Friday, 17 June 2005

The would be King of Portables

While Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger customers patiently wait for the release of 10.4.2. Lets talk PSP, or more specifically UMD!

Against predictions the diminutive UMD format is proving popular in the USA. Movie buyers are not resistant to another format and Buena Vista is preparing to press discs for the European market. The Disney company's press pack heralds Sony's proprietary format as the most significant since DVD (they would say that). Indeed, Pirates of the Caribbean and Kill Bill Vol. 1 contain value-added bonus features.

When there should be a legal DVD-to-Memory Stick Duo workflow, from a consumers point of view, it's nonsensical to purchase a movie (again) on UMD. The PSP is not a primary means of viewing content, nor should it be and UMD encoded movies do not scale well (at present). Granted, there is a valid market in offering episodic TV series (30 to 45 mins per episode). Cult cartoons Spider-Man and He-Man are guaranteed an audience (myself included).

This is the first time that the PlayStation brand has exploited the opportunity to introduce a new software standard. Sony has poured $ millions into R&D and new UMD hardware (including burners) will appear from the company and third-parties. Content authors should become acquainted with H.264/AVC (Advanced Video Coding).