|Sony’s Playstation 3 Delayed Over Blu-ray Specs?|
|Home Theater News Blu-ray Hardware News|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Thursday, 23 February 2006|
CNN.com reported that Sony’s much-anticipated Playstation 3 gaming system could miss its slated spring 2006 debut, reportedly due to concerns about specifications related to the Blu-ray drive that powers it. Blu-ray discs are Sony’s foray into the world of HD capable discs and enjoy a healthy support group that includes Sony Pictures, Disney, Fox, Intel, Panasonic, Samsung and many others around the consumer electronics world.
Playstation 3’s delay comes as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is already to market and selling well with its high-definition games. In terms of home video, the first HD-DVD players, the Toshiba-based rivals to Blu-ray, are scheduled for release on March 15, 2006, with online retailers like Chrutchfield already taking pre-orders for the $500 and $800 players. Reportedly, the initial launch of HD-DVD titles will be underwhelming, but with potentially no Blu-ray weeks away from launch, early adopters might need to take a shot at HD-DVD to cure their jones for HD content on a disc. It is hard to predict how this will impact the consumer-unfriendly format war that Sony and Toshiba have prepared for over HD discs.
Technical concerns about Blu-ray are unlikely to be about whether the players work. They have been shown multiple times as prototypes at industry tradeshows. The likely issue is copy protection. In the high stakes worlds of video games and home video, the question, is will the studios and game developers allow their content to freely flow via a digital connection from your player to your HDTV, or will they want some sort of copy protection? In the case of HDCP copy protection, one of the more notable options on the market, your set will need to make a “digital handshake” with your device. Reportedly upwards of 7,000,000 HDTV sets simply cannot make the handshake, leaving the people who helped get HDTV off the ground in its early days needing to invest in another set. Consumer groups are set to fight HDCP if need be, but that doesn’t calm the nerves of studios.
One way around technical problems related to copy protection is to have the producer not encrypt the content with copy protection at all. This would mean, even with a protected signal making a handshake between source and monitor, that the content would travel freely down a digital cable. Studios are afraid of piracy, as are game makers, but they are also conflicted about alienating and/or angering customers.