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MacBytes
May 9, 2006, 10:25 PM
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Category: News and Press Releases
Link: Sony bows to Apple format (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060509232558)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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mkrishnan
May 9, 2006, 10:38 PM
Supporting AAC is kind of a "duh" ... but I wonder if Sony got anything out of this, behind the scenes, from Apple? Pretty much anyone can easily support AAC...Fairplay is still locked....

SilvorX
May 9, 2006, 10:42 PM
it didn't say anything about songs from the iTMS, so I guess it means no compatibility for m4p files duh!

..unless if I'm actually wrong

bousozoku
May 9, 2006, 10:43 PM
Well, it's not Apple's format but it's one they've been promoting. Still, if every player supports AAC, Apple might bend a bit and licence FairPlay but that's a very long way from now.

Zman5225
May 9, 2006, 11:04 PM
Wait a sec, a semi decent smart business decision from Sony? I can't wait for them to go under. All they do is proprietary garbage that always fails. They will learn when they fold.

BenRoethig
May 9, 2006, 11:11 PM
Hopefully this is the first step to a PSP version of itunes.

grapes911
May 9, 2006, 11:21 PM
Wait a sec, a semi decent smart business decision from Sony? I can't wait for them to go under. All they do is proprietary garbage that always fails. They will learn when they fold.

While Sony does make a lot of proprietary stuff, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Much of their work has forced other developers to create technology. Plus, they've been involved with many products that you probably use.


What has Sony invented or helped invent:

Reel to Reel tape recorders
transistor radios
walkman - which single handedly made portable music popular
DV format - which many digital video cameras use
PSX/PS2 - one of the biggest reasons MS created the xbox and why we have next generation systems
CD
DVD

I'm sure I could thing of more if I tried.

Zman5225
May 9, 2006, 11:29 PM
Nope didn't say it was a complete bad thing as I do realize better companies had to produce things that the average consumer really wanted and probably borrowed some designs from Sony or just improved them so that everyone could use them. Not only that, they really think that their products are superior to everyone's, and tack on a nice extra price tag on it. For example the latest PS3 which is subpar and a copy cat version of the other next gen consoles, with a hefty price tag to boot. They really do suffer from the Bose and Monster cable syndrone.

JRM PowerPod
May 9, 2006, 11:30 PM
While Sony does make a lot of proprietary stuff, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Much of their work has forced other developers to create technology. Plus, they've been involved with many products that you probably use.


What has Sony invented or helped invent:

Reel to Reel tape recorders
transistor radios
walkman - which single handedly made portable music popular
DV format - which many digital video cameras use
PSX/PS2 - one of the biggest reasons MS created the xbox and why we have next generation systems
CD
DVD

I'm sure I could thing of more if I tried.

I agree everyone should quit giving sony such a hard time, everything in my house is pretty much sony, and for me it has always worked. The electronics industry would suck without sony.

JRM PowerPod
May 9, 2006, 11:36 PM
Nope didn't say it was a complete bad thing as I do realize better companies had to produce things that the average consumer really wanted and probably borrowed some designs from Sony or just improved them so that everyone could use them. Not only that, they really think that their products are superior to everyone's, and tack on a nice extra price tag on it. For example the latest PS3 which is subpar and a copy cat version of the other next gen consoles, with a hefty price tag to boot. They really do suffer from the Bose and Monster cable syndrone.

Are you for real? Seriously, 'subpar' um have you used one yet? NO. But have u seen the specs for it? WELL OBVIOUSLY NO.... Coz it belts the 360 in terms of power and it has Blu-ray. This is the true next gen console. Have a look before u make frivilous comments.

Bob Knob
May 9, 2006, 11:46 PM
While Sony does make a lot of proprietary stuff, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Much of their work has forced other developers to create technology. Plus, they've been involved with many products that you probably use.


What has Sony invented or helped invent:

Reel to Reel tape recorders
transistor radios
walkman - which single handedly made portable music popular
DV format - which many digital video cameras use
PSX/PS2 - one of the biggest reasons MS created the xbox and why we have next generation systems
CD
DVD

I'm sure I could thing of more if I tried.

