Technology: November 2005 Archives

So there's some market research released by Nielsen about gamers.

Xbox 360 vs. PS3: While most are taking the wait and see approach, those that own and prefer Xbox are more likely to buy Xbox 360 than those that own and prefer PS2 are to buy the PS3

Ars Technica comments on this, saying:

Is this showing doubt on the part of the PlayStation faithful, or is this merely what we should except given the fact that so much more is certain about the Xbox 360 right now? My bet is on the latter.

My immediate reaction was: I bet you're right. I liked my PS2. I've never really liked Microsoft. The only reason I run Windows, at all, is because I want to play games, and I think trying to get my SLI setup running under Linux (where I spend more net time) would be a herculean task at best.

Then I realized: I don't like Sony any more either. How do I dislike thee, Sony? Let me count the ways:

  • You released the PSP with code signing and no open API, meaning I have to rely on a buffer overflow to use all the cool code out there. (This is why I do not own a PSP)
  • You demoted Ken Kutaragi, who called Sony's content controls "overly restrictive", in favor of promoting Howard Stringer, who headed the content divison and, unsurpisingly, supported DRM, leading to...
  • You started rootkitting people's boxes

BB notes what a fiasco this has become.

That, and you missed the boat as the industry swung away from tube TVs. You had the glorious Trinitron, and it didn't matter because of the sea change of LCD/Plasma/DLP. You've lost it.

Meanwhile, the temptation of the XBox is strong. I've lamented that I was never able to play Jade Empire because it was XBox only. Next up, they're going to XBox-only Mass Effect, damn them.

It's not that Microsoft has gotten any better, but you can almost sense them being eaten alive by the churning froth of web applications springing up all over the place. Soon, gaming will be the only thing keeping anyone on Windows. Hell, if we see Linux permeate some foreign market - say, China - we may well see Linux simultaneous release become mandatory. You want millions of Chinese people to play your MMO? Better make it for Linux. In a sense, it's one reason I've always hoped Microsoft successfully clamped down on privacy. I think 100% legal, authorized copies of Windows would make Linux a market leader in a matter of a year and change.

So even if you liked the PS2 - and I did - has Sony crossed the line? Honestly, how wants to buy a game system from the losers who slipped a buggy rootkit onto millions of CDs without a word? And Sony doesn't think they did anything wrong, and have said as much through their RIAA mouthpiece.

So, Sony, you unabashed, unapologetic, out of touch giant - here's to your recklessness... and my XBox?

TiVo to iPod/PSP coming

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Via PVRBlog I discovered that TiVo will allow you to move TiVoToGo video to your iPod and PSP. I have several observations about this.

It's a smart move, in that it helps differentiate from Set-Top offerings. One of the most dangerous things for TiVo will be set top DVR offerings. While I use TiVo at home, my wife selected Time Warner's DVR "service" for her office. It's laggy and generally inferior, in my opinion, but it doesn't require any sort of purchase and it's set up for you. Anything that differentiates TiVo from those set top boxes is good.

It gives you real value for your TiVo fee. As Ars Technica pointed out, being able to cheaply populate your iPod (or PSP) with video which might otherwise cost you $2 goes a long way to "soften the blow" of their monthly fee. Ars Technica also astutely points out that this is exactly why media companies want a Broadcast Flag. It isn't piracy, not while the "flag" is merely an instruction to consumer electronics that naughty devices could ignore. It's because they want to charge you many times for the same media.

This is likely to encourage content providers to get their shows up. Whether they do it via the iTMS or via something like TW/AOL's free In2TV service, they're going to want to get them up to compete with "free time shifting".

As usual, the question I ask myself is: if I'm a media exec, why am I not leading the charge? When Apple announced a video iPod, I'd have been the first one to want to slap my media library up for download. Can a 320x240 resolution show really cannibalize DVD sales? I think not. This is really about convenience. But frankly, networks could offer their own media player that forced you to sit through some commercials, and do distribution via p2p to cut their bandwidth costs, and essentially just expand their audience without any downside. Hell, if they put the stuff on a PC, they could even reserve some screen space for text or banner ads if they didn't interfere with the show. Hello, captive audience. But they won't think of that until there's another paradigm dominating the market - and it won't be long now.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Technology category from November 2005.

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