if it were a coherent entity. It is more like the EU. Very competitive, aligned loosely, but basically all fighting each other tooth and nail for internal dominance, which usually translates to external dominance. This has been Sony's culture for a long time, only recently changing under their new CEO (a Welsh guy, another first for the corporation).

    If you ask Sony's hardware guys about the iPod, most of them will readily concede that they were soundly thrashed by Apple. iPod is the new Walkman, no doubt. Sony could have competed with Apple if they didn't have the content arms sniping at them throughout the development process (and also if they had let go of certain insane engineers who loved minidisc a little too much).

    So when you guys are boycotting Sony products - a principal I do not disagree with - I do have to wonder a little if you know exactly what you are boycotting. Sony-BMG are bastards, I deal with them all the time and they really just are the epitome of the 'evil record label'. Sony hardware is a completely different entity, and they more or less hate Sony-BMG as well. When you stop buying Sony TVs and whatnot, you are actually punishing the guys who are (now somewhat successfully) pushing against the DRM in the hardware. They hate this shit, and they know what consumers want (mostly...). DRM comes from the media arms, and its dictating product design inside Sony, and that is the battle.

    What I am saying is, you need the carrot and the stick. Don't buy Sony-BMG music, they cam eup with the rootkit. DO buy those Sony products that are free of DRM. The message will be clear. I have a Sony Ericsson phone (W600i) and it does not have any DRM for loading and playing music, short of the veil necessary to keep you from beaming pre-canned content into other phones. it actually is the iTunes phone that everyone wanted, and no one shipped, including Motorola/Apple. My iTunes collection, all uninfected MP3 and AAC, loads (both directions) and plays beautifully.

    Sony Electronics has typically kept the underperforming divisions from showing up more drastically on the balance sheet (PS2) but they are suffering now as well. Let's hope the hardware guys win over the media guys.

    • Howard Stringer (Score:3, Interesting)

      by garyrich (30652)
      You are right that Sony is like a Hydra, or a zaibatsu to be more precise. But they put a content side, IP protection gaijin in charge as CEO. He's from Sony Entertainment and before that CBS Television.

      Putting him in charge was a solid kick to the nuts for all of Sony's hardware businesses. He doesn't control everything, but he functions as a tie breaker when the two sides disagree. And he is *always* going to come down on the side of more locked down content. I wouldn't be surprised if the decision to
    • What I am saying is, you need the carrot and the stick. Don't buy Sony-BMG music, they cam eup with the rootkit. DO buy those Sony products that are free of DRM. The message will be clear.

      I understand what you're saying, but I think the message will be even clearer if I just don't buy anything from any part of Sony. Maybe it's only Sony-BMG that is bad, but they've degraded the name. Sony Electronics should drop the name "Sony" if it doesn't want to take responsibility for the actions of other users of th
      • I understand what you're saying, but I think the message will be even clearer if I just don't buy anything from any part of Sony. Maybe it's only Sony-BMG that is bad, but they've degraded the name. Sony Electronics should drop the name "Sony" if it doesn't want to take responsibility for the actions of other users of that name.

        Sure, that makes sense, but only from a human perspective. From a corporate view, money talks the loudest. If they noticed a sharp downward spike in all DRM'd products, they will

        • Personally, I wouldn't buy it because of the name, and I'd advise anyone who asked not to buy it either. I just don't trust them. Sony has lied before, how would I know they were telling the truth this time?

    • Hydra or not, when I choose never to buy a vaio again, it's because they don't work well with any other non-sony hardware products.
      When I don't buy minidisc.net, it's because its all lies
      When I don't buy sony digicams, it's because their MS/Pro/Super Pro have failed to work EVEN with their OWN hardware so many times due to design errors. (I count 3)
    • Yes, but I hate them for their games division, or more specifically their American games division. You know, the one that forces every classic 2D games series into and inferior 3D version. People still talk about Symphony of the Night anyone talking about the 3D Castlevanias?

      "To tell the truth, I don't think it's even that 2D is only possible on handhelds, but more that it's only possible on DS," said Igarashi-san. "Personally speaking, I'd jump at any chance to develop a 2D game for any console, or ev

  • by Lispy (136512) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @12:38PM (#14948336) Homepage
    This sentence gave me headaches. I highly doubt it qualifies as proper english. :)

    "With high definition writable media appearing already, will the price drop soon enough to help me overcome the real obstacle to backing up my exsisting commercial DVDs, cost of single media large enough to hold them that is playable in a player?"
    • Well, it's complex enough to qualify as proper german, then :-)

      At least, except from "single media" it makes perfect sense to me.

      the real obstacle to backing up my exsisting commercial DVDs
      [is the]
      cost of single media
      [a single media]
      that is playable in a player
      With high definition writable media appearing already, will the price drop soon enough to help me overcome [this obstacle]

      I'd bet that there is a linguist way to mark up and straighten such senctences.

      k2r
  • Do NOT muck up my computer or slow it down in any way, OR... You won't get my software dollars, and then you likely will not get any more hardware sales either (like the $3k LCD projection TV I bought). There is more at stake than a damn gaming DRM here.
    • If they installed shit on my computer without my knowledge or permission, I'd serve them a lawsuit. Buying a CD or DVD or anything else never comes with the mention of installing secret software.
  • heh heh ... digital hole ...
    hehehehehe

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