The reel to reel wasn't originally Sony, and they stole the walkman, Sony was against DV till mid stream, Philips lifted almost all the development weight for CD.
But Sony did help move lots of those items into the mainstream. It's actually sad that in the last several years Sony went on such a major slide. They sure aren't the company they once were.

grapes911
May 9, 2006, 11:52 PM
The reel to reel wasn't originally Sony, and they stole the walkman, Sony was against DV till mid stream, Philips lifted almost all the development weight for CD.
But Sony did help move lots of those items into the mainstream. It's actually sad that in the last several years Sony went on such a major slide. They sure aren't the company they once were.

All I never said Sony exclusively invented any of these things. They were just involved in them. And without their money and name brand, many of these things probably wouldn't have been as big as they where/are.

Zman5225
May 9, 2006, 11:54 PM
Are you for real? Seriously, 'subpar' um have you used one yet? NO. But have u seen the specs for it? WELL OBVIOUSLY NO.... Coz it belts the 360 in terms of power and it has Blu-ray. This is the true next gen console. Have a look before u make frivilous comments.

I know the specs of both machines thanks, but in case you don't ill post them for you since you really think they are astronomical and BELTS THE 360!!!!!!!! lol, good times

scroll down a bit for the specs http://ps3.ign.com/articles/614/614783p1.html

Also, keep in mind the PS3 costs 200 bucks more then the 360, has technology that was borrowed or ancient (see controller) included besides the newer dvd player. The lower end machine does not include hdmi ports, wifi, smaller hard drive, no memory ports. In case you dont know what that means, not having the HDMI ports on the cheaper system, it simply means that they wont be able to do that sweet 1080p they keep boasting about. My intent was not to start a console wars thing in here, just simply stating my opinion, no reason to get your panties all wrinkled up.

Thats the reason people can't have civilized debates nowadays, people always jump all over other people for letting their opinions fly. Just so you know also, i'm not a 360 fan, or Wii fan, or ps3 fan, just a gaming fan, and i'll probably own all 3. I play for the games, not the hardware. Specs are just specs.

emaja
May 10, 2006, 12:32 AM
For example the latest PS3 which is subpar and a copy cat version of the other next gen consoles, with a hefty price tag to boot.

Yeah, a next-gen console with Blu-ray DVD standard is so subpar I can hardly believe they are actually releasing such garbage. Why bother?

They really should follow the 360 lead and package the too larger to be useful with button in the wrong place "Hamburger" controller - as cutting edge as it is - with it and charge extra for an add-on HD DVD player.

Fanboys...

Can we actually wait for the console to be released before bashing something you haven't even seen?

Think of it this way. The HD DVD players run $499.99 and the PS3 with Blue-ray and HDMI as well as the 60GB HD costs $599.99 - that's a pretty darn good deal if you ask my opinion.

But you didn't and already decided it is garbage because it has Sony's name on it.

Sheesh!

balamw
May 10, 2006, 12:34 AM
Well, it's not Apple's format but it's one they've been promoting. Still, if every player supports AAC, Apple might bend a bit and licence FairPlay but that's a very long way from now.
Well it's more Apple than anyone else since it's AAC in a QT wrapper, and it is the default import format for iPod+iTunes. I'm shocked that Sony doesn't want to transcode it to ATRAC, as they have insisted on doing with MP3 for so long. :p

I've been saying for a while that the first thing most of the "iPod killers" need to do to rally get a foothold is to peacefully coexist with iTunes, and possibly even use the iTunes library as a source.

B

EricNau
May 10, 2006, 12:35 AM
Wow, some things can't even be mentioned without it turning into a debate.

Back on track...

Still, the electronics manufacturer's acceptance of Apple's AAC format
It's not "Apple's format" - they just use it.
For the record, AAC stands for "Advanced Audio Coding" and NOT "Apple Audio Codec" like some believe.

In April, Apple controlled 52 percent of the nation's portable digital music player market, in terms of units sold, according to market researcher BCN Inc.
Last I heard it was much higher - at least 80% (or am I wrong?)

