The role of the Hybrid SACD.....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Justin Lane, Dec 14, 2002.

  1. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Now that we are starting to see some more SACD come out in the Hybrid flavor (except Sony, the biggest SACD studio from a title standpoint, who still has yet to put out a Hybrid disc), I wonder what will be the role of these Hybrid discs. Personally, these are the only discs I will now purchase in SACD flavor because I do a nice amount of listening while I drive.

    If SACD wants to grab any level of market penetration, I would think these Hybrid titles should replace their red book counterparts as retailers run out of stock of their red book product. If there was a conscience effort with the Stone's releases to make these "stealth" SACD hybrids, why not use this marketing approach for more titles? Right now price is a factor, considering many of the discs put out by audiophile labels run in the range of $25 a title, but for other titles such as some of the new Universal Hybrids, which have lower retail prices, why not use these discs as red book replacements. Right now replication capabilities could be an issue, but probably not in the future.

    If a studio is serious about the success of SACD, I think their handling of Hybrid discs will be a great measuring stick of their dedication. Until studios allow a Hybrid SACD, where it exists, to take the place of the red book version, I am afraid SACD will continue to remain in the shadows and out of the homes of the buying public.

    J
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    You are absolutely correct. The key is success is to get more available software and software that can be played in any CD player.
     
  3. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    Quoth the Justin:

    To quote Lee Corso in NCAA 2003, "I Agree, 100% with you!"

    If SACD has ANY prayer of grabbing a sizeable chunk of the market, over half of the SACD discs need to be hybrids.

    I still maintain my position that next-gen audio won't go past 35% market saturation. I think many people are happy with their CDs and 128 kbps MP3s. I also think that there's a lot of crap out there that sounds bad enough on CD. 24/96 resolution crap is still crap.

    I ALSO think that SACD is the next Beta. I'm not exaggerating here - I think its an almost-perfect 1:1 comparison. Beta was (I've heard) technically better, but not widely adopted by non-Sony companies. My hunch is that SACDs will have a similar fate (and lifespan) to Beta. 80's experts can do the timeline (1:1 again), but I THINK we might see SACDs going the way of Beta by 2006-2007.

    With that being said, I think that SACD's best (perhaps ONLY) chance for survival is backwards compatibility. Almost all DVD-Audio discs have this (albeit to DVD-V instead of PCM CD Audio), but I think that's part of the reason why DVD-A seems to be selling better. You can stick almost EVERY DVD-A into a non-DVD-A SACD player (or any DVD player, for that matter) and it will STILL play. You CAN'T stick most SACDs into DVD-A players, though. Most people don't KNOW the DVD-A isn't full resolution, but I'm sure they don't particularly care. The first roadblock is that the disc can be PLAYED by most players, even (ESPECIALLY) those $60 ones that Grandma picked up at Wal-Mart.

    I hope I don't sound like a negative nelly here, but I'm just trying to be realistic. The newer formats ARE better, but until you can put the discs in a walkman and take them around with you, I doubt they will take off. Again, I think most people are content enough to listen to their music on 1 MB-per-minute MP3's. Without a CONVINCING reason, I don't see people spending another $15-$25 per disc repurchasing their collections.
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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  5. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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  6. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Evan:

    Standalone SACD players cannot playback any DVD content, be it DVD-V or DVD-A. Have you noticed that with the exception of a few very high end products, that SACD only players are a vanishing breed? Sony is down to what, 1 or two current players without DVD-V capability. Are there any current model players other than the XA-777ES player? The SCD-CE775 is a discontinued model, as are the SCD-1 and SCD-777. I'm sorry, but the market for US$10K+ players is essentially non-existent.

    I believe that Brian's message was that you can take any DVD-A disc, and insert it in a player with the DVD logo (DVD-V or DVD-A) and have successful playback.

    OTOH, a substantial portion of SACD releases (by both title count, and titles sold) are only playable in players with an SACD label.

