Switched On: Hard drives face hard truths

DNP Switched On Hard drives face hard truths

The PlayStation 4‘s is upgradeable; the Xbox One‘s is not. For at least the second consecutive generation (the third for the Xbox), hard drives will be offered as part of the gaming experience for two of the home video game powerhouses: Microsoft and Sony. For the Xbox line, which offered a model without a hard drive in the last generation, the inclusion of an internal HDD represents, along with its x86 processor, a return to the approach Microsoft took with the original Xbox.

Indeed, the Xbox One will load disc-based games onto the hard drive automatically. Both Sony and Microsoft will also offer access via the cloud. In fact, following up on its purchase of Gaikai, Sony plans to offer a range of gaming from the cloud to multiple platforms. This may include older titles that it cannot support on the PlayStation 4 due to a lack of native backward compatibility. If such capability is expected to work, why bother to have hard drives in these consoles at all? Indeed, hardware makers of many stripes are starting to ask that question.

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Why Does it Cost $300 to Buy Avatar on 3D Blu-ray?

via Gizmodo by Jason Chen on 12/21/10

Why Does it Cost 0 to Buy Avatar on 3D Blu-ray?

Who’s buying 3DTVs and 3D Blu-ray players? People who watched 3D movies in theaters, then want to re-live the experience at home. So why are the top movies, like Avatar and Coraline only available as bundles with hardware? What’s the deal?

It’s a matter of greed. Home theater 3D is still a crawling infant, meaning most of the population still needs to buy hardware. But what’s the differentiating factor between Samsung’s 3D set and Panasonic’s, or even Sony’s, if you’re a Costco shopper? How can normal people tell the difference between any Blu-ray player that’s not the PlayStation 3? It’s pretty much impossible, which is why companies’ ads don’t rely on specs or saying their version does 3D better.

But what they are relying on right now is taking movies hostage in order to force people’s hands. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Avatar, the most wanted 3D movie of all time, is only available in a $300 “starter bundle” from Panasonic that includes two rechargeable 3D glasses. How to Train Your Dragon is in a “starter kit” from Samsung for $280, which includes two 3D active shutter glasses. What happens if you already have one type of TV and just want the other type of movie? Looks like you get two pair of glasses that you can’t use on your set.

There’s also Shrek and Monsters vs. Aliens, which your kids will ask you for, because they’re kids, and they want to see their movies in 3D. Because they’re kids. Kids who don’t know the value of $300.

Why Does it Cost 0 to Buy Avatar on 3D Blu-ray?

So what if you go on eBay and try to get some scalped Avatar action? Oh hello, I’m out $150 for a $30 movie. Thanks jerks!

It gets worse. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Coraline are only available if you buy a Panasonic 3DTV. A TeeVee! And Bolt, which I’m sure is a fine dog movie in the realm of dog movies, is only gettable with Sony TVs. Same with Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

Retailers are also getting in on the exclusivity. My Bloody Valentine and The Last Airbender are Best Buy exclusives, whereas Amazon has some IMAX movies locked down. This, of course, is much less of a big deal, because Best Buy’s movies work just fine on any player.

The good news is that some of these seem to be timed exclusives. Alice in Wonderland was the same $300ish dollars if you bought the pack, but is now available for separate purchase. And there are a number of less desirable (apparently?) titles like Resident Evil, The Polar Express, Step Up 3D and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs that the manufacturers didn’t think would entice anybody to spend $300 on.

Point being, manufacturers seem to have their heads up each other’s asses on this one. If you want people to get on board your 3D train, don’t make content for it so hard to get! Imagine the scenario where you could only watch NBC’s 3D channel if you had a Samsung TV, then had to get a separate set entirely for ABC’s 3D content. Who’s going to throw down a couple thousand dollars for that scheme?

Netflix details PS3 disc distribution for November, ‘confident’ it’ll have ample supply

via Joystiq [PlayStation] by Alexander Sliwinski on 10/28/09

Netflix is confident that it will have ample supply in November for every PS3 user who requests a disc for its recently announced streaming service. Speaking with Joystiq, Netflix Vice President of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey wouldn’t disclose the number of reservations the company has received for the free PS3 Netflix disc since the company announced the program on Monday, but did emphasize, “We’re confident we’ve produced enough discs.” Distribution centers apparently already have the units.

