UMD Is The Next BetaMax

april 1, 2006

It was just a year ago that I proclaimed:
The dream of distributing video via UMD is a dead dream, it will never take off because the prices are too high and the content value is too low when compared to DVDs.
Not that I can be considered a "brilliant" business leader like Howard Stringer, but I think we all saw the death of UMD video the day that it was launched. I mean, who couldn't see past the prices of UMD videos? They cost more than the same content on DVD for crying out loud! And the extra cost buys me nothing -- no 5.1 sound, no extras, no high-def video, nothing, zilch. Not to mention that the only thing that plays UMDs is the PSP -- sounds familiar doesn't it? Sony's all about creating proprietary technology. I don't want to pay $27 for the UMD version of Batman Begins (which contains zero extras). The two-disc special edition on DVD costs $20 and the single-disc regular edition on DVD costs $17. Where's the value add for the UMD version? Does Sony not understand that people are not stupid? If for some silly reason Sony wants to keep the UMD video format alive they have to make them dirt cheap. I would not hesitate to buy Batman Begins on UMD, as a second copy to the two-disc DVD edition I already own, if it was say $8 or even $10. But, $27 is outrageous and it does not take a genius to figure out why people are not buying UMD movies! Reports of the death of UMD videos are already being spread across the internet. Studios like Paramount have already put UMD releases on "hiatus". An unidentified source from Universal has come out saying, "[UMD sales are] awful. Sales are near zilch. It's another Sony bomb -- like Blu-ray." How unfortunate that Sony's Blu-ray has to ride the crashing wave of UMD. Will this be an early death of Blu-ray also?