“A year after it was launched in the US, the PlayStation Portable’s days as a hand-held movie-viewing device appear numbered. Disappointing sales have slowed the flow of movies on the proprietary Universal Media Disc to a mere trickle. At least two major studios have completely stopped releasing movies on UMD, while others are either toying with the idea or drastically cutting back,” Thomas Arnold reports for Australian IT. “And retailers also are cutting the amount of shelf space they’ve been devoting to UMD movies, amid talk that Wal-Mart is about to dump the category entirely.”
“Wal-Mart representative Jolanda Stewart declined comment on reports that the retailer was getting out of the UMD business. But studio sources said such a move was imminent. A check of a Wal-Mart store in Santa Ana, California, 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,” Arnold reports. “Universal Studios Home Entertainment had stopped producing UMD movies, according to executives who asked not to be identified by name. ‘It’s awful. Sales are near zilch. It’s another Sony bomb – like Blu-ray,’ one executive said.”
MacDailyNews Note: Universal backs HD DVD, a lower capacity rival to Blu-ray (30Gb dual layer vs. 50GB dual layer respectively), along with Microsoft, Toshiba and others. Blu-ray is hardly a “bomb.” That’s just some plain ol’ FUD from Universal. The next-gen DVD war hasn’t even started, yet. Apple is playing both sides of the fence in a wait and see mode. According to a press release from April 17, 2005, “Apple is committed to both emerging high definition DVD standards—Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. Apple is an active member of the DVD Forum which developed the HD DVD standard, and last month joined the Board of Directors of the Blu-ray Disc Association.”
Arnold continues, “‘No one’s watching movies on PSP,’ said the president of one of the six major studios’ home entertainment divisions. ‘It’s a game player, period.’ Observers speculated that the studios released too many movies, too fast. But while sales were initially strong – two Sony Pictures titles even crossed the 100,000-unit threshold after just two months – the novelty quickly wore off, observers say. The arrival last fall of Apple’s video iPod only hastened the PSP’s decline as a movie-watching platform… But next week, Sony Computer Entertainment executives will begin making the rounds of the Hollywood studios to discuss plans for making the PSP able to connect to TV sets.”
Full article here.
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