|eBooks & Hi-def video - content is king
||[Oct. 24th, 2007|09:22 pm]
Way back in January 2006, I raved about the Sony Reader PRS-500, an eInk device for reading downloaded books and documents. It turned out that the DRM implementation was nowhere near as draconian as for its predecessor, the Sony Librie, and a number of third-party apps came out to get content other than that bought at Sony's e-store onto the device. Only the fact that the device was never launched anywhere outside the US stopped me from taking the plunge. Sony customer service hasn't been so good lately, if the experiences of a couple of Vaio-owning friends are anything to go by, so I'd be loathe to buy anything from them they had an in-built excuse not to support.|
Rumour has it that the new version, the PRS-505, will be launched officially in the UK sometime in April 2008. Also on the horizon are Cybook's Bookeen device and the Amazon Kindle. However, they all use various differing formats and therefore can't use the same ebook files. There'll have to be a Sony version, a Kindle version, and a Bookeen version of the same content. I can understand that publishers want some kind of DRM to protect their content, but couldn't everyone just have sat down and come up with a standard that all reading devices could follow, in much the same way mp3 is a common standard, so you buy the device you like best, and load the content you want. This is what would really make ebooks take off, I think. Perhaps it will be the Amazon-Kindle device that starts the revolution