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Sony announces Blu-Ray for PS3


Romier S
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Heres the report on Gamespot:

 

http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/08/04/news_6104095.html

 

TOKYO--According to Kyodo News, Sony officials announced today that they will use Blu-ray Disc technology in their next-generation console, most commonly referred to as the PlayStation 3. Sony revealed its decision at a press conference held by the Blu-ray Disc Founders (BDF), an organization committed to developing and standardizing the next-generation optical disc format. The BDF also used the occasion to announce that it will finalize the specifications for the read-only version of Blu-ray Discs (BD-ROMs) by September 30.
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It would not surprise me now if Sony announced that you will be able to play HD movies using the PS3. At the very least, the ability to do so would not only be an awesome selling point for the PS3 (much like the ability to play DVDs was for the PS2), but it would also help in pushing Blu-Ray during the upcoming format war with HD DVD. Think about it; what better way to launch Sony's format than to include it with a product they know will sell millions of units? It's a very smart move on their part. It will be very interesting to see how this move influences the outcome of said format war in the years to come.

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If its reading Blu-Ray, I really can't see them not adding support for movie playback. They need as many Blu-Ray movie players out there as possible in order to get other studios to create some discs, and making the PS3 one is the surest way to achieve that.

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In terms of the format war this certainly lends the Sony camp a nice advantage. It's certainly going to put a lot of Blu-Ray devices in people's homes.

 

In terms of PS3 being a game player the advantages are less impressive. Xbox2 might require some disc swapping where PS3 won't. I don't think that's much of an advantage. It is however a good way to capture the mindshare of the public. It may make the PS3 look more technically advanced.

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GamesIndustry.biz certainly touched upon blu ray movie playback when they covered the story of Sony finally admitting this, but it is of course a logical option. They'd be fools not to offer it, and as everyone has said, it is a wonderful move on their part for ensuring blu-ray gets into more peoples homes.

 

I do think putting games to blu-ray discs will be optional however. Given Blu-Ray as a format itself is backward compatible with DVD, Playstation3 software may not have to be bound to a blu-ray disc. The choice may be down to the developer, and dictated by the size (and budget) of the game I'd imagine.

 

 

The BDF also used the occasion to announce that it will finalize the specifications for the read-only version of Blu-ray Discs (BD-ROMs) by September 30.

 

This is a home theatre related note I know, but I'm excited about this news! If they get the spec right (more video codec options, lossless audio...etc), HD-DVD is dead on arrival and I'll fully embrace Blu-Ray.

 

Daniel

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Quick question: what's lossless audio?

 

In basic terms, it is as it sounds. Lossless, as in no loss of quality from the original master. It's an exact copy of the source master's quality basically. Formats like Dolby and DTS are what we call lossy formats, as they're heavily they're compressed from the original source. Have you ever seen a DLP screening of a movie in a theatre? They feature uncompressed PCM sound.

 

Ideally what we want in a home HD format when it comes to lossless is MLP from Meridian (license by Dolby). It stands for meridian lossless packing, and is featured on DVD-Audio releases. It's an excellent data reduction technique but presents the sound as it is in the original mix.

 

With Blue Ray, I do wonder if they may offer DSD or some form of it. DSD was developed for SACD by Sony and Philips as their form of lossless presentation. I've not got SACD so I can't say much about DSD.

 

Dan

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I've been insisting this for ages. The postponement of the PS3 launch date is to get their Blu-ray DVD launch in the U.S. in order. I kept insisting the PS3 would have Blu-ray, and that the postponement to '06 is because of that. I still think so.

 

A lot of the PS2's momentum came from the fact it also subbed as a DVD player, when DVD players were at a critical acceptance point. Our PS2 was our first DVD player, and stayed that way for at least 2 years+.

 

Sony is hoping to duplicate the success again. I don't think it'll happen - I continue to think that HD-DVD will not make very big strides, and will stay as a niche format (ala LaserDisc). I'm not convinced you'll see J6P caring that their DVDs look better with HD-DVD.

 

But given a very intelligent push of the PS3, along with some HD-DVD titles, priced very reasonably, maybe it could happen. I'm still doubtful.

 

At the very least, Sony is eyeing the long-term market for Hidef Video. I like the idea of getting a Hi-def upgrade at the same time as PS3, but I don't really like the idea of Sony owning the technology.

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Sony is hoping to duplicate the success again. I don't think it'll happen - I continue to think that HD-DVD will not make very big strides, and will stay as a niche format (ala LaserDisc). I'm not convinced you'll see J6P caring that their DVDs look better with HD-DVD.

 

I agree to an extent, though do be careful not to confuse Blu Ray with HD-DVD as they are two competing formats. What it will ensure is Blu Ray getting a huge installed user base globally, which is attractive to the content providers, and right now both the Blue Ray and HD-DVD groups are fighting for studio support as it is that which will dictate which format is a successful consumer format for pre recorded HD content.

