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Blu-ray's Hardware Woes Stacking Up 196

Posted by Zonk
from the hard-to-find-a-primary-color dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The bad news just keeps on coming for Blu-ray. First, Sony halved its U.S./Japanese launch shipments of its Blu-ray powered PlayStation 3, blaming a shortage of blue lasers. Then, in the last two weeks, both Sony and Pioneer delayed the releases of their new Blu-ray players, refusing to cite reasons. And this week, at Blu-ray backer LG's annual dealer show, a previously announced LG Blu-ray player was nowhere to be found. LG product development director Tim Alessi had this to say: 'We will provide an announcement when the time is right.'"
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Blu-ray's Hardware Woes Stacking Up

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  • by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Friday November 03, 2006 @09:51AM (#16701951)
    The difference between the PS2's DVD drive and the PS3's Blu-Ray drive is that when the PS2 was released DVD players had been on the market for a full 3 years.

    I could be wrong, but it seems like including Blu-Ray may be the biggest mistake that Sony made on the PS3; it will increase the cost of the PS3, reduce the supply, and has so little content for it that it probably will not increase sales. If the PS3 was to be released in Q4 of 2008 Blu-Ray would have probably been an amazing addition, but in Q4 of 2006 it seems like a massive disaster.
    • You are right, but forgot to say that the DVD was already one of the most successful technology introduction in history, whereas blue ray still has 50% chances of being only one more of the long list of Sony failures.
      • And DVD was already the consortium-maintained standard, and not just something proprietary that Sony really really wants to make the standard.
        • by badasscat (563442)
          And DVD was already the consortium-maintained standard, and not just something proprietary that Sony really really wants to make the standard.

          There's no practical difference between the DVD Consortium/Forum and the Blu-Ray Disc Association. This is the DVD Consortium founding member list:

          # Hitachi, Ltd.
          # Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.
          # Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
          # Pioneer Electronic Corporation
          # Royal Philips Electronics N.V.
          # Sony Corporation
          # Thomson
          # Time Warner Inc.
          # Toshiba Corporation
          # V
          • I don't think the issue is so much about how much support they have as it is about how much opposition they have:

            HD-DVD support:
            Canon Inc.
            Digital Theater Systems
            Hitachi Maxell, Ltd.
            Kenwood Corporation
            Mitsubishi Kagaku Media Co., Ltd.
            NEC Corporation
            Onkyo Corporation
            Paramount Home Entertainment
            Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
            Teac Corporation
            Toshiba Corporation
            Universal Pictures
            Warner Home Video Inc.
            The Weinstein Company

            Warner Bros. and the Warner Music Group are associated with both Blur-Ray (tha
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) *

      Blu-Ray may be the biggest mistake that Sony made on the PS3

      I'm a big supporter of the 360, but I have to admit that the Blu-ray drive might actually prove to be a big advantage to Sony in the long run. It makes the PS3 much more future-proof than the 360, which is already hitting the wall on game storage space. Along with the decision to include a hard drive STANDARD (MS's biggest bonehead move with the 360 was actually taking a step BACKWARDS with the tard box), this could prove to ultimately be a ver

      • Eric, as in Eric Nylund? I Totally agree. Then 360 says, hey we have an HD-DVD player for the 360. It isn't used for games, just movies. What happens with HDMI?

        If Sony can actually produce the system they claim, then it will be so much better than the 360. I'm keeping my 360 though for when Halo 3 comes out. Boo yaka.
      • by JFMulder (59706)
        I think the reason for going with a hard drive has part to do with the fact that the transfer rates for Blu-ray drives at the moment have slower transfer rate than the current crop of DVD drives [avsforum.com] (Sorry, I couldn't find the original article that mentionned this. The third comment sums the issue nicely). Basically, the 360 has a 12x DVD drive that runs at 11mbps x 12 and PS3 has a 2X BD-ROM drive that runs at 36mbps x 2. So the 360 has faster transfer from the game disk.

        Also according to this [darkzero.co.uk], you will be abl
        • And I've yet to see horrible load times on the 360, except for Oblivion

          You obviously haven't played PGR3. Oblivion's got nothing on the load screen bonanza that is PGR3.

