Weekly News Roundup (14 October 2007)

Once again, I’ll go through all the news items that have gone through the Digital Digest website and forum for the week (I’ve kept this up for a month, a new record for me in terms of keeping up with anything).

Starting with copyright related news as usual, slashdot has slashdotted an article about a website (which I will not link for legal and personal objections, but search for “tvboxset” on Google) that is selling DVDs for TV episodes. Not so strange, except that these aren’t original DVDs, rather DVD-Rs containing shows probably recorded off TV or downloaded. Now, why isn’t the MPAA going after sites like this and instead, going after regular viewers and even websites like Digital Digest? In fact, professional piracy outfits are making enormous profits using professional DVD replicators to mass produce pirated DVDs to sell for profit (usually to fund further illegal activities), yet it’s only Torrentspy that’s getting the MPAA’s attention. You’ve got to wonder sometimes. And speaking of targeting regular users rather than professional pirates, Ian Roger of Yahoo Music says that companies shouldn’t waste any more time and effort on DRM, which has obviously failed to stop music sharing and at the same time, piss off regular consumers. Damn right.

Now in gaming news, and as covered in my last blog entry, Greg Zeschuk of Bioware says that the Xbox 360 and PS3 are pretty much the same in terms of performance, and that Blu-ray storage won’t necessarily win the day for PS3. While I agree, having more time to think about it, there are certainly situations where more space is good. Things like if you want to package multiple language versions of the same game onto a single disc. Of course, this limitation can be overcome by distributing different language versions separately, and it’s not an issue of gameplay. There’s always the possibility of multi-DVD releases, and don’t rule out Xbox 360 one day using HD DVD as a gaming format if/when it becomes necessary. The Wii has a new firmware out that allows USB keyboards to be used. I would really like the Xbox 360 to support a keyboard/mouse combination for gaming, although it would give certain users an unfair advantage in online gaming. Meanwhile, Capcom has dropped PS3 support for its upcoming game Monster Hunter 3, and possibly other games too, due to “high development cost” on the PS3. Capcom seems to have a surprise though, with a countdown clock that is set to reach zero in two days time and the mysterious phrase “Prepare Yourself”. PS3 fans are thinking it will be a PS3 related surprise to make up for dropping Monster Hunter 3. The relatively poor PS3 sales is probably a contributing factor to developers switching their focus to the Xbox 360/PC/Wii platforms – the maths is simply, the more consoles out there, the more profitable a game will be. In an effort to boost PS3 sales before the important holiday season, Sony is set to release its 40 GB “PS3 Lite”, featuring less hardware feature (no emulation, less USB ports, no memory card ports and comes in a different color). I like this move, although I’m disturbed by news that the “full” version will be discontinued when stock sells out (in an effort to drive sales to the “full” version, I suppose). Sony should release 3 different PS3 packages, the PS3 Lite ($399), a PS3 Standard ($499) that adds PS2 software emulation and a 60 GB HDD to the PS3 Lite and a PS3 Pro ($599) with 80 GB HDD, full hardware emulation and all hardware features and. Simple!

And finally, to HD news. Toshiba says HD DVD player sales are back on top, but only if you do not include the PS3 (to be fair, the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive is not included either). But the sale numbers are so small, both for hardware and movies, that the release of Transformers on HD DVD might turn the whole sales numbers upside down (currently number 6 on the Amazon DVD/HD DVD/Blu-ray bestseller list, was as high as number 3). A quite different type of HD DVD promotion, to celebrate the release of Star Trek TOS on HD DVD, nearly 300 theatres in the US will screen the HD version of the episode “The Menagerie”. LG is set to release its second generation dual-format player, this time with full interactivity (minus BD-Live for Blu-ray) for both HD formats. If they can release it at $500 to $600, it will sell quite well I think (one/two hundred dollars more than a single format player is cheap insurance against not being able to play that movie you want because it was released in the “wrong” format). But it will probably sell for $999, which explains why dual-format players only have a 2% market in HD standalones at the moment. Shame. In the same article, the HD DVD people are already talking about private networked presentations. Don’t really know how it works, but at least they are talking about it while Blu-ray has yet to even announce a BD-Live network capable player (there’s no reason why the PS3 can’t be made to support it now, except for the lack of any software to take advantage of it due to no other BD-Live capable players being available, even from Sony). If HD DVD really wants to win the HD war, all they need to do is to perfect HD DVD/DVD combos (no more playback errors, and preferably do one of those single sided multi-layer combos where both the HD and DVD versions are on the same side), then for the studio (most likely HD DVD die-hard Universal) to release a single combo version for all their hit movies still at the same price as DVD releases. And at the same time, don’t release a DVD only version of the same movie to force even DVD users to buy the combo version (the “budget” DVD only version to come in a few months time). If HD DVD is really not that much more expensive than DVD to manufacture, then it costs the studio very little, and will boost HD DVD in a huge way (albeit artificially). It would make for a smooth transition from DVD to HD DVD as long as the pricing remains the same. And Blu-ray can’t even compete if they wanted to.  

That’s all for this week. Join me, the same time, same blog, next week for more WEEKLY ROUNDUP ADVENTURES!!


One Response to “Weekly News Roundup (14 October 2007)”

  1. DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest » Blog Archive » Are you a fanboi? Says:

    […] mentioned in the last news roundup that Capcom had set up a countdown clock to reveal something. “Prepare Yourself” was […]

About Digital Digest | Help | Privacy | Submissions | Sitemap

© Copyright 1999-2012 Digital Digest. Duplication of links or content is strictly prohibited.