    Regards,
     
  7. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    If Sony/Philips wants SACD to catch on, they will have to start including SACD playback in ALL of their DVD players over 100.00. Sony currently only has one DVD player under 300.00 which plays SACD's, and that's the 755, which isn't exactly setting the world on fire. Phasing out their SACD only players was a little premature on Sony's part as they've yet to include widespread SACD support in their DVD players. I mean, they should've at least had kept the excellent budget SCD-CE775 in production. I am going to see what Sony plans to do with SACD hardware at CES in a few weeks, but predict there will be more Dream Systems and other intergrated junk that sport SACD playback. I will be surprised if they introduce may new DVD players under 200.00 which will have SACD playback. We'll see soon enough though.

    Reg
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John,
    The 'XA777ES is Sony's only current non-DVD SACD player in the US. Some other models are available overseas ('XA333ES, 'XB780, and 'XE680 single-disc units).
    All,
    I agree that all record labels supporting the SACD format need to be thinking about backwards compatibility with the CD format. Given that SACD has been around for over three years, it is ludicrous to see Sony continuing to release single-layer titles. What's even worse is that Universal only recently jumped into the SACD arena and has released some single-layer discs. Some have argued that Universal is testing the market to see which version, single-layer or hybrid, is more popular. Give me a break. How could a hybrid disc be less popular? If sales of single-layer discs equaled or even outnumbered sales of hybrid discs, Universal might conclude that it should move forward with single-layer discs since they are cheaper to produce. This would be an erroneous conclusion if Universal were at all concerned about the mass market. Does anyone here really think that Universal could possibly look at those sales figures and draw any meaningful conclusions in terms of extrapolation to the masses? First, Universal is not marketing its SACDs to the masses. You don't see Universal SACDs at Best Buy, Circuit City, and the like. The people buying Universal SACDs are, like me ([​IMG] ), music fanatics. We are not representative of the mass-market mentality -- convenience, cheap, portable, etc. Secondly, Univeral has to know that only a small minority of folks own SACD players, so there is no way that sales figures for single-layer SACDs could in any way represent a buying pattern of the masses. In the end, the sales figures of Universal's SACDs cannot be taken as foreshadowing to what the masses will buy. The long and the short of all of this is that Universal should be selling hybrid SACDs. So should Sony.
    There has been talk about DVD-Audio adding backwards compatibility with the CD format. If you visit the small-minded world of the Hi-Rez Highway on Audio Asylum, you will see talk that this move by DVD-Audio is a last gasp and an admission that the format is failing. Hmmm... Did anyone ever consider that maybe SACD should include backwards compatibility with the immensely popular DVD-Video format? Gee, that might be a good idea. [​IMG]
    If the backers of DVD-Audio do not include CD layers on all discs, what they should do is sell combo packs of CDs with DVD-Audio discs. We are seeing more and more CD/DVD-Video combos in the stores. If those combo packs start including DVD-Audio discs, with backwards compatibility with DVD-Video players, DVD-Audio could smother SACD. That is unless, of course, SACD made a similar move. However, SACD would need to complete two paradigm shifts. First, all SACDs would have to be SACD/CD hybrid discs (while many extol the hybrid capability of SACD, the most readily available SACDs are generaly single-layer discs). Secondly, SACD would have to add DVD-Video capability. The road to universal compatibility is a shorter one for DVD-Audio.
    Warner should start repackaging all of its DVD-Audio titles to include CDs. They should then discontinue the CD-only versions and have the CD/DVD-Audio combo packs displayed in the CD departments of all stores. These combo packs should, of course, also be favorably priced. That could be huge move for the DVD-Audio format. Oh well. If I were emperor... [​IMG]
     
