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Sony, king of proprietary closed formats


March 31, 2006 12:30 PM PST

Sony just never stops trying to snare consumers into its overpriced closed solutions. UMD was just another example of that. Now it is being reported everywhere that (predicably) the format looks like it is going to fail. Duh. Have you seen how much they are trying to charge you for a low res, PSP only version of a movie you probably already own on DVD? Here is a random article on the topic: The bell tolls for UMD. It also doesn't hurt that there are readily available methods for ripping and converting DVDs to play on PSP. Well at least they'll sell some more (gag, retch) memory sticks.

Comments (4)
Paul, March 31, 2006 12:48 PM:

I don't know what's up with all of Sony's crazy storage formats! If video is going to succeed on a mobile device, that device will need a hard drive and software that allows you to put DVDs that you already own on the device. Basically, like iTunes. Actually, iTunes already has video management and syncing, all they need to add is the ability to rip a DVD like they rip audio CDs. We'll probably have colonies on Mars before the MPAA allows that to happen though...

J, March 31, 2006 01:52 PM:

It's weird that you can rip cds to itunes, but it's illegal to rip dvds. Wonder why they never came out with a similar encrypted cd format. Why don't they just allow you to rip dvds to itunes but encrypt the resulting file so it will only play on your iPod, just like audio tracks you download from iTunes. The reason is they want to sell you the video again. They had to let you play mp3s though because otherwise the device would never take off.

As for sony, it would have been much smarter to create a store to download mp4 movies encoded for the PS2. Heck, let it play movies downloaded from the iTunes store, so you can start competing with iPod Video. As you mentioned, they'll still sell memory sticks!

John, April 5, 2006 03:27 PM:

Back when I did hardware (in a different life), OTP's (one time programmable ROMs) were cheaper than EEPROM (erasable ROM) and much much cheaper than flash. The thought I had back then was why don't they release music / media on read only memory cards? The thought was that you would just go down to your local music store and pick up the latest album on ROM in CompactFlash form factor and pop it into your player. it would be encrypted etc. You'd have to carry a pile of these things around, but it would take up less space then your CD collection.

I'm not suggesting we do this now, but I wonder why they didn't go for this model? Perhaps large capacity OTP ROM is expensive these days? At any rate I just thought it might be a good idea for Sony to release movies on some cheap read only memory stick instead of creating a new disc format like UMD.

J, April 5, 2006 03:37 PM:

Yeah, ROMs are a good idea. That was before CD-Rs too. I think they do use this for these little music players for kids that come with like a 60 second version of songs. Probably from a tech perspective, at that time they didn't have good music codecs. Even with MP3, and album still takes around 70MB.

My cynical answer why they didn't do this earlier is that they just simply don't have any reason to change things or rock the boat. They make so much money as is, it's never worth it to change that up unless they're forced to. And since they've got the government lobbied up, "forced to" usually involves some currently illegal behavior on he behalf of their users.

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