updated 11:15 am EST, Fri November 9, 2007
Sony Chief on Blu-Ray
Sony may have to shift its strategy for Blu-Ray to compete with HD DVD, chief executive Sir Howard Stringer said [free sign-up required] late yesterday at a presentation in Manhattan. The company head described the competition's new phase has been described as a "stalemate" as the advantages of a technically superior format and wider movie format support have eroded in recent months. Sony and other backers of Blu-Ray have not normally been concerned about cost and could compete largely on the "merits" of their format until Paramount's defection to HD DVD for nearly all its movies, reducing the incentive for home theater enthusiasts to hold out for exclusive titles.
The price of HD DVD players has dropped significantly over the past year, temporarily selling for as little as $99 but more regularly selling for $200 or less as vendors either clear out older models or else offer short-term promos for newer players. Most Blu-Ray players have sold for $400 or more and are highlighted by the 40GB PlayStation 3, which includes no traditional remote control but includes a hard drive for game and media downloads as well as Wi-Fi networking.
Sir Stringer downplayed the significance of winning the battle, noting that it was a matter of honor rather than necessity to dictate the format for HD movies in the future. Ideally all parties would have come to a mutual agreement on a format before the conflict began, he said. The executive also noted that the PlayStation 3's future was looking brighter once again and saw doubled sales after recent price cuts.