  9. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Another thing that surprises me from a Sony standpoint is the fact that they have yet to release a car head unit that supports SACD. I would have thought they would have at least put out one by now. Of course this does not really surpruse me because car audio looks to market to the low end set, trumpeting MP3 compatibility and fancy displays most of the time over any other feature[​IMG]. A SACD player for the car would be perfect for Sony's Mobile ES line if they hadn't discontinued the whole line.[​IMG] If Sony did Hybrids right from the start I could overloook the lack of at least one car SACD player, but since all they have put out is single layer discs this makes even less sense to me.
    Panasonic has done some DVD-A head units you can now get in the 400-500 dollar range on clearance, which I feel is a decent price given everyting has to perfrom in a smaller package and you get DVD-V ability as well. Supposedly there are more DVD-A car players coming out this next year, but I will believe that when I see it, just due to the market car audio caters (teenagers who want something to look cool, sound is secondary).
    J
     
  10. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Justin,

    The commentary that DSD/SACD is far simpler to implement seems contradictory when faced with the complete nonexistence of both car and portable SACD players.

    OTOH, I know there's at least one car head unit (from Panasonic) which is capable of native playback of DVD-Audio, a handful of portable players (Panasonic and Toshiba) and one PeeCee based solution from Creative Labs.

    So while talk of mass market adoption of SACD is being bandied about (and has been for 2 years), it is DVD-Audio that has expanded beyond the standalone player market first, even though SACD has about a 1 year advantage in time to market.

    Regards,
     
  11. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith,
    Thanks for the update on the European market. I have enough trouble keeping track of the US market [​IMG]
    Regards,
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, no problem. I guess I have those European models engrained because it thoroughly irritates me that they aren't available in the US. [​IMG]
     
  13. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  14. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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  15. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Beta would have succeeded over VHS in my opinion had they embraced the adult video market (which they ignored). When people realized they could watch adult movies in the privacy of their own homes on VHS, the format took over and left Beta in the dust.

    Consumers don't really care which format is better (average consumers that is). They only care about which format will allow them to listen to (insert favorite artist here). The format that allows them to do this is the format that will take over.

    Software availability drives hardware sales. The key for either formats success is how many titles are available for each format. Unless both formats address this issue, both will flounder. SACD has had some big successes with the Stones and Aerosmith, DVD-A hasn't quite had the same impact yet. Neither one is really standing out in this regard.

    My .02
     
  16. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    ROFLMAO once again Lee.....
    You're getting very good at providing comic relief to a number of us these days.
    I think you need to work on your comprehension skills. Who said anything about a pro piece of equipment? I sure as hell didn't. I was talking about delivered products to consumers. Understand who they are?
    Sony has been saying that the mass market phase is in progress, yet to date has released exactly zero portable players and zero car head units. It doesn't get more mass market than portables.
    Please, refute my player numbers. Has Sony released either a car head unit or a portable player yet?
    Regards,
     
  17. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    John, I agree from what I have seen Sony would appear to be moving away from the stand alone SACD player. Philips as well with their line has gone the combo unit. Software of quality is the key. With DVD-A a very high % of what is out there is Silverline/Sanctuary which is not a very good endorsement of the format. To the extent of automobile playability, if there are hybrid SACDs, I don't see this as quite the same issue it may have been with mini-disc (or 'L' Cassette for those as old as me). With the interior of a car and noise, probably anything dynamic range wise that is the same as a cassette with Dolby C is likely overkill. I don't think the masses are going to rush out to buy a stand alone DVD-A player or SACD player for the car. One good thing about the DVD-A use in DVD-V players is that they (DVD-V) are somewhat common is cars today. I just bought a car with it and can play DADs and while I would not listen to the DD mixes in the home this does afford the opportunity to listen to them. I see this as a slight advantage for DVD-A and if hybrids are not released on SACD, it will be a much bigger advantage.
     
  18. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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  19. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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  20. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    The reason why a lot of people call SACD the next Beta, is the past history of Sony. There hasn't been a format yet that Sony has developed on their own that hasn't been any more than a niche product.

    The reason why we think it is happening again is Sony's unwillingness to push it as a format. Sony built in backwards compatibility, but has yet to make hybrid discs and replace the normal release. (The Stones release should be the rule, not the exception.) The fact that most titles are niche titles and don't have general appeal. The fact that there are far more DVD-A titles that I want in comparison to SACD.

    Personally, as a SACD owner, I'm rather frustrated.

    Jason
     

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