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"It's awful. Sales are near zilch. It's another Sony bomb -- like Blu-ray."

When Sony launched its PlayStation Portable gaming device last year, it was confident that owners wouldn't mind forking over $20 per title to add UMD-based movies to their collection. Well, it appears that Sony's confidence is taking quite a beating.

Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment have put a halt to releasing UMD movies and others are including 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Entertainment are likely to drastically reduce their new releases or turn off the spigot completely.

Over at Universal pictures, one high ranking executive didn't cut Sony any slack concerning the lackluster sales of UMD titles. "It's awful. Sales are near zilch. It's another Sony bomb -- like Blu-ray," the exec claimed.

Even more telling is Wal-Mart's apprehension to the UMD format for movies. Although Wal-Mart representatives declined to comment on reports that the company will stop selling UMD movies altogether, things are looking pretty grim:

A check Wednesday of a Wal-Mart store in Santa Ana, Calif., revealed a drastic shrinkage of UMD inventory. Several shelves of movies in the PSP section were gone; all that remained were seven UMD titles sitting bookshelf-style on the top of the PSP section, with no prices or other information.

People are pointing out many reasons for UMD's failure in the movie spectrum. Some chastise Sony for releasing too many titles too fast instead of gradually releasing titles. Others cite high prices for UMD titles even though bonus materials were often cut out in order to save disc space. Another reason could be that Apple's 5G iPod pretty much stole the limelight in regards to mobile video entertainment, and that was before the UMPC craze.

Or it could be that people are just getting tired of seeing Sony introduce proprietary formats hand over fist. We have Blu-ray fighting it out with HD-DVD, Sony has even reintroduced the MiniDisc format and let's not forget MemoryStick format #194.

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By creathir on 3/30/2006 3:50:55 PM , Rating: 2


This company is so rediculous. When will they learn? Standards have a purpose, and not following them...

Oh I forgot, I have to return my Betamax movies to Blockbuster! I'll incure those darn late fees!

- Creathir

By Gilfred on 3/30/2006 5:57:15 PM , Rating: 4
Red Book? I think that out weighs their failures.

By MDme on 3/30/2006 7:08:31 PM , Rating: 2
Red Book I think was co-developed with Philips.

By masher2 on 3/30/2006 7:40:55 PM , Rating: 5
> "Red Book I think was co-developed with Philips."

And Blu-Ray was co-developed with Philips, Hitachi, and a few others.

By creathir on 3/31/2006 5:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
Sure CD-DA was a success, but notice, not every stinkin' CD made is not stamped "Sony" on it.
The CD was a superb idea, but anytime this company gets their little fingers into a standard as deep as they have with Blu-Ray, like Betamax, it fails. The only reason CD-DA made it was because of the way the format was opened up for everyone to use. This comopany is an utter disaster, and I would HARDLY credit the success of CD-DA to Sony.
- Creathir

By jester700 on 4/4/2006 7:42:04 AM , Rating: 2
There are instances of Sony proprietary stuff that irk me, like Memory Stick. Totally redundant and unnecessary. But some others...

Betamax WAS superior tech to VHS, and VHS didn't have THAT much of a foothold at the time. Had Beta been introduced with the playing times it had when it died, the story may have been different.

Minidisc is a great portable recording technology in terms of size & flexibility. The newest Hi-MD versions are still competitive this many years later. I will soon get another one. The problem wasn't the tech; it was Sony trying to position it as an iPod killer (which it isn't).

Blu-ray isn't going away. It may or may not win the home video wars, but the technology has great use in the PC environment. Again, it is just superior technology.

Sony's failings generally aren't their engineering people; it's their marketing department.

Give me a UMD burner
By IndyJoe on 3/30/2006 2:31:04 PM , Rating: 4
Come-on Sony... Give me a burner for my PC and let me burn my own movies to watch on my PSP.


RE: Give me a UMD burner
By kilkennycat on 4/3/2006 12:49:54 AM , Rating: 2
The greedy studios are partly to blame. If the UMD copies were $4.99, I doubt if UMD would be a failure, and that price is about in line with the picture quality - a 5-inch screen is very forgiving...

What Sony needs to do is drop the UMD prices for all movies from their studio-properties in UMD format to $4.99...that MIGHT save the day for the format... however, I'm sure that their studio greed-moguls would have a fit. BTW, no problem making a handsome profit over manufacturing cost, even at this price.

Bottled Water
By dilz on 4/3/2006 6:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
This was an attempt to get people to pay more for something than they necessarily have to, just like bottled water.

