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Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected 477

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the can-we-just-have-emusic-for-video-already dept.
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Sony has warned investors that it expects to take a hit on expected earnings (PDF), due in part to the fact that demand for Blu-ray Disc media is contracting faster than anticipated. In two weeks, Sony will announce its financial results. The company expects to post a net loss. Sony's warning is in line with other industry indicators, such as a report released earlier this year by Generator Research showed revenue from DVD and Blu-ray sales will likely decrease by 38% over the next four years. By comparison, online movie revenue is expected to grow 260% from $3.5 billion this year to $12.7 billion in 2018, the report states. Paul Gray, director of TV Electronics & Europe TV Research at market research firm DisplaySearch, said consumers are now accustomed to the instant availability of online media, and 'the idea of buying a physical copy seems quaint if you're under 25.'" Especially when those copies come with awful DRM.
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Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected

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  • Re:Blank Media (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:48PM (#46923979) Homepage Journal

    Don't expect this. There is an inevitable whining to government that is in the cards... you can bet on it.

  • Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:53PM (#46924031)

    Because you media types went and fucked it up as hard as you could. I am the sort of person who would like to buy a fair bit of Blu-ray movies. I don't mind movies on disc, I have a player, and I'm fussy about picture and sound quality. Blu-ray is noticeably better than streaming video on my system.

    However, greed and stupidity have screwed it up. For one it is just too expensive. I'll see a new movie int he store and the Blu-ray version is $10 above the DVD version. No, I'm not paying you for the extra bits. It does not cost you more to make. I'm not going to go and drop $35 on the Blu-ray version of something.

    Then there's the DRM. "That wouldn't affect you unless you are a pirate!" you say? Bullshit. So while my TV setup is nice, by far the highest def system in my house is my computer. It has a high end home theater speaker setup connected to it, and a professional monitor. So I wanted to watch one of my Blu-rays on it. It has a BD-RW, it has software, it has a GPU with the stupid "secure" drivers, and everything is HDCP compliant. So I fire it up and... no dice. See I mirror my video signal, one goes to the monitor for display, one goes to the soundcard to provide clock for the audio. That isn't allowed, even though every device is HDCP compliant.

    It also means should I wish to watch on my laptop, I'd have to buy it a Blu-ray player and lug the discs with me, there's no ability to copy them over.

    Is it any wonder I'm not more interested? I have a few Blu-ray discs, but not many, and I don't buy them often. I'm not paying an inflated price, and part of their interest, the extremely high quality, is dulled by the knowledge that they won't work on my highest end system.

    Netflix may not look as good, but it is cheap, and it works on, well, everything I own practically.

  • by mmell (832646) <mmell@hotmail.com> on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:55PM (#46924055)
    They ended up pricing themselves into irrelevance. Unlike VHS and DVD, they didn't have enough entrenched market share to withstand the current breed of video distribution mechanisms, and their belief that strong DRM would let them set market pricepoint doesn't seem to have panned out quite the way they intended.

    Besides, at least I could rip and watch my DVD's on my devices - I know it can be done with BluRay, but they made it unpleasant enough to deter me exactly as they (Sony) intended. Now that me and guys like me just aren't that interested, I can't say as I'm surprised how things are ending up. Must break their hearts over there at Sony, eh? Doesn't break mine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:56PM (#46924069)

    Blu-ray support is the biggest pain in the ass in our very tweaked media center. HDCP lag, endless ads at the start of each disk, incredibly complex software installs that frequently fail all in the name of 'security.' Try this security ... we will no longer tolerate your product. Now we're safe, how 'bout you?

  • Blame Hollywood (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:59PM (#46924101)

    What with the much lower quality video and far worse compression artifacts streaming has, also having to be connected to the internet to watch a movie, and also often having to pay per play rather than a pay once model, it totally boggles my mind that people prefer streaming video to blu-ray and even DVD.
    I'm much more inclined to believe that its really Hollywood that is killing off Blu-Ray (and any other form of physical media) rather than Joe Public.
    Hollywood have had so many bad experiences with successfully applying DRM to physical media, they've now turned to trying to do away completely with any/all forms of physical copies being in the hands of Joe Public. In mybook, thats a BAD thing for us.