Doctor Q
May 10, 2006, 12:36 AM
Recent stats on market percentages:In April, Apple controlled 52 percent of the nation's portable digital music player market, in terms of units sold. Sony is a distant second with a 15 percent share, followed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., with a 7 percent share.

Bob Knob
May 10, 2006, 01:41 AM
All I never said Sony exclusively invented any of these things. They were just involved in them. And without their money and name brand, many of these things probably wouldn't have been as big as they where/are.

I wasn't really disagreeing with you, just putting your references into perspective. Sony was more of a "pull things together and polish them" type of innovator (one thing that even Jobs pays homage to from time to time). But Sony never really was a great breaker of new ground. One of the biggest reasons for their downturn in the last several years has been because of their shift to a "total control" style of R&D. A lot of people accuse Apple of heading down the same path in the recent past, and in some ways they are correct... but most of Apple's "total control" projects have paid off for them, the same can't be said for Sony.

I just heard the new specs and price for Sony's new game console, I think it is a hell of a good package for the price, I just hope John Q Public sees the value and Sony doesn't get wiped out.

Lollypop
May 10, 2006, 02:18 AM
wonder if sony is just trying to play every format or if they have something in mind with AAC support, they still dont use itunes or support the iTMS so there is no big reason for them to go AAC other than universal support. Good thing though, less reason to use that bloody wma format! :D

wedge antilies
May 10, 2006, 02:29 AM
Last I heard it was much higher - at least 80% (or am I wrong?)

I believe the article is Japanese, so the numbers would represent JAPANESE market share not AMERICAN market share.

Lixivial
May 10, 2006, 03:56 AM
Wait a sec, a semi decent smart business decision from Sony? I can't wait for them to go under. All they do is proprietary garbage that always fails. They will learn when they fold.

...

Nope didn't say it was a complete bad thing as I do realize better companies had to produce things that the average consumer really wanted and probably borrowed some designs from Sony or just improved them so that everyone could use them. Not only that, they really think that their products are superior to everyone's, and tack on a nice extra price tag on it. ...

Oddly, it would seem that I could replace every instance of "Sony" in this quote with "Apple" and see a familiar argument. :p

Eraserhead
May 10, 2006, 03:58 AM
wonder if sony is just trying to play every format or if they have something in mind with AAC support, they still dont use itunes or support the iTMS so there is no big reason for them to go AAC other than universal support. Good thing though, less reason to use that bloody wma format! :D
Hopefully it'll force Creative etc. to support AAC too, which can only be bad for MS's wma, though as more people realise that AAC's from the iTMS cannot be played they'll be angry and Apple'll have to licence Fairplay, which is good for other MP3 Player companies and us consumers.

Lollypop
May 10, 2006, 05:31 AM
Oddly, it would seem that I could replace every instance of "Sony" in this quote with "Apple" and see a familiar argument. :p

mmm... interesting! Just did the replacement and its sady 100% true!

Fiveos22
May 10, 2006, 10:05 AM
Last I heard it was much higher - at least 80% (or am I wrong?)

I believe the article is Japanese, so the numbers would represent JAPANESE market share not AMERICAN market share.


Or is it referring to market share (number of players being sold/quarter) vs number of players already out there (total sold)? Japanese vs US market share (or International)? Numbers don't mean much if they aren't defined.

avus
May 10, 2006, 12:20 PM
Or is it referring to market share (number of players being sold/quarter) vs number of players already out there (total sold)? Japanese vs US market share (or International)? Numbers don't mean much if they aren't defined.

What are you talking about? The article is clearly referring to the domestic (=Japanese) market in April this year.

In April, Apple controlled 52 percent of the nation's portable digital music player market, in terms of units sold. Sony is a distant second with a 15 percent share, followed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., with a 7 percent share.

It couldn't get more definitive than this!

bousozoku
May 10, 2006, 01:00 PM
Well it's more Apple than anyone else since it's AAC in a QT wrapper, and it is the default import format for iPod+iTunes. I'm shocked that Sony doesn't want to transcode it to ATRAC, as they have insisted on doing with MP3 for so long. :p

I've been saying for a while that the first thing most of the "iPod killers" need to do to rally get a foothold is to peacefully coexist with iTunes, and possibly even use the iTunes library as a source.