In all cases, you'd be paying for the convenience and gee-whiz factor of being able to watch overpriced Hollywood garbage on a piece of cutting-edge technology.

For the bottled water example (though its contaminated a fraction of the time), you pay for the gee-whiz factor of having a convenient "carrying case" for your otherwise worthless beverage.

No one predicted that bottled water would take off the way it did, but many could predict the demise of the UMD format because of the x-TREmE niche market that it occupied.

I agree with the above poster that UMD should be made available for home recording. I miss the relative ruggedness of floppies - and that's not saying much.

Of course...
By dilz on 4/3/2006 6:39:03 PM , Rating: 2
...there are always flash drives, of which I have a few.

lost mine too
By Zelvek on 3/30/2006 8:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
It seems that every Idiot that does not know any thing about electronics is still unfortunatly byeing sony. they always think it has the most advanced abilities and the highest quality. and the worst part about this is that I work at an electronic store and have to tollerate these Idiots who think I'm the Idiot when I tell them that a Phillips or Toshiba device that is cheeper is just as good. plus in my past experience sony has had the worst costomer sevice when you have to use the warenty they make you jump through three times the hoops that other companys do. Their propietary formats are just the final blow that I cannot tollerat. Rather than trying to make an existing format better rather than simplifying things for the costomer they make somthing totaly neew that cost more and is almost entirly limmited to them.

RE: lost mine too
By abhaxus on 3/30/2006 10:25:47 PM , Rating: 2
eh... philips isn't that great either. sony has its strong products, but they are usually overpriced for what features you get vs something like a toshiba. toshiba and philips have their failures as well (look at the last 2 years of tube TVs from either company). not that i'm a sony fanboy, actually the opposite, but every company has their product lines that are terrible.

RE: lost mine too
By Samus on 3/31/2006 4:45:00 AM , Rating: 2
Toshiba HD widescreen tube TV's were ranked #1 and #3 in the 30-34" segment of consumer reports for 2005. I know, because I researched and bought one.

...and it is beautiful.

Sony was ranked as a not-to-buy in this segment, with poor reliability and high return rates (which can be argued because people return things for dumb reasons)

RE: lost mine too
By otispunkmeyer on 4/18/2006 4:52:27 PM , Rating: 2
sony do have some good stuff

i just bought a their 6GB NW-A1000 MP3 player for the simple fact that all it does is play music. a task which it does very well.

ipod, and the creative zens and stuff just trying to be too much, a music player, a video player, a radio, a picture viewer etc etc.... why bother if you just wanna play music

so there it is, it looks like a pebble, loooks like it has no screen untill you turn it on. its a got a single colour OLED display and it plays music for 20hours...what more could you want. its definately a product that shows sony at their best

I think...
By drunkenmastermind on 3/30/2006 7:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
ALL these companies should stick proprietary formats up their arses and push the play button!

RE: I think...
By Brainonska511 on 3/31/2006 6:29:00 PM , Rating: 4
They could try, but most likely, those formats would be unable to play due to the restrictions of the media.

Do Small Screen Movies Even Work?
By kelmon on 3/31/2006 1:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
I may be way off-base here, but my personal feeling on this subject is that people probably don't really want to watch a 2-hour movie on a small screen. In this respect I think that the Apple iPod with Video has got it right (it'd be better if the battery lasted longer, mind) in that the iTunes Music Store provides relatively short television shows for download and that 30-minute programs work way better on a portable platform on a small screen than a film. The model of subscribing to a show, downloading new episodes and transferring them to your media player, to me, works much better than purchasing disks that can only be used on a single player for each film. In this respect the iPod is more convenient and really should be a model that Sony should consider for the PSP since I presume it is entirely possible to replicate using Memory Sticks rather than UMD.

To be honest, I'm personally not interested in watching movies on a small screen. I'd only be using such a device when I'm travelling and as such I generally do not have that much time to invest in a full movie. A quick 30-minute television program or podcast fits me much better and for this reason I'm not that much interested in the rumours of Apple providing a movie download service if it was only targeted at a small-screen iPod. If I'm going to watch a film then (at worst) I'll watch one on my laptop if I'm travelling or (more likely) I'll simply watch it at home on the television. Small-screen movies just don't work for me.

By math101 on 3/31/2006 5:00:52 AM , Rating: 2

The last time I looked, in the stores the TV screens were getting BIGGER nor smaller. And that includes SONY TFT and plasma. How could SONY make such a strategic mistake?