          Anyway, interesting take on the PS3 HDD; I hadn't put 2 and 2 together on that one yet.
          • by @madeus (24818)
            You obviously haven't played PGR3. Oblivion's got nothing on the load screen bonanza that is PGR3.

            I completely agree, PGR is a bit of a mess. When you try and restart a race on the same course it still takes ages to 'reload' it, and there isn't even any dynamic movable scenery to re-position (other than maybe the odd scripted plane that flys overhead)! It's much worse than the origional MSR on the Dreamcast or PGR on the X-Box, as much as I like the Live stuff the progression system is not as good either, i
            • by @madeus (24818)
              I'll probably get Ridge Racer 7 on the way home tonight.

              Or 6, or twelvtey, or whatever it's up to now, I should say.

              I liked the origional TOCA game, until it stopped being about racing touring cars and started forcing you to play through all the stages with eveything from karts to grand prix cars to old muscle cars (which all handle widly differently, and you can't just pick and choose which style to play a series of races in, you have to play them all in order).

              Oh and PGR3 is way too stingy on the cars now
      • by Wiz (6870)
        Which games are running out of storage space? Even Oblivion's ISO image is only 7GB in size, so there is a couple of GB still available there. That hard disk could be used to buffer some data also if a 2nd disc is required.
    • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Friday November 03, 2006 @10:55AM (#16702749)
      I could be wrong, but it seems like including Blu-Ray may be the biggest mistake that Sony made on the PS3;

      Sony is either smart or very dumb. The jury is still out (despite what most /. members think, like myself).

      However, we need to look at it like this... what would have happened if Sony did NOT put blu-ray in their PS3? HD-DVD would have garnered a large early lead against Sony and probably would have killed of Blu-Ray. It's just one big obvious strategy. Sure, the gamers are largely unhappy about it, due to the increase in cost, but if they have a Blu-Ray on their game system (whether they want it or not), and they start to build a Blu-Ray DVD collection, they're more likely to purchase a Blu-Ray stand-alone since they already started a Blu-Ray collection.

      It was more of a do or die strategy. The PS3 was the only thing they could guarantee that their technology would get penetration. Lets face it, when it comes to spending money, it's only gamers who would justify $600 for a video game system, just like they spend $400 for the latest video card for their PC or buy/build a $4,000 gaming rig. That doesn't mean YOU (or more appropriately MYSELF) would spend that much on a brand new system, but that's not to say there isn't people out there that would.

      I just talked to a friend of mine who waited in line at Toy-R-Us for their PS3 system. While doing so, he found a famous Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver (American Football) trying to buy their PS3 system off them for $100 extra. He ran into the same guy later at the Casino and found out he bribed a Circuit City employee to put his name at the top of the Pre-order list.

      This same friend, who purchased 2 PS3 (he went with his cousin), are doing the whole E-Bay thing, where the pre-orders are selling for upwards of $3,000 now. So, the point is, Sony will sell their PS3's. Did they hurt their PlayStation franchise to push their Blu-Ray player? Absolutely. Will their PS3 survive? Without a doubt. Will it loose market share? No question about it, at least for the short term. Does this put Sony's Blu-Ray in a competitive position to become the 'next' format. Yes, without doing this, it would not have been as likely to succeed. In this way, they didn't have much choice. If Blu-Ray succeeds, that means Sony will be making enormous profits for decades. If the PS3 loose a large market share, it will still retain some and it can still gain ground in the future with huge price drops. This isn't a PS3 strategy. This is a Blu-Ray strategy.

      I'm not planning on buying one, at least not for probably 3-4 years. I only bought a PS2 a month ago. =P

      Cheers,
      Fozzy

      • While doing so, he found a famous Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver (American Football) trying to buy their PS3 system off them for $100 extra. He ran into the same guy later at the Casino and found out he bribed a Circuit City employee to put his name at the top of the Pre-order list.

        As a Wisconsinite and a Packers fan, I have to ask - who was it? We're sort of short on famous wide outs, right now, so am I safe in assuming it's #80? Or are we not talking about a current player?
      • by brunes69 (86786)
        OR Sony could have just not tried to rape the general public for once with a proprietary Sony standard, and supported HD-DVD, thus having all the major players backing one media.

