There was a time when Sony was the first name in consumer electronics. The company's Trinitron TVs dominated the TV market for decades. In 1975, Sony's Betamax was the first widely adapted consumer video recorder format. The Walkman hit the market in 1979 and changed the way people listened to music, creating the personal audio market category. In 1982 the CD, which the company developed jointly with Philips, changed the way we listened to music even more. Sony extended its reach when it purchased CBS Records in 1988 and Columbia Pictures in 1989, and scored a triumph in … Read more
Usenet.com lawyers lost their copyright infringement case to the music industry on Tuesday and are now preparing for a federal court to assess damages. The judgment could be hundreds of millions of dollars.
In the long list of copyright cases brought by the Recording Industry Association of America, this one stands out for all the drama it provided, and depending on which side you talk to, the amount of precedent-setting decisions involved. Usenet.com lawyers argue the presiding judge diluted the power of the landmark 1984 Betamax case. RIAA attorneys sigh, and say their opponents are just trying to … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Hollywood is missing out on a marvelous opportunity, says RealNetworks' CEO Rob Glaser.
Real has presented the film industry with a means to inject renewed interest in DVDs, which is waning, Glaser said minutes after testifying at a hearing in federal court on Wednesday. Real has developed two different kinds of software, RealDVD and Facet, that it says streamlines the movie-viewing experience by enabling owners to duplicate DVDs and store the copies on hard drives.
But the studios, much like they've done since the Sony Betamax case, are resisting technological advancement and have rejected the opportunity Real offers, … Read more
Betamax was one of Sony's biggest blunders.
The videocassette format was introduced in 1975, and initially sold well. But when JVC's VHS tape cartridge was introduced in 1978, Betamax quickly lost its lead. The media loved Beta for its superior picture quality, but Standard Betamax tapes were only 60 minutes, and VHS 3-hour tapes could record more TV shows.
VHS was more popular, but Betamax refused to die. Production in the U.S. ended in 1993, and the last Betamax machine in the world was produced in Japan in 2002.
Ah, but the Compact Disc was a hit from the get-go. On August 31, 1982, an announcement was made in Tokyo that four companies, Sony, CBS/Sony, Philips, and Polygram had jointly developed the world's first CD system. Talk of the CD's demise are premature, sales are still in the hundreds of millions of discs a year.
The MiniDisc was introduced January 12, 1992. The recordable music format was originally based exclusively on ATRAC audio data compression, but the format never caught on in the U.S. MiniDiscs were popular in Japan and Asia as a digital upgrade from cassette tapes.
Which reminds me, Sony's ill-fated Elcaset came out in 1976. Like Betamax, Sony was trying to make a higher quality tape format, in this case better than the Philips Compact Cassette. Elcaset was better, but it was too large and cumbersome. Elcaset was a flop. … Read more
Amazon yielded to the inevitable on Friday when it announced (in this statement) that it would no longer enable the text-to-speech feature on its Kindle 2 e-book reader by default; publishers can make the call.
Instead, publishers may enable the text-to-speech feature on a title-by-title basis, if they believe that choice is in their best interest.
I have been sorely tempted to write a response to some of the factually incorrect and even grossly deceitful pieces I've seen written about this issue since the Kindle 2 was launched, but fortunately, Amazon has made that unnecessary. Nevertheless, there are still … Read more