Some crazy kind of thinking goes like this: If people don't buy mid-format TV's anymore, (ie. 17inch - 24inch) then that must mean they are buying other formats.

... and small screen is another format. Therefore is must be popular.


By drunkenmastermind on 3/31/2006 6:25:09 AM , Rating: 2
I have a 5G iPod. I must say that I have been collecting movies for about seven years and alot of the movies were encoded at quite low resolutions. Now I am re-encoding my avi files to M4V for the ipod. It has really brought my collection back to life because of the small screen. Also because I run a Dell 24inch TFT, running low res movies is just bad taste :)

wrong choice
By uNfReEdMinD on 4/1/2006 1:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
So the Producing companies decided to let the UMD project go...before the release of PS3 which i dont think was too smart..more people will be picking up a PSP just because of the PSP as use as a wireless controller for the PS3 ..just thinking that more people would start to buy the UMD movies now that they know it has another use besides independent play...just my point of view

RE: wrong choice
By XeroThree on 4/2/2006 11:19:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah but...
more people will be picking up a PSP just because of the PSP as use as a wireless controller for the PS3
$150 for a wireless controller? ummm... sorry, No.

RE: wrong choice
By Mitul89 on 4/2/2006 9:21:14 PM , Rating: 2
its actually around $250 for PSP in retails.. Anyways, nintendo DS and Revolution also has connecticivity feature, does that mean more people will buy DS? I dont think so. Besides i dont see problem in it because DS pwns PSP. Its funny how in Japan, DS has no competition. I have learned not to trust sony as soon as they launched PS2.. They said PS2 can push 50 million Polygons, while the highest they went was 10 million.

TV out
By plewis00 on 3/30/2006 4:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
I'm gonna bet one of the biggest failures was because the PSP has no TV out. Even the iPod has this. I mean, the PSP screen is excellent but it's about 4-5 inches (I don't know the exact measurement) and you wouldn't want to fork out $20 (or whatever it is) just to watch it on that tiny screen would you? Spiderman 2 was a nice novelty (because it was free) but there's no way in hell I'm buying a UMD movie.

RE: TV out
By lemonadesoda on 3/30/2006 6:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
Is that really true? No TV or S-VIDEO out?

You gotta laught. Only SONY (or the OLD Apple or the OLD IBM) could so something that stupid. Who on earth was their product manager that decided to exclude a video-out on the PSP. This guy needs to be hung-drawn-quartered.

I guess it all comes down to greed. The markup SONY makes on each UMD movie is outrageous. And I think that greed blinded them.

By Lonyo on 3/30/2006 7:00:37 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, it took this long for some people to start realising Sony sucks?

RE: Bah
By Samus on 3/31/2006 4:42:21 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I was wondering.

Is this really news? We're talking about Sorny! They gross $60B annually and net profit less than $1B

I'm sorry, but those figures are just sick. Samsung has a 800% larger profit margin than they do.

It's pricing, kids
By caboosemoose on 3/31/2006 6:58:20 AM , Rating: 2
My view is that the problem is pure pricing. Given that PSP movies are low res and can't be played on any other deice, they should be seriously cheap. At $5 a pop you might have something. But as ever, content providers are clueless about what people consider a fair price.

RE: It's pricing, kids
By mechwarrior1989 on 4/1/2006 1:23:02 AM , Rating: 2
I gotta agree, especially when one can get DVD's for less than $15 a pop and sometimes even $10 why would you ever want to buy a UMD for your PSP for even more than that?

By otispunkmeyer on 4/18/2006 4:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
they say no ones watchin movies on PSP?

i sure am, im just not paying for the UMD thats all. my 1gb MS and PSPvideo 9 is all i need.

top gear, fifth gear, movies, all just encoded and whacked on MS. even extends the battery life coz you dont have the disc spinning all the time.

and lol at the guy calling blu-ray another sony bomb! lol

RE: nevermind
By otispunkmeyer on 4/18/2006 4:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
oh actually one crap bit about movies on the MS

the memory stick only lets you have half the screens res max. so it gets stretched to fill the screen.

its not that bad, but its still a needless limitation

This was obviously stupid,
By BadAcid on 3/30/2006 3:05:47 PM , Rating: 3
just like those stupid cartoon commercials.
They make actual portable DVD players, that play actual DVDs, for less than the cost of a PSP (comparable battery life?) Who would want to spend 15-20$ for a movie that would ONLY work on a PSP, that they were expected to also have on DVD format? My friend got a PSP with that puzzle game, yeah it had cool music, (now it's a paperweight), but seriously, I thought Nintendo already marketed a portable system that played Tetris back in 1989. have to fall before you rise...
By clementlim on 3/31/2006 8:12:52 AM , Rating: 1
After all these years, I still have my 1993 cassette walkman and 1999 CDplayer from Sony. Works like charm...and not to forget PSOne and PS2, arguably, best products from the walkers...

