Let the games begin... :)
1. BD-RE is *not* the same thing as BD-ROM, so let's stop talking about it. This thread is about HD content being delivered on disc, and that means HD-DVD or BD-ROM. The fact that Sony can deliver an expensive 50GB BD-RE disc for a recorder that can't even play BD-ROM discs says nothing about their ability to deliver a cost-effective
50GB BD-ROM disc.
2. Sony has publically released zero yield data on 50GB BD-ROM, which is never a good sign...especially when they have
released yield data for 25GB BD-ROM discs. Their stated objective
is to reach 1,000,000 discs/month on their two
experimental BD-ROM lines (one a 25GB line, the other a 50GB line) at Terre Haut within the next year
. Right now, for 25GB BD-ROM, Sony can do 5 seconds/disc at 70% yields...to get to 4 seconds/disc and 90%+ yields (typically the minimum yield necessary for mass production), DADC has some work to do. Obviously, the yields for 50GB BD-ROMs are worse...so DADC has lots more work to do. For comparisons sake, both 15GB HD-DVD and 30GB HD-DVD are already at 90%+ yields in volume on multiple lines at two different replicators (Cinram and Memory-Tech, both of which have publically released their production data). Again, in time, these things have a funny way of working themselves out, but I'll bet dollars to donuts that should we see a war, we'll see 30GB HD-DVD battling 25GB BD-ROM in the early battles. Any talk of 3 or 4 layer BD-ROMs is silly at this juncture--the top replicators have veto'd the concept, saying it wouldn't even approach being cost effective.
3. All of the "BD-ROM will only cost 10% more than DVD" PR
is for 25GB BD-ROM, not 50GB BD-ROM, which by Sony's own admission will cost 50% more than a DVD-9, assuming the yields reach the 90% point for mass production
, which is a pretty big assumption in and of itself. And let's not forget that the 10% quote is a still a goal
for BD-ROM within the next year...it's a reality for HD-DVD right now
. And while we're at it, the 25GB BD-ROM cost projections do not include the production equipment: suppliers like Unaxis, Singulus and Steag Hamatech peg the cost of a BD-ROM line buildout (about $6.5MM) at 5x the cost of a DVD-9 line. The same suppliers peg the cost of a HD-DVD line (which can do HD-DVD and DVD) at 1.1x the cost of a DVD-9 line. So let's stop the "Blu-ray costs only 10% more than a DVD and has twice as much storage space as HD-DVD" blather...to me, at least, it's obvious why the BDA added VC-1 to the codec portfolio...they had to, just like The DVD Forum had to with HD-DVD...better royalties leverage in the face of lower capacity offerings. Trust me, if DADC thought they could stamp out a 50GB BD-ROM at a cost only 10% greater than a DVD-9 before the debut of BD-ROM content, we'd have thousands of press releases trumpeting this...thus, the focus is shifted back to 25GB discs, which Sony/DADC is comfortable will hit 30GB HD-DVD price price points when needed.
4. CTHE is not going to open the floodgates on their catalog, or MGM's catalog if they get it, when BD-ROM discs debut. Feingold has already stated that they will do day and date releases for new
movies and tee up 3-4 back catalog titles a month
. To imply that we'll have 1,500 BD-ROM catalog titles to chose from anywhere near CTHE's entry into the market is ridiculous.
5. No studio is going to tee up any whales at the dawn of a format, no matter how desperate they are to sell players or how desparate we are to get titles. Can you see the headlines? "LOTR Trilogy sells 10,000 Blu-ray discs in its first day! New record!" There's a reason why most big catalog titles didn't hit DVD for a long, long time...studios like big numbers.
6. William was born in the village of Ockham in Surrey, England, so William of Ockham is his name. When he fled to Munich to avoid the wrath of the Pope, he apparently changed the spelling of his name to Occam while in hiding. He wrote his treatise on the medieval rule of parsimony while in Munich, thus the Occam's razor spelling. In other words, William of Ockham is most famous for Occam's razor.
7. As for the MGM anti-trust quip, Lehman, CSFB and a few others published research notes late last week that said TWX would have less of an anti-trust issue landing MGM than the Sony consortium. I didn't mean to imply that TWX wouldn't have to dance in front of the regulators, only that it's a better dancer than Sony et all
, at least in the eyes of the street, who are a hell of a lot closer to the subject than I am. Speaking of et all
, getting 4 parties to close a deal (MGM, Sony, Texas Pacific Group and Providence Equity Partners) vs. two parties (MGM and TWX) adds complexity, and as pretty much every analyst on the street has said, this deal is TWX's to lose precisely because of squabbles in the Sony consortium. As for the clean quip, a cash deal is definitely cleaner than a stock/debt assumption deal, especially one that would require TWX to issue unregistered shares while under an SEC investigation that prohibits them from issuing reigistered shares.
8. Sony can't afford to write a check and scoop up MGM...not going to happen. As it stands now, under the current revised offer, Sony is teeing up slightly less cash than before, less than Texas Pacific Group and Providence Equity Partners. TWX can afford to stroke a $5B check for MGM, Sony cannot. Even after 4 months of talks, Sony has failed to reach financing terms and the eventual buyout terms with its two partners...and that's only helping push MGM into TWX's hands at this point.