        It would have been better for the consumers, better for the 3rd party manufacturers. We have yet to see if it would have been better for Sony ornot, but I firmly believe they are going to regret the whole Blu-ray fiasco.
      • Yeah, the jury is still out. They are looking more long term with the PS3. MS is going to hit a wall with the 360 soon, with not have a hard drive come standard and soon games devs will need more space than a standard DVD can hold. This will mean that MS will have to release yet another X-Box within two years. By then the PS3 will be at a reasonable price level and have a huge selection of games. Even the Xbox fanboys will be irratated after having to buy a new system every two or three years. When you can
      • Sony is either smart or very dumb. The jury is still out (despite what most /. members think, like myself).

        However, we need to look at it like this... what would have happened if Sony did NOT put blu-ray in their PS3? HD-DVD would have garnered a large early lead against Sony and probably would have killed of Blu-Ray.
        ... now if Sony were as smart and sneaky as Microsoft, they would never have bothered with Blue-Ray beyond the product announcement. They would then negotiate with HD-DVD and offered to licen
    • by Petersko (564140)
      "I could be wrong, but it seems like including Blu-Ray may be the biggest mistake that Sony made on the PS3; it will increase the cost of the PS3, reduce the supply, and has so little content for it that it probably will not increase sales."

      I doubt Sony is hoping that the content available for on Blu-Ray will increase PS3 sales. It's more likely they're hoping that a few million Blu-Ray-capable PS3's will increase content sales, and allow them to win this format war.
    • by prockcore (543967)
      The difference between the PS2's DVD drive and the PS3's Blu-Ray drive is that when the PS2 was released DVD players had been on the market for a full 3 years.


      Another difference is that when the PS2 came out, there were *tons* of multi-disc PS1 games. FFVIII was 3 CDs. The CD format was already insufficient when the PS2 came out.

      I have never seen a PS2 game that required 2 DVDs... let alone 3.
    • This is all a calculated risk. If they are "too early" it falls flat and the only thing out on the market that is really a Bluray player is the PS3. If they aren't, then they make out bandits being the top of the new wave of "next generation" of home media. It shouldn't surprise *anyone* that a buisness is taking on risks in the hopes of future profits because this is what buisness and entrepreneurish is about.

      Beyond all of this, Sony has a history of doing this in their engineering. They come up with a
  • by mgblst (80109)
    I hardly think that a few delayed drives are much of a woe for Blu-Ray. And the fact that the Playstation won't be arriving initially in as many units isn't too much of a problem.

    HDDVD has had delayed drives as well.

    I mean, I hate Sony as much as the next person, but this is really a non-story. I really hope Blu-Ray fails, but I not running around making up shit to help it on its way, and if I did, it would be better than this.
    • by ronanbear (924575)
      The delays in Blu-Ray players probably aren't that big a deal in the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray war. Getting players out for a few early adopters willing to pay huge money won't make a difference in the end.

      The PS3 though is in a much more precarious position. Timing is critical in the console industry right now. Sony are doing everything they can do ease supply shortages. That's what this story is about, Blu-Ray players have been delayed indefinitely (probably a few months) so that there's less of a shortage of PS3
    • HDDVD has had delayed drives as well.

      Did it? AFAIK they use the same laser diodes so it should have similar problems but I get my news only from the zonked news dept. (I'm not really in the market for a player so I just read what's posted on /.) and it definitely sounds like Blu-Ray has more problems.

      Is this just a wave of attack-/vertisments payed by MS/Toshiba? Is it just Sony that has problems with the diodes? Is it some other problem and they just say it's the diodes for some reason? Is it the necess

  • At Office Depot, or was that OfficeMax, of all places. I still haven't seen a retail BD-R or HD-DVDR drive in the flesh though.
  • like the xbox 360. The fan noise from CPU/GPU cooling are nothing compared to the DVD drive. Whenever I put in a game, the spinning noise of the disc is unbearable. It doesn't even spin down but keeps on running at full speed until i exit the game. Only when the drive stops, can I hear the fan "noise".
    So, if the PS3 (the versions that hit the stores, not the showroom ones) makes less noise than the xbox, I will be throwing that in the trash.

    • ...the xbox, I will be throwing that in the trash.