Anyway, point is, they have to fail before realising their mistakes and pick themselves up. Hey, they failed to make an alliance with Nintendo and created PSOne, right? Yeah, minidisc, Betamax, memory stick duo (and all its siblings) etc. they all flopped. I don't know about Blu-ray but the price is extremely limiting. USD1500 = RM5250 here in Malaysia.

PSP is a pretty nice idea. I say, get it polished Sony. PSP2 anyone? BTW, I don't own a PSP...

By Topweasel on 3/31/2006 9:38:39 AM , Rating: 2
See you don't understand, Its not that they don't come up with good Ideas, its that once they get a good idea they change it and screw it up and try to limit it to just them. The Walkman and CD was just the stepping stones to lead them to Minidisc, Their digital cameras where created for memory stick, their camcorders for whatever the hell their using now, DVD for Blu-ray, and now they take the PSone and PS2 success to attempt to force people into the PS3 which combines half those failures. The worst is the 1,500 dollars they are going to charge for Blu-ray player, and somehow everyone believes 2 months later that Sony is going to sell the PS3 with Blu-ray for 300-400. Histroy has shown that while they can make a good product as long as they stick to standards that in the end it isn't enough for them, and when that happens they always tumble.

what we have is not always best
By littlebitstrouds on 4/4/2006 5:06:20 PM , Rating: 1
A little move here or there and these inovations don't suck and sony has a winner. All this Sony bashing and we fail to notice one thing: They took the chance, released something new, and we the consumer decided not to buy it. At least they keep trying unlike most companies who simply put their spin on it. Hey it's not like they're microsoft and everything we get is preloaded w/ Sony crap. Most of this stuff we can choose not to buy and do.

I say keep anything coming, they might hit and you guys will be eating your words. PS BETAMAX has the resolution of bad dvd players, not bad for a 20 year old product. And if you dissagree you never owned a GOOD BETAMAX.

By gplracer on 4/16/2006 8:55:35 AM , Rating: 2
I did not buy a psp because of this exact issue. I might have considered it if the movies could be rented. Let people copy movies they already own and home movies and then Sony will have a winner. Too bad Sony is killing the sales of a product that could be the envy of all.

Sony has lost my vote.
By Chrobis on 3/30/2006 5:27:57 PM , Rating: 2
Well about 5 years ago when I was building my first home entertainment system I thought of Sony very highly. I got a wega, a receiver, DVD player, my PS2 all from Sony. But once CD burners started coming out (home theater types, not computer) and Sony didn’t come out with one and kept on pushing their minidisk format I started to lose all respect for the Sony brand. I see Sony has a company that has long out lived its superiority and its still trying to ride its name for sales. Similar products from other companies are often significantly cheaper and often come with even more options. There is almost no reason to ever buy a Sony product instead of one of its competitors.

It's digital rights backlash
By SwissMac on 4/4/2006 9:58:34 AM , Rating: 2
Ever since the digital rights management root kit fiasco I vowed never to buy ANY Sony technology or media again - you never know what secret controls they are adding without your knowledge!

A shame, because they used to be a respectable company with great products. But really, a video player you can't plug in to the TV is as stupid as a digital recorder that cannot upload files to a computer digitally (the MiniDisc). I bought an Edirol R1 instead (part of the Roland group). Now my digital uploads take seconds, not hours! And the quality's great.

By clementlim on 3/31/2006 8:11:45 AM , Rating: 1
After all these years, I still have my 1993 cassette walkman and 1999 CDplayer from Sony. Works like charm...and not to forget PSOne and PS2, arguably, best products from the walkers...

Anyway, point is, they have to fail before realising their mistakes and pick themselves up. Hey, they failed to make an alliance with Nintendo and created PSOne, right? Yeah, minidisc, Betamax, memory stick duo (and all its siblings) etc. they all flopped. I don't know about Blu-ray but the price is extremely limiting. USD1500 = RM5250 here in Malaysia.

PSP is a pretty nice idea. I say, get it polished Sony. PSP2 anyone? BTW, I don't own a PSP...

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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