  • Screwed the Pooch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:04PM (#46924121) Homepage Journal
    I never bought a Blu Ray player. Why? Because the DVD was such a disappointment. We were promised all these features that never materialized. The only feature that DVD used was the feature that kept the consumer from skipping content, fast forwarding over commercials at the beginning of DVD, and of course DRM that makes it hard to copy onto the hardisk. So if you don't want to be tied to a DVD player, the best option is a subscription to Netflix. And since Bluray is DRM incarnate, unless one want to live in the 19th century, it is a trade off that most younger people choose not to make, Bluray becomes a non starter. The validity of these statements is shown by the inclusion of digital copy on some DVD and Blu Ray. If bluray had this a standard feature from day 1, I suspect it would have been widely succesful. But like DVD, the main goal of Blu Ray was to screw the user.
  • Re:Contracting? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frobnicator (565869) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:18PM (#46924251) Journal

    Ever try running blu-ray outside of a PlayStation?

    I have a blu-ray drive in my media computer. (The one hooked up to the TV and sound system.) When I try to play a newer blu-ray disk, I am told it won't work and I need to buy a new player. Fortunately there are some free alternatives, coupled with AnyDVD, that will still decode and play the newer disks.

    When I try to play a blu-ray in the dedicated blu-ray player, it simply boots up as unreadable and asks for a firmware update... but there are no firmware updates to be had for the device any more.

    In my view, it is the over-zealous DRM that is killing the format. The video quality is great, and storage capacity is wonderful, and I would love to get a burner for my PC if discs were affordable. Right now its only use is HD movies that take 3-5 minutes to start playing thanks to DRM and other garbage on the disk.

  • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:40PM (#46924403) Homepage

    This! They made a beautiful cake, moist without being sticky, the perfect crumb. Then thay slathered it with whipped horse shit frosting and wonder why nobody will buy it.

  • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dk20 (914954) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:49PM (#46924455)
    MiniDisc was actually a pretty good system at the time and the discs were fairly cheap. what killed it was the ATRAC format. Since Sony music was so concerned with piracy they introduced their proprietary format to prevent copying. A good example of one division of sony killing another i guess.

    While it might have been a workable solution had they spent any money/time building a proper converter (mp3->actrac) instead of the garbage they released.

    I've been burned by Sony twice (moved to Yamaha long ago) and buying the minidisc which said "mp3 support" right on the box, but having to wait an excessive amount of time to convert to actrac was too much to ask. The wait time naturally assumes the atrac conversion software SonicStage didn't crash/hang...
  • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:55PM (#46924515) Homepage

    I haven't used physical media directly for a rather long time. Any time I do, I remember why it is that I originally stopped. I can certainly see why someone might view streaming video as less bothersome.

    Hollywood spends far too much time fixating on thieves while kicking their paying customer in the balls.

  • Re: Contracting? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday May 05, 2014 @10:24PM (#46925059)

    Not everyone can do that, so they fall back to what's on cable or renting optical disks (such as with netflix or redbox). Then the question is why do DVD rentals keep going but bluray never seems to take off big? One reason is that DVD is "good enough", it's the Windows XP of operating systems. Most people still have standard definition television, and those that can get HD are not all intent to make sure anything they rent has maximum resolution. And then bluray comes with its own drawbacks (same as hd-dvd if it had taken off), DRM, extra cost, players that refuse to work with newer disks, etc.

  • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sremick (91371) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @12:31AM (#46925693)

    I have a movie collection numbering in the many hundreds. All are on original physical media.

    All the reasons that people have for streaming versus playing off discs I agree with... but there's one kicker: once you get past the annoying menus, notices, and previews, and actually get to the movie, the quality can't be compared. Not many people have a 30-50 Mbit/s internet connection that can handle the full bitrate of 1080p video with lossless 5.1 sound, and I can't think of any streaming source that would send that even if someone did. They're all horribly compressed up the ass with lossy compression... noticable even on my 40" TV but especially so on the 92" projector.

    Unskippable menus suck, and online libraries are certainly convenient... but when it comes time to watch the movie, I do kind of want it to actually look good. But I guess I'm a dying breed.

