Sony's PS3: A Coming-Soon Downloadable Cinema Prediction

As Bill Gates commented way back in October of 2005, downloadable standard- and high-definition video content is a credible competitor to Blu-ray (or for that matter, any high capacity optical disc), especially for folks with high-bandwidth downstream WAN connections. Microsoft has a proportionally lesser investment in HD DVD, and the company also 'wins' on a number of fronts (codec, DRM, IPTV software, etc) if downloadable movies take off big.

And they are beginning to take off big. Sony can't ignore Microsoft's success in this arena with the Xbox 360, especially now that Disney's on board (I wonder what Steve Jobs thinks about that?). I've personally been pretty pleased with the console's video playback capabilities, both direct-to-console and streamed. The more Sony drags its feet, the more traction Microsoft gets. And with the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD format standoff showing no clear sign of ending any time soon, I 'spect Sony's warring internal format and product division factions have decided to call a truce and bless the genesis of a Sony-branded downloadable alternative to Blu-ray.

It's almost a month since v1.82 firmware was released, and since I began anticipating the unveiling of Sony's PlayStation Video Store (or whatever they'll call it). I thought, as did others, that I wasn't going to be able to get this blog post published in time, because Sony would unveil the service at E3 two weeks back. They didn't, and I'm not quite sure why. Maybe, as I postulated with respect to a past Apple introduction, there was a last-minute business or technical glitch that delayed the public launch. Or maybe Sony's executives decided that, since E3 is fundamentally a gaming show, they had enough game news as-is to fill their event and didn't want to confuse the pitch by lumping video stuff in, too.

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ps3gogetitt4139d ago

Will be great for my system especially with their database...but how will they compete with there own format, now that's a tough one

cdzie14139d ago

PS3 is so important to the Blu-ray / HD DVD fight that if Sony were to offer an alternative to Blu-ray discs on PS3, the entire Blu-ray format may collapse. If there is no PS3 right now, the format war is over and HD DVD is the new standard. Any decline in the number of PS3 users buying movies on Blu-ray is a big problem for Sony, because the standalone Blu-ray players are not selling.

On the flip side, Xbox is just a small part of the HD DVD strategy at the moment and by only having HD DVD as an add-on, Microsoft can give users options without damaging the HD DVD format.

7ero H3LL4139d ago

yep, it's plainly there. It's true: HD-DVD is not as detrimental to MS as opposed to how Blu-ray is so much so to Sony.

Lord Anubis4139d ago

your argument would be ture if blu-ray movies only supported movies (single movie). It does more than that. Anyone that likes to watch movies in the closest to purest form will pick the physical format for it has more content, uncompressed audio among other things.

hazeblaze4139d ago

Either way, blu ray will still be more successful. Most people would rather have a physical media vs something they have to save to a hard drive or stream.

Pay-Per-View, On Demand, and Tivo have not dampened dvd sales. Because it's a niche alternative, not something that will ever replace retail. And most noticeably, blu ray is useful not just for movie usage but for a storage medium period. Blu ray is the likely successor to dvd-rom drives on pc's and laptops b/c of the storage capacity.

Any way you look at it, blu ray comes out on top.

LSDARBY4139d ago

Sony Europe will anounce it at Leipzig id bet money on it

razer4139d ago (Edited 4139d ago )

Yet another feather in the 360's cap.

I've said all along that MS could give a crap about HD-DVD vs Blu-ray. Sure it would be great if they won the format war, but MS has been about VOD since 6 months after the 360 launched. Europe and Canada will be on board next month and then the rest of the world to follow. MS only chose HD-DVD because it was the superior format at the time the 360 launched.

Arkham4139d ago

My good f'n god, you're a dolt. Sony's been talking about this since halfway-through the PS2 generation. (Hint: Google's your friend.)

With Sony's position the movie industry, one would be the fool to think--let alone assert--that Microsoft thought of this ahead of them.

razer4139d ago (Edited 4139d ago )

In talking about it at board meetings and actually bringing it to life and making it successful, which MS has done. It's actually the #1 Movie download service out of them all.

I did do a google search for a Sony movie service and I can't find anything before Dec 2006 which is behind what MS was doing.. But I believe you and thus fall back to my comment above.

THE_JUDGE4139d ago

Wow, your mind is so closed on the console races your confusing it with the movie race. Sony can make money off of both Blu-ray and a PS3 download service. When you download stuff now on to a console its stuck there, you can't take it to your friends house and watch it. People will usually choose a hard copy of movies over a digital. Downloading movies straight to your computer, console or Tv is a long ways off. Come back to reality. Some people here in the states just got electricty this year. Downloading movies over rental or buying a disc is a long ways off. GET REAL! No one is who doesn't like games is going to buy a 360 to pay 50 a year to get the chance to download a movie that can only be played on that one unit.

razer4138d ago

Look at the big picture man.. It starts on the 360 with MS building partnerships and then it moves to the PC side. Never in my comments did I say this was going to happen overnight.. Just that is where MS's major focus is vs HD-DVD and Blu-ray.

The service is very successful and thus the reason Sony is doing the same thing. This is beyond just consoles which you seem to think I'm so "closed in" on...

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 4138d ago
7ero H3LL4139d ago

I want to somewhat shed light on MS's decision to hold games on just dual layer DVDs, instead of tying themselves to EITHER next gen disc format. First off, for those of you who believe that Blockbuster's desicion has sealed HD-DVDs fate, you're wrong. Movie rentals have died down in the last few years, and more people are going online, via services and subscription based home-delivery.

Pre-formated downloadable media files (wmv, divx, mp3, wma, aac, whatever) have risen in popularity, thanks to advanced codecs that enable must better quality. Even now, every trailer you try to download, is ONLY presented in its best form, via which format? WMV-HD!

Windows Media Video (and its next gen form, WMV-HD) is MSs proprietary format. Basically, FF13 and MGS4's trailers only look good because you guys are watching it via a Microsoft Windows Media Format.

Now, WMV-HD is NOT the only format out there, but it IS the domminant one. Just try to play any media file in a non-Pro Quicktime player, you get disabled features up the ying yang.

Sony also cannot compare to the combination of a Windows xp MCE or Windows Vista PC running Media Center and an Xbox 360 running Media Center Extender. Every trailer I download onto my PC can be viewed on my bigger screened Home Entertainment system, which trims the need for a huge HDD since I can use my PC as the storage for everything that I want my Xbox 360 to access.

So, my VistaPC to Xbox360 to Zune setup is unmatched! Since all three can access the same media formats! There's no need for stupid conversions just to maintain access to same media files! Only the initial conversions of any media file not in a WindowsMedia format, but you do that once, since Zune can read it, and 360 can read it too.

Sony better try something, maybe a deal with Apple and its Mac and iPods. But Microsoft owns Zune 360 and Vista, which means everything is compatible. Sony does however support Apple's aac and avc codecs, so let's see how they use that. But let's be real: Sony just LOVES to lock us all up in "proprietary" formats, like its OMG audio and its UMD video. As of yet, no one can make UMDs and the only official way to make OMGs is trough sonicstage (a dying poorly supported iTunes or MediaPlayer11 alternative). At least MS provides people with the utilities to make media files using its format, and they have in turn become widely accepted as the basis for most the internets distribution of media (although Real and Quicktime were once no1)

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