Friday, October 21, 2005

DVD Formats

I was looking through for inspiration and found this particular gripe from a consumer who had purchased a Sony Handicam DVD recorder. I dug further and found a history of this happening to Sony’s customers, both on the public on professional spheres. In an interview with a broadcast engineer, Mr Shearer, I discovered a long history of Sony trying to go their own way and not succeeding.

Basically the problem comes from Sony making sure that their products can not be mixed with products from different companies, or even form earlier versions of their own systems. When you buy the DVD Handicam recorder from Sony everything insure correct operation you need to have updated all of your entertainment appliances with current technology. This includes the DVD disks used to record images and the DVD player that you watch the images through. This is because Sony has usually tried to go in its own direction with media formats or systems. When Sony produces a line of DVD’s for example they will use the +R format over the –R DVD format. This means when you fork over your hard earned $1000 dollars to buy the entry level Sony Handicam DVD recorder the DVD produced will be very limited in its application. Until you can locate a DVD player with the +R format you will not be able to view your creative visual master piece. Either that or you will have to buy the latest version DVD player which can play both formats.

Going in their own format direction is called being proprietary. Sony has wanted to be proprietary since the beginning of the home entertainment era with the Betamax format instead of VHS or more recently Sony’s Blue-Ray DVD technology. Neither where picked up by the majority of major movie production studios. Instead VHS dominated the early market and more recently instead of Blue-Ray System’s, studios like New Line Cinemas and Universal have again gone for the competition HD-DVD range created by Toshiba. Arguably both Betamax and Blue-Ray are superior formats but content security and market intractability are better served by the HD-DVD System.

Just ask anyone in the industry about a similar effort made by Sony with its XD Cam Blue-Ray DVD System for the broadcast and professional market. In order to use the Sony XD Cam format studios would have to change their entire production suits to be compatible. Many production studios just cannot justify the cost or explain why they need to change their whole production process for minimal gains. The XD Cam Blue-Ray System has only found use in very specialised areas while rest of the industry has looked to almost any other manufacturer to supply next generation of production equipment.


Based on a Telephone interview with a broad cast engineer Mr B. Shearer. 21 October, 2005.


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