  • Re:Blank Media (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@nexuBALDWINsuk.org minus author> on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:43AM (#46926113) Homepage

    Successful Sony Formats...
    + CD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]
    + Blu-ray http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

    CDs were invented by Phillips, not Sony. And Blu-Ray owes a large part of its success to Sony bundling players with Play Stations.

    Still, if they weren't DRMed to hell and I could actually play them legally, I might buy BluRay stuff... but for now I stick with DVDs.

  • Re:you missed some (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone (964164) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:51AM (#46926371)
    >DAT was a failure.
    As a consumer brand, yes. In pro circles it was the defacto standard (and to some extent still is) for years for high quality copies of audio. Been to live gig? Chances are the backing track was on a DAT.
  • Re:Blank Media (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @04:38AM (#46926513) Journal
    I bought a BD-DL writer for my NAS when I built it 4 years ago. It was a bit under £50, so not much more than a DVD drive (well, a bit more than twice the price, but not much in absolute terms). I also bought a spindle of 10 blank disks. So far, I have not burned a single one. It's big enough to back up some things, but not the things I really want to back up, and splitting the backups across multiple disks is annoying.

    Optical drives always seem to be introduced at a capacity that sounds great for backup, but by the time the media are affordable they're no longer enough.

  • by GauteL (29207) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @04:43AM (#46926531)

    The picture quality is excellent and puts the streaming alternatives to shame. But every time I play a film that I've bought legally from a reputable shop, they treat me like a dirty, stinking pirate. I get shown lots of warnings and there's lots of unskippable propaganda sequences, I've even seen unskippable ads. Even worse, the player shows an obnoxious "this operation is illegal" when I attempt to skip these things and this warning requires an extra click to get rid of. I love buying a real physical disc and watching proper quality video on my TV, it feels much more like a proper movie night, but they were testing my patience from day 1 and this patience has run out.

    The lesson as I see it: don't treat your legitimate customers like criminals. The first thing pirates do is strip these obnoxious warnings.

  • Re:you missed some (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stuarticus (1205322) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @05:55AM (#46926729)
    If it was a live gig there wouldn't be a backing track.
  • by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@nexuBALDWINsuk.org minus author> on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @08:30AM (#46927391) Homepage

    I suspect the subscription/library model will have a kind of "golden age" as bandwidth gets good enough and there are only a tiny number of different libraries to subscribe to, but in the long run the most likely positions seem to be market fragmentation (you have to subscribe to several libraries, and your favourite shows might jump around between them) or consolidating into a near-monopoly (with the natural tendency to then push prices up). Neither is good for consumers

    Or you regulate to prevent exclusivity deals between the content producers and the content distributors/libraries. That way you can watch the same content from several libraries, so you get to choose based on price, quality of service, etc.

    These days, I just want to go to the supermarket, buy a movie, watch it, stick it on my book shelf and rewatch it in 15 years' time. The choices seem to be:
    - DVD: might not be the highest resolution, but it works and if the story is good you don't notice the lack of HD anyway.
    - BluRay: DRM that would require me to replace perfectly functional equipment (which isn't going to happen - I have better uses for that money), and would subject me to unskippable copyright warnings and trailers. Also, looking up the BD+ specifications, things stick out such as content producers being able to execute "native code" on the player, which falls into the "Just... no, not ever!" category for me. Also the danger that my player's AACS keys would be blacklisted, etc. Also, region restrictions...
    - Streaming: the quality isn't great, and I'm going to need a reliable internet connection (so no watching it on the train). But more importantly - I don't get to buy content, only rent it for a limited time. In 15 years time I can't go back and watch something I already bought because chances are it won't be available any more in the library (or I would've been required to pay an ongoing subscription in order to access the content I already bought). And again, region restrictions...
    - Illegal downloading: I don't really subscribe to the idea that you should download illegally if you don't agree with the existing distribution models; although I have some leeway here on downloading content that just plain isn't available in your region (since there can be no economic harm to the content producer in this case).

    So basically, all this boils down to me continuing to buy stuff on DVD (and my media player automatically skips over the copyright warnings and unskippable trailers). Make BluRay so that I can buy it and have it Just Work without any DRM hassles and I would probably be buying content in that format instead of DVD, but I simply don't want to have the faff of jumping through their hoops, so I don't.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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