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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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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
Agree.

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.

SONYLOGIC (TM)


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 :)


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