B

Wow, how in the world do you reason that patents owned by Dolby Labs make AAC more Apple than anyone else? Apple may use it more than any other music device/software but AAC is on every Dolby Digital DVD and laserdisc out there.

steve_hill4
May 10, 2006, 01:28 PM
While AAC isn't Apple's, it is closely related to them these days. I have a Sony Ericsson phone and it happily plays *.m4a files encoded in iTunes. Since few other programs currently encode to AAC, people will always associate the origin of the format with Apple.

Sony won't gain a great deal out of this I feel, but it will certainly help them in the media stakes. If they can now quote storage and battery life in AAC as well as ATRAC3PLUS, they can try to demonstrate a longer true battery life, (even though it is marginal, if not lower).

balamw
May 10, 2006, 01:48 PM
Wow, how in the world do you reason that patents owned by Dolby Labs make AAC more Apple than anyone else? Apple may use it more than any other music device/software but AAC is on every Dolby Digital DVD and laserdisc out there.
Strictly speaking I was referring to M4A/MP4 not AAC, the file format and codec are not the same. Some Nokia phones for example support AAC without the M4A/MP4 QT container.
You could also probably store AAC in an AVI or WMA container.
MPEG-4 Part 14 was based on Apple's QuickTime container format.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mp4
http://www.mobymemory.com/Content/HOWTO.Convert.your.iTunes.M4A.files.to.AAC.WITH.TAGS.for.playback.on.Nokia.mobiles.like.Nokia.6630.2 014.html

Also IIRC what you're referring to on all the DVDs and laserdiscs is Dolby Digital AC-3, which is only a close cousin and precursor of AAC.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC-3

IMHO as MPEG-4 displaces more and more other codecs to become the standard it is designed to be, AAC will become more and more supported.

B

shamino
May 10, 2006, 02:01 PM
I know the specs of both machines thanks, but in case you don't ill post them for you since you really think they are astronomical and BELTS THE 360!!!!!!!! lol, good times scroll down a bit for the specs http://ps3.ign.com/articles/614/614783p1.html
Ummm... That article is almost a year old. The PS3 has not yet shipped (Sony is now saying November, but some say it may slip even further.) Although many of the specs have been announced, any comparisons based on spec sheets will ultimately be wrong. Many console systems in the past have proved that inferior hardware does not necessarily produce inferior gaming. Many high-power systems have been crippled by bad software, and many lower-power systems have done very well with well-written software.
Also, keep in mind the PS3 costs 200 bucks more then the 360
No pricing announcements have been made. Anything you read on this are just random speculation by members of the press, most of whom don't know electronics, don't know manufacturing, and don't know business. If Sony actually tries to charge $800 for a PS3 console, they won't sell any, and they'll lose their $4B investment, and they know it. They will study the market and charge what customers will pay - which will probably be the same as the 360 (or slightly less). They'll make up the money with royalties from game sales. This is the model that the PS2 used, and it seems to have worked very well for them.
My intent was not to start a console wars thing in here
Could've fooled me...

And we can be certain that Sony (as a manufacturer of drive mechanisms) won't be paying anything close to that for the drives they put in the PS3. No company will charge itself the full retail price for an embedded component. The drive-manufacturing group will probably sell mechanisms to the PS3 group for little more than the manufacturing cost.

Of course, Microsoft doesn't manufacture their own drive mechanisms, so they could get pounded by this. That's probably why the 360 doesn't come with a next-gen optical drive.

shamino
May 10, 2006, 02:11 PM
Well it's more Apple than anyone else since it's AAC in a QT wrapper, and it is the default import format for iPod+iTunes.
M4A (and M4B) is actually AAC in an MPEG-4 wrapper, not in a QT wrapper. This is a standard that we can be certain Sony has a license for.

