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New Sony COO bullish on Blu-ray

Posted: 12 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:optical disk? Sony Electronics? Stan Glasgow? Blu-ray Disc? Spencer Chin?

While acknowledging that the optical disk wars are far from over, Sony Electronics Inc.' s new president and chief operating officer, Stan Glasgow, believes the Blu-ray Disc format will emerge as the winner.

Speaking at a press conference middle of this week (May 10), Glasgow, who became president and COO of Sony's U.S arm on April 1, said consumers will likely decide within the next 12 to 24 months who wins the optical disk wars. But he believes the higher capacity of Blu-ray compared to HD-DVD will win over consumers.

"As I watch high-definition TV, I am compelled to store everything on a disk," Glasgow said.

Sony has put all of its eggs into the Blu-ray basket. The company plans to unveil a Blu-ray Disc player in July, and will incorporate Blu-ray Disc optical drives into its long-awaited Playstation 3, as well as in its Vaio PCs.

Later this month, Sony is slated to unleash the first wave of Blu-ray Disc titles.

But glitches ramain. With Sony' s own Blu-ray Disc player still several months away, the first U.S. Blu-ray Disc player will come from Samsung, which has pushed back the launch of its player to June.

Glasgow conceded it is "not a slam-dunk" that Blu-ray will be an immediate success. He cited the high initial prices for Blu-ray products, and warned of possible component shortages that could limit product supplies. He did not provide details on which components might be in short supply, but noted that robust mobile phone and flat-panel TV sales as competitors for some parts.

Glasgow said Sony was continuing to expand production of flat-panel LCD TVs through its S-LCD venture with Samsung. He added that the company was bolstering its efforts in rear projection, liquid crystal-on-silicon TVs as well.

Glasgow declined to provide an additional details on Playstation 3, now slated to debut in November, six months after the scheduled May launch date.

Also left unanswered was how Sony would address the transition to high-definition broadcasting on the signal conversion front, which remains the province of cable companies supplying set-top boxes. Glasgow said, "We don' t have a set-top box strategy."

Glasgow also outlined a four-part growth strategy for Sony Electronics in the United States, including more cost cutting, seeking acquisitions and partnerships, developing a multichannel retail strategy that integrated brick-and-mortar and online and greater collaboration among various Sony business units.

Glasgow said Sony Electronics' aim was to achieve double-digit growth in the United States, driven by products such as HDTV, camcorders and digital cameras. While parent company Sony Corp. also cited those sectors as growth drivers, the parent company also warned of a decline in operating profits at many of its divisions in the coming fiscal year.

- Spencer Chin
EE Times

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