 

PS3 wont boost Blu Ray software adoption to the levels PS2 saw consumers embrace DVD, but it will certainly give it a boost nevertheless. The timing is rather different given PS3 will launch around the time, or shortly after, Blue Ray launches as a stand alone HD format with pre recorded software, and any of us there at the beginning with DVD can verify it was quite a different story at the beginning than it is today years down the line.

 

The PS2, when it launched, really rode the wave of the mass consumer interest that was starting with DVD a few years into the formats existence. The timing was spot on... The PS3 is entering at the ground floor in providing pre recorded Blue Ray playback so things will naturally evolve a little differently.

 

 

...but I don't really like the idea of Sony owning the technology.

 

Sony don't own Blue Ray, they are simply one of the Blu Ray founding members alongside Hitachi, LG Electronics, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, TDK and Thomson. It's no different to Sony being one of many amongst the founding members of DVD (which they were).

 

Dan

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Depends. Microsoft is in on HD-DVD because the codec has been adopted as an option...... yet the Blue Ray group is currently re-evaluating the use of wm9 and other such codecs for Blu Ray discs. So the reality is Microsoft is not yet bound to any one format, and if they're smart, they won't allow themselves to be.

 

wm9 content on a 50gb blu-ray disc would be unreal.

 

Dan

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Aren't blu-ray discs encolsed in a plastic housing -kind of like floppy discs?

 

Given Blu-Ray as a format itself is backward compatible with DVD

 

Dan,

 

The article linked in the first post seems to indicate that blu-ray is not backward compatible. See this quote:

 

HD DVD has the upper hand when it comes to convenience, as its players will be backward-compatible with current DVDs. Sony did not say whether the PS3 would be able to play DVDs

 

Am I mis-reading something? Just want to clarify.

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Aren't blu-ray discs encolsed in a plastic housing -kind of like floppy discs?

 

Not anymore, no. TDK developed a protective coating that allows for them to be used without a protective case. I could remain optional however, but they now havea way to be rid of it (personally I quite like the cartridge idea).

 

 

Am I mis-reading something? Just want to clarify.

 

Well that could be a PS3 specific issue, though I'd be surprised if the console wouldn't play DVDs as well as the Blu Ray group have always stated that Blu Ray players will be backwards compatible with both DVD and CD.

 

That said, one has to wonder just how Sony will bring the PS3 out at an acceptable price, so they could make some alterations to the spec... It could leave a few consumers dissapointed though after having been spoilt by the PS2s DVD and CD capabilities, especially outside of America/Canada and Japan where much of the world has yet to have any great number display devices that will display HD content (notably Europe). DVD playback I think would still be a strong selling point of the Playstation 3.

 

You can read about the optical head Sony invented to playback multiple formats here.

 

Blu-Ray.com is also a handy site for FAQs and news.

 

Dan

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  • 4 weeks later...

SLIGHTLY off topic from the PS3 itself, but regarding the various codecs... I am sure most heard yesterday that Microsoft's wm9 (aka VC9/VC-1) has been made a mandatory codec alongside MPEG 4 and MPEG 2 in Blu Ray which is great news.

 

Blu Ray and HD-DVD now share exactly the same mandatory codecs offered to content providers who will be able to pick whichever one of the three they wish when mastering their discs.

 

Dan

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I won't be surprised if XBox uses Blu-Ray. After yesterday's announcement, I'm starting to wonder if HD-DVD will make it to market. Now that Blu-Ray isn't stubbornly sticking with MPEG-2, I really don't care.

 

Iain,

 

I have heard that Sony will not make DSD/SACD a mandatory part of the standard. I do hope they use some kind of lossless compression (like MLP) on their PCM, otherwise the space waste is silly.

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Yeah there is definitely no DSD plan to my knowledge. MLP would be the best choice, but I fear Meridian's ties to the DVD Forum and DVD-Audio may hinder the chance of this. That said, all one needs to do is to go to Dolby in order to license MLP as they deal it out on Meridian's behalf.

 

DTS have a lossless scheme now; though I am not sure how efficient it is compared to MLP, and indeed whether it is going to be available to the home markets. 640kbps Dolby is noted in some Blu Ray paperwork I have, and that seems a given as the standard lossy audio format. It also notes DTS at 1536kbps which I'd presume would be as option in future as it is today with DVD.

 

They have said they will select a next gen audio codec or two, so hopefully we will hear on that front soon.

 

Copy protection is also something I want them to go public on, and regional coding. If they set up the regional coding system so someone has to dial a free phone number or connect the player to the internet in order to 'register it,' with the keykode only working from within the US and Canada I WILL raise hell. As yet, I've not heard of any plans to actually implement such a scheme just to watch the movie. It does sound like one will have to go through such a practice in order to run a disc on a PC or via a home network...etc. So long as I can import a player form the US and watch movies freely, then that is all I ask.

 

Dan

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