But even if it was a QT wrapper, this isn't a big deal. The format is well documented and has been read by countless open source projects for well over 10 years.
I'm shocked that Sony doesn't want to transcode it to ATRAC, as they have insisted on doing with MP3 for so long. :p
Well, if you try to copy the song to a MiniDisc, I'm sure they will do just that, since MD players only support ATRAC.

But they've moved beyond this mentality for their portable players. They've sold MP3-comaptible units for some time now.

And since AAC involves license fees to the same people that own MP3, the various MPEG standards, and H.264, Sony probably doesn't have a problem financially either. They are almost certainly paying the flat-fee portions of the license for their various HD products, and the incremental per-unit costs are not very high.
I've been saying for a while that the first thing most of the "iPod killers" need to do to rally get a foothold is to peacefully coexist with iTunes, and possibly even use the iTunes library as a source.
Yep. Embrace and Extend is not just for Microsoft...

balamw
May 10, 2006, 02:25 PM
Embrace and Extend is not just for Microsoft...
Yup. Those developing "iPod killers" seem to have forgotten that embrace and extend are often necessary precursors of extinguish.

I certainly wasn't trying to argue that Apple was getting any additional royalties or that it was going to cost Sony anything other than a few kb of code. The reality of the current situation is that MPEG-4 is poised to take off in a big way, and Apple is just a bit ahead of the curve in helping to define the standards and adopting them early. Or MPEG-4 could go the way of Betamax, but I doubt that. It all depends on what the licensing costs and processing power requirements end up being.

The real battle will be between the MPEG-4 standard and the various Microsoft codecs and file formats that are also going to be supported by next generation AV deviceslike HD-DVD and BluRay.

B

shamino
May 10, 2006, 02:39 PM
Wow, how in the world do you reason that patents owned by Dolby Labs make AAC more Apple than anyone else? Apple may use it more than any other music device/software but AAC is on every Dolby Digital DVD and laserdisc out there.
Not quite.

Dolby Digital (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Digital) is a trademarked name for Adaptive Transform Coder 3 (aka "AC3"). This is specified by the ATSC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATSC), a committee responsible for defining digital broadcast standards, which are a subset of MPEG-2.

AAC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding) is part of the MPEG-4 spec. (MPEG-4 part 3, also MPEG-2 part 7). It is a different standard from AC3. (According to the Wikipedia article on ATSC, AAC is used instead of AC3 for Japanese HD broadcasts.)

It's interesting to note that neither of the next-generation video disc formats have AAC specified as a supported CODEC. Blu-Ray Disc (http://www.blu-ray.com/faq/#bluray_audio_codecs) supports uncompressed, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS and DTS-HD. HD-DVD (http://www.dvdforum.com/images/Forum_HD_DVD_Universal_24.pdf) supports the same CODECs.

AAC (and its successor HE AAC) has, however, been approved (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/14/dvd_forum_aac/) (since 2004) for use on DVD-Audio discs.

Zman5225
May 10, 2006, 03:19 PM
Shamino, pricing was released this week, as were the specs. The prices are set at 499 and 599. 499 gets you a crippled system, 599 gets your some goodies added to it.

Here's a little blog about their release

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/05/09/011825.php

shamino
May 10, 2006, 04:10 PM
Shamino, pricing was released this week, as were the specs. The prices are set at 499 and 599. 499 gets you a crippled system, 599 gets your some goodies added to it.
My mistake. Sony's web site still doesn't mention anything. Funny. I would've expected them to post their own press releases.

Here are some non-blog articles I located (Google's top-2 hits):
http://www.macworld.com/news/2006/05/09/playstation/index.php
http://news.com.com/Sony+unveils+PS3+pricing,+availability/2100-1043_3-6069994.html

So it's not as bad as the pundits were predicting ($800+), but this is still insane. I wonder if they'll actually sell any units at that price, or if they're going to have to drop the prices after the holiday season to avoid completely losing the market.

Now I'm doubly glad I decided to buy a PS2 in March and stop waiting. At this price, I'd rather just get a Radeon X1600 for my PC and continue using it for any games beyond the PS2's capabilities. (Unfortunately, that PC doesn't have PCI-e slots, so an X1600 is the best I can do right now.)