Issue Date: September 30, 2010
Blu-ray Market Continues To Grow Rapidly
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG, a global market leader for machines and equipment for optical storage media, sees significant growth in the global Blu-ray market.
In the 1st half of 2010 sales of Blu-ray Discs came to 5 million and thus increased by 153 % compared with the 1st half 2009. In addition to the 2 % rise of DVD sales to 45.7 million units (following 44.9 million units in the 1st half 2009), the new record level is primarily due to the constantly increasing Blu-ray market, according to SINGULUS.
After 2 million sold discs in the 1st half 2009 already 5 million Blu-ray Discs were sold until the end of June 2010, which means an increase of 153 % or a 3 million unit rise in absolute terms. The German Association for Audiovisual Media (BVV) reported these figures on August 12, 2010.
In the US, the rise is similar: Swicker & Associates, a market research institute, performed a study on behalf of the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) in the US. Sales of Blu-ray Discs increased by 112 % in the 2nd quarter compared with the same quarter one year ago. For the 2nd half of the year similar growth rates are expected.
At the international consumer electronics fair IFA (September 3 to 8, 2010) in Berlin, most of the major brands will present 3D television sets. Many producers, in particular Panasonic and Sony, are wholeheartedly focusing on the new technology.
In Germany the Association for Entertainment and Communications Electronics (Gesellschaft fur Unterhaltungs- und Kommunikationselektronik, gfu) together with the German Central Organization for Electrical and Electronics Industry (Zentralverband der Elektrotechnik- und Elektroindustrie e.V., ZVEI) have conducted a study with respect to 3D, which showed that 3D enabled TV sets are well accepted by consumers. Almost half of the respondents said that they would buy a 3D enabled TV within the next three years. The official start for 3D movie entertainment on Blu-ray was launched by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) in 2009 already.
Blu-ray players can play 3D movies in HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Since the current technology projects individual pictures for each eye to achieve the 3D effect, the data volume also increases by approximately 50 percent. Blu-ray Discs can store up to 50 gigabyte. This is sufficient for a long movie including surround sound, different language versions, etc. The 3D Blu-ray is the only available medium to store high-definition movies with 3D technology and to deliver this content to the consumers.
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Xbox 360 sales leads all gaming hardware
Friday, September 10, 2010
August 2010 video game sales slumped an unsettling 10 points, a decline led by a softening handheld market and a drop off in demand for Nintendo products. Both Microsoft and Sony managed gains in year-on-year console unit sales, though the Xbox 360 led the PlayStation 3 by over 100,000 units.
"New physical retail sales of hardware, content and accessories saw another decline in August as compared to last year," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier in a press statement, adding that it reflected the lowest sales for August since 2006.
While all categories were down, from hardware to software to accessories, the portable stable's suffered most. Frazier says portable dollar sales are down 25% year-on-year, compared with console dollar sales, off just 6%.
The year-to-date prognosis isn't all bad. With PlayStation Move and Xbox 360 Kinect on the horizon, look for video game retail sales to slot between $18.6 and $20 billion for the year, predicts Frazier. Last year, video game sales topped $19.66 billion, down from 2008's record-setting $21.4 billion.
Fun fact: The Xbox 360 apparently contributed over one-third of total new physical retail sales across all categories, while the PS3 contributed over a quarter of total dollar sales.
August 2010 hardware unit sales, compared to August 2009, July 2010 respectively.
357k - Xbox 360 (+66%, -20%)
343k - Nintendo DS (-38%, -14%)
244k - Wii (-12%, -4%)
226k - PlayStation 3 (+8%, +5%)
80k - PSP (-43%, -5%)
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PC Users Happier with Windows 7, Survey Says
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Nearly a year after its launch, Windows 7 has accomplished what Microsoft and its PC manufacturing partners had hoped it would: Make users forget about its much-maligned predecessor Vista. In fact, customer satisfaction among personal computer users is at or near all-time highs, according to a new report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
The ACSI is an economic indicator based on customer evaluations of the quality of goods and services bought in the U.S. Founded at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, the Index is updated quarterly and factors in scores from more than 225 companies in 45 industries, and from government agencies.
On the ACSI's 0-to-100 scale, customer satisfaction with PCs jumped 4 percent to 78, matching an all-time industry high. No Windows-based machines declined in popularity, a factor the ACSI attributes to the industry's migration from Windows Vista to Windows 7 late last year.
"Windows-based PC brands appear to have recovered from the problems associated with the Windows Vista software," said ACSI founder Claes Fornell in a statement. "Barely a year into the release of Windows 7, satisfaction with these brands has returned to, and in some cases even surpassed, the levels prior to the launch of Vista."
Among the leading Windows PC makers, Dell's score rose 3 percent, while Acer (including Gateway and eMachines) and Hewlett-Packard's HP brand improved 4 percent. All three companies had a three-way tie at 77, which was 9 points behind customer-favorite Apple.
Read the entire briefing on PC Users Happier with Windows 7, Survey Says
Sony Rolls Out PS3 3D Blu-ray Support
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Sony's long-promised 3D Blu-ray update for the PS3 rolls out today, sooner than originally expected, and all it'll cost you is the time it takes to apply a firmware update.
That's not entirely true. You'll also need a special 3D-enabled TV, of course. Presumably any model will do—not just Sony's models unless you're compelled to for one reason or another.
And don't forget the movies themselves. This isn't the update that'll bring 3D gaming to the masses, just special 3D-enabled Blu-ray title support. The pickings are slim, and the titles are mixed, from forgettable stuff like Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and Clash of the Titans, to older oddities like The Polar Express, a handful of IMAX documentaries, and of course James Cameron's Avatar, which finally arrives in 3D on December 1.
In any case, the PS3 update isn't merely 3D-related. It also better integrates Facebook, allowing developers to create PS3 games that interact with the social networking service. According to Sony, once PS3-supported Facebook games are available, you'll be able to mix in names, profiles, photos, and friends lists. No word on whether you'll be able to send screen grabs for what you're playing to your Facebook profile, but fingers crossed for that.
Read the entire briefing on Sony Rolls Out PS3 3D Blu-ray Support
Sony Announced New BDXL-compatible, High-power Laser Diodes
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sony today announced the development of new high-power laser diodes for Blu-ray disc recorers supporting the new BDXL (High Capacity Recordable and Rewritable discs) format.
Sony will release two models of the blue laser diode, one with an output power rated at 400mW - enough to burn data on multi-layered BDXL discs - and another one for slim-type BD drives, rated at 350mW. Both models can operate with stability even at temperatures of 85 degrees C, Sony said.
The high output allows manufacturers to use a wider variety of optical components such as lenses and prisms, offering freedom to hardware designs.
To realize the 400 mW output, new technologies are necessary to prevent the end face of a laser resonator from being melted by the heat from laser ("catastrophic optical damage" (COD)) and to enhance the crystal quality of gallium nitride (GaN) crystal. Sony developed an end-face coating material and a film forming method and succeeded in heightening the optical output level that causes COD, compared with that of the company's 300mW-class laser diode.
Moreover, to improve the crystal quality, Sony developed new MOCVD (metal organic chemical vapor deposition) crystal growth equipment that is optimized for producing GaN materials.
The BDXL (High Capacity Recordable and Rewritable discs), provide write-once options on 100GB and 128GB capacity Blu-ray discs and rewritable capability on 100GB discs.
Read the entire briefing on Sony Announced New BDXL-compatible, High-power Laser Diodes
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