      Tell you what. When you decide to throw your xbox in the trash, let me know. I'll gladly pay shipping for you to send it to me, instead.
      • hehe. ;)
        Well I might not be throwing it in the trash. I have someone who wants to buy it from me in case I decide to get rid of it.
  • by ExE122 (954104) * on Friday November 03, 2006 @09:59AM (#16702035) Homepage Journal
    First, Sony halved its U.S./Japanese launch shipments of its Blu-ray powered PlayStation 3, blaming a shortage of blue lasers.
    Didn't Pink Floyd once cancel one of their shows for the same reason?
  • Is there any chance that a combo player may emerge? Something that plays HD-DVD, and Blu Ray?

    Until they sort this thing our, I'm going to sit on the sidelines waiting for a format to emerge as the real winner.

    • yeah there are some companies working on that, but I would imagine they'd be be expensive considering they'd be paying royalties to both camps. as well as having some redundant hardware.

      IMO this is probably the quickest and safest solution if you really want to get into HD movies. I anticipate this "war" will end up more like the DVD-R vs DVD+R war then it will like the VHS vs Betamax.
  • First, this article was released in September! This is not new.

    I would lean to them thinning the market, for Christmas. It makes the demand go up and causes a frenzy of buyers looking for it. As well as news about how the hot Christmas item, the PS3, is in short supply. Many reviews from writers wanting to cover the new items and not look like they are behind, etc.

    It is a marketing ploy and old news.
  • I read sometime around June that Sony et al were having problems with dual layer discs, in that they couldn't get any of the production model Blu-ray players to read dual layer discs.

    Has that been solved? Is that the reason for the delay? I am not trying to spread FUD, but other than a quick blurb four months ago I've heard nothing else about the problem.
  • both use 405 nm lasers, and the shortage of blue lasers means production is affected for both camps. The article certainly seems to be an attempt to spin this shortage in HD-DVD's favor, no mention of delays in those devices.

    Much of the delay for Blu-Ray players is because Sony, one of the few manufacturers of these lasers, is keeping production for the PS3. Other Blu-Ray manufacturers are stuck without lasers.

    I don't see anything to indicate that this will benefit the HD-DVD camp - they've got laser shor
  • Check the date stamp on that article. It's from September. This is not relevant to currently announced launch numbers.
  • Personally, I'm hoping that both HD-DVD and BluRay have absoloute ABYSMAL distribution and customer acceptance.

    Then, maybe, these companies can go back and design a more consumer-friendly medium that people can actually buy and use without worrying that they're going to get their legs busted because they didn't pay their protection money to the various **AA for the right to look and listen THIS week. Oh, and for the tech geek in me, one that really DOES offer significantly better image quality.

    Right now, t
    • I wouldn't be so keen on hoping for failure. That's what happened to SVHS and look what it got us: Stuck with inferior VHS tapes for years longer than we should have while the industry cooked up something that they thought was even more restrictive (we got lucky with DVDs having lousy encryption).
      • by Chas (5144)
        Notice the part where I said "consumer friendly".

        I figure, if TPTB continue making stuff that isn't really consumer friendly, the consumer really should stop consuming the crap they're being shoveled.
  • If you've got product shortages, it makes a lot more sense to reserve as many units as you can for the PS3 (a device that will sell well) at the expense of stand-alone players, which aren't selling well at all.
  • Software is killing the release dates on this. Has anyone who said "shortage of blue lasers" actually seen the BD spec? All 4000 pages of it? BD-J is the single biggest thorn in this project. The maze of extensions and native interfaces required to make that work continue to plague engineers.

    Everything the HDMV runtime does has to be replicated by the BD-J runtime, like 2 products in one. Furthermore, you just can't do everything BD-J needs to do in pure Java. As they learned more about the BD-J spec
  • I think we should start calling it BetaRay, as it looks like Sony is fumbling yet another proprietary audio/video storage medium.
  • The benefit of having a high capacity drive is a smart decision from a technological perspective. With more powerful systems and more information required for games, having a high capacity format makes absolute sense.

    First of all, the extra capacity allows for more textures, more information, cutscenes, ...just more information for next-generation games.

    Second, the drive speed can be relatively low and still be able to read more information than a normal DVD. This is the reason why the Xbox 360's DVD driv

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