Joined: 11 Nov 2007
|Posted: Thu May 29, 2008 6:28 pm Post subject: Blu-ray Bashing Blues
|John C. Dvorak, the columnist at PC World, writes in this editorial piece:
| Blu-Ray Bashing Blues
by John C. Dvorak
Has anyone but me noticed the almost incredible barrage of bad news regarding Blu-ray and the future of the optical-disc formats? It's never-ending; and everyone, including my nemesis Lance Ulanoff, is caught up in what can conservatively be called piling on—or liberally dubbed mass hysteria.
It's as though people are disappointed by the fact that the HD DVD–versus-Blu-ray war is over. They didn't want it ever to end, as if it were the greatest football game in history, and we were all watching in the stands. "It's over! Oh, no!"
Meanwhile, all we get is bad news about Blu-ray. Pundits say nobody wants it now. Huh? How does that work?
I've concluded that a number of simultaneous undercurrents are involved in this negative press. There are three camps, as far as I can tell.
The first are the Sony bashers: a group that is out of control, no thanks to PR-incompetent Sony itself, which never does anything to stop the bleeding. The tech press, including me, has been highly critical of Sony and its bumblings. This anti-Blu-ray effort is just more of the same.
The second group comprises the futurists, who believe that the optical disc should be abolished in favor of downloaded content. And the third is made up of the Xbox 360 aficionados, who know that a dead Blu-ray format will hamper PS3 sales by keeping manufacturing costs high.
It could be argued that other vested interests are involved, but I believe that these three market segments are the primary problem. The first group isn't going away anytime soon—at least, not until Sony addresses the problem of keeping the media happy. Sushi parties would help. Oh, and returning phone calls might be useful. Actually trying to stay in touch with the press would be a good idea, too. You'd think the company was run by amateurs, or worse.
The second group is more problematic, and it's making headway. Despite the ridiculously large sales of blank writable discs and the continued popularity of watching movies on the home-theater DVD player, this group insists that all this is as archaic as vinyl records.
The curious logic here eludes me. Yes, downloaded music has bitten into the CD music business but has nowhere near killed it. And although it appears that downloading movies may eventually have an impact, add to this mix the concept of downloading HD movies at perhaps 30 gigabytes a pop: It's insane. For one thing, the downloads take forever, even via the best connections. And simply put, ISPs will not tolerate it, period. I do not blame them. So it would seem logical to me that Blu-ray discs would be popular and welcome; but no, they are not.
You can partially blame Apple and Microsoft, which both have a vested interest in content downloading. But whatever the case, the disc is not dead. And I, for one, would welcome a Blu-ray solution for data backup on machines that are overloaded with large photo files.
Okay, now for the last group: the game fanatics, who are reminiscent of high school kids in the 1950s and '60s who centered their lives around arguing whether a Ford or a Chevy was the best car. It was—and is—ridiculous.
Today's kids know little about cars, except perhaps that they can add a noisy muffler and weird wheel rims to a Toyota. The automobile fanaticism of yesterday has been transferred to various game platforms—mainly the Xbox and the PlayStation.
Again, Microsoft is involved. A lot of pundits theorized that the only reason Microsoft backed HD DVD was to screw up Sony while promoting the download-everything concept. The theory is that HD DVD was just a stalling tactic, and the company was insincere in its support.
All this is possible. If it was a scheme, it worked.
I don't buy any of this, however, and I'd love to see read/write Blu-ray in all my computers tomorrow.
What's wrong with you people?
I wholeheartedly agree. I'm getting sick and tired of all the articles, columns and forum postings suggesting "Blu-ray has won the battle but is about to lose the war."
I really does seem like a lot of people didn't want the war to end at all.
Come to think of it, I think a lot of people also never wanted the battle between SACD and DVD-Audio to end.