Swasey told us that the company is still hammering out the distribution details, but the plan is to send out a press release sometime in November announcing that the discs have shipped. Customers should receive the red envelope in about the same time it usually takes for a Netflix shipment to reach them. He expressed that “there’s no VIP list or special circumstance list,” so everyone should be receiving it around the same time.

Asked if there were any points he’d like to clarify about the recent announcement, Swasey told us that the disc was the best solution currently available in getting PS3 users the Netflix service, downplaying the need to always have disc in the tray. “They put the disc in whenever they play a game.” When pushed on why an integrated solution wasn’t implemented, he said, “We haven’t given any reason. The key thing here … it’s very easy and no different than playing a video game. We’ll have an update in time.” The integrated solution is expected in late 2010.

Netflix doesn’t like to discuss HD content in nitty gritty detail yet, but confirmed that the PS3 will have a similar offering to the Xbox 360, which outputs 720p and stereo sound.

Keep an eye out for an announcement in November for when the discs ship, then put that eye back in when the disc arrives. You’ll need both to appreciate those episodes of Dexter.

12 things you didn’t know about the PS3 Slim

The PS3 Slim has been at the eye of a massive rumor storm for months, but now that Sony has finally made it official it’s time to bring the facts. By now you probably know the general specs – it includes a 120GB HDD, it’s $300/€300, it’s out September 1st, and it’s, well, slimmer – but no self-respecting, hardware-obsessing, early-adopting gamer would stop there. Read on to snag twelve of the PS3 Slim’s most overlooked details and you’ll know more than the next guy when it’s released next month.

1. It’s not actually called the “PS3 Slim” – it’s just the PS3 or the PlayStation 3. It is a new PS3 for sure, but nowhere on the box or in the documentation will you see the words “PS3” and “Slim” next to each other. Nevertheless, we’ll keep calling it the “PS3 Slim” for the sake of convenience.

2. The logo is beautifully etched into the machine (above), and not only that, the old branding is gone for good – no more tacky Spider-Man font! No more PLAYSTATION 3, either – Sony decided to stop yelling at us with every press release and just call it the “PlayStation 3.” Much better.

3. It has buttons! Those weird, touch-sensitive non-buttons are gone, and they’ve been replaced with that wonderful, tactile CLICK that only real buttons can deliver.

4. This is what the new ad campaign looks like:

5. It’s smaller, but not in every way. It’s thinner and lighter, but as you can see in the comparison below, it’s a bit longer from the rear to the front. They had to fit all those graphics in there somehow.

6. It’s quieter! With power consumption two-thirds what it was, there’s a lot less fan-blowing and a lot more sweet serenity.

7. It only comes with composite cables. Yes, composite. Not even component, and definitely no HDMI.

8. If you have a Bravia TV and you hook up your new PS3 with an HDMI cable (…not included), you can operate the PS3’s media bar with your TV’s remote – you can even set it to turn the system off when you turn the TV off.

9. The hard drive IS removable – though it doesn’t initially appear to be. There’s a little hole by the drive bay which contains a screw that holds the HDD in place. Pop that open, unscrew it, and you’re in business.

10. It’s not backwards compatible with the PS2, but it might work with some PSX games. That’s right, the PS3 Slim cannot play PlayStation 2 games, but some PlayStation games will work. The only appropriate response to this statement is “lol wut?”

11. It has a tiny stand-by light. Look how cute it is:

12. The games advertised on the back of the box are: inFAMOUS, Madden NFL 10, Tekken 6, MAG, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Does that tell us anything? Not really, but it is something you probably didn’t know.

C-c-c-combo breaker: Bonus facts!

We couldn’t possibly stop at just twelve things when there’s so much to say. What, you thought we could only make numbered lists of things? Well numbers can suck it – here are a few more things we noticed about Sony’s new product.

If you want to stand it vertically, you can buy a stand separately.

The big power switch on the back is gone – but that’s about the only thing different about the layout of the system’s rear.

Swiss Xbox.com outs Mass Effect ‘Pinnacle Station’ DLC

via Joystiq by David Hinkle on 8/24/09

Remember when those Achievements for Mass Effect showed up online — you know, these ones that mention Pinnacle Station? Well, the Swiss Xbox.com has offered up new details, pricing the DLC at 400 ($5) and billing it as a series of battle scenarios lasting around “2-3 hours.” The Swiss Xbox.com listing says the DLC has been available since June 16, an obvious error.

So, Bioware, EA, would you just officially announce Pinnacle Station already?

[Via Eurogamer]

AN OPEN LETTER TO SONY CORPORATION – PSP

I know i venting here, but i needed to post this so someone other then a computer would read it. I have no idea if anyone as unhappy as i am with this but i sure am.


I emailed Sony today, and let them know. At least i vented
——————–
Sony Computer Entertainment America
Human Resources
919 East Hillsdale Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Foster City, CA 94404
800-345-7669


To whom it may concern,

I originally purchased my PSP system during launch v.PSP1001 and have used it and been have happy with it all this time thru the numerous systems software upgrades that have added additional software functionality to my system allowing me to further enhance the unit singnificantly.

However; over his past week, i have been trying to install Skype onto my init after seeing many of my friends and colleges using the software on their units. To my complete disatisfaction and shock, Skype and a number of functionality is not available to version 1000 systems. The launch systems. The system that i have is version # 1001.

Skype and many other ‘enhanced’ software upgrades, are available on system hardware version # 2000 / 3000 (the newer, slimmer, cheaper, better) version of the PSP but not on the version #1000 (the original, more expensive, thicker, early adopter, Sony loyal) users such as myself.

I must say that i find this very disturbing, and borderline insulting specially as a user who did dish out near $300 for the original unit (with tax) on launch day. Only to find that the newer, cheaper unit, ($199) is so much better is Sony has completely neglected the original user base who made the PSP what it is today by spending so much money on the system, by trusting in Sony Corporation and it’s products and now being left, forgotten, made obsolete with a system that still is not!

How insulting it is that NO effort was made to make the original v1000 hardware system fully compatible with all other software that has come since is truly an abomination and a kick to the face of all those users who trusted in Sony Corporation. I am dismayed that my unit is not functional as all other units are even as it stands in perfectly working order.

All efforts should have been made to make all PSP hardware version fully compatible with all software to be approved for the PSP system. No exceptions. How you can allow this is truly and slap in the face across all those hundreds of thousands of customers that have purchased the original unit. With Sony Corporation basically saying “Go out and buy a new PSP and throw away the old one, it’s no good no more. Pollute the environment!”

You should make all units fully compatible with everything immediately, or exchange v1000 hardware version to support you own current standers.

I am sure not to even get a response to this, but i voice my opinion… and you KNOW that theres ONE customer who is NOT a happy customer with you today.

You may contact me if you would like. You can use the email on the top of this blog, i will be sure to get it.

Sincerely,
Lohan

Researchers use PS3 cluster to reveal internet security flaw

via PS3 Fanboy by Andrew Yoon on 12/30/08

Stopping cancer, simulating black hole collisions, and now … breaking internet security? Is there anything the PS3 can’t do? Researchers have been using the PS3 in interng ways. Most recently, a team of researchers from the U.S., Switzerland and the Netherlands have found a way of bypassing the security of digital certificates provided by companies like Verisign. These digital certificates help transmit your credit card information on the internet in a secure manner.

By using 200 PS3 systems linked together, researchers were able to do the math that helped them decrypt the MD5 hash that’s used by Verisign. The researchers would be able to mimic online retail sites, potentially stealing tons of valuable information from consumers. It appears researchers want the hash to be replaced by a more potent one.

It’s unrealistic to expect hackers will be able to replicate the results of these researchers any time soon. Getting 200 PS3s linked to each other can be quite a pricey feat! Of course, when you’re stealing all of the internet’s credit card info, you might be able to afford buying a few hundred PS3s.

[Thanks, BPerry!]