First, an apology. To whom, I don't know. But a well-deserved rant always deserves an apology to whomever might be angered by it. I'm what you might call a "Sony kid". During my childhood my dad always had a nice Sony Trinitron set. The ones with the interchangeable remote control (do you remember those?). Grandma loved her "huge" Sony TV. She used to watch soap operas all day in it. When I grew up, dad brought a Betamax VCR home. Boy, was it huge and well built. I remember playing Superman over and over and over again. Later he got a SuperBeta VCR, with B1 recording capabilities, Hi-Fi sound and excellent video quality. I laughed while everyone else bought VHS VCRs (the joke was on me, though). Still keep fast forwarding. Dad bought a CRT Sony projection system. My jaw dropped when I saw the huge 100" images on the semi-parabolic screen. By that time, Sony was invincible in my book, so I bought a High-Density mini-component system. It came fully loaded: real speakers, cassette tape with Dolby, Metal tape detector, CD player with optical digital output, 30 honest-to-God watt RMS amplifiers and very nice sound. I could go on, but you get the idea (I still remember my incredible XR-7070 car stereo). Fast forward to today. What do I see? * TV sets. I was going to buy a TV set, and was going to get a Vega. No way, says the salesman. Get a Tantus by Samsung. I laugh. He shows me the models. They already have line-doublers, hi-def inputs, high resolution, a much better image than any Sony, and a little bigger price tag. * Mini components. Sony minicomponents make me laugh nowadays. They look like something out of "Men in Black II". Full of "turbines", weird light shows, and the flimsiest build quality I've ever seen. * Playstation II. Don't even get me started on that one... no anti-aliasing! GameCube and Xbox make this one seem like a fossil. The only thing that keeps it alive is the incredible software support. * Video tape recorders. They are not even an important player anymore. * DVD players. Middle market player. Now, I have to admit. They still have a couple of aces under their sleeve. But it seems they don't know what to do when things go right with them. Case in point #1: Minidisc. They could have completely wiped out cassettes from the face of this earth. Instead, they chose to focus on a marketing campaign that never emphasized the strengths of minidiscs (recordable digital format), instead concentrating on pre-recorded media. People didn't want to buy yet another audio source. MiniDisc failed in the states. Case in point #2: NetMD. Since MP3 is all the rage, they release a new "system" (ATRAC3? How original) and define an interface to connect MD's to PCs. The result? Useless. I can't record in ATRAC Type-R and transfer to my MD player. I can't download music I already had in my machine. All I can do is transfer music from my MD to my computer and back. Wow. Also, my "new" MZ-505 player is the flimsiest piece of hardware I've ever had the displeasure of owning. My old MZ-R900 is a much better piece of hardware, and even without ATRAC Type-R it sounds MUCH better. Why? Because Sony actually put a decent amplifier inside it! The MZ-505 can't even power a line-input in an amplifier! Case in point #3: SACD. Leave it to Sony to come up with the better system (just like Betamax) and then screw up completely in the marketing department. Had Sony developed fully its promise of "1 layer SACD, 1 layer CD", I would already own a couple of SACDs. As it is, noone stocks them because of their incompatibility with the rest. And, since I can play them on a normal DVD-V, I already have 3 DVD-As. How many more blunders will Sony make until they realize they have EVERYTHING to make incredible products? Why do they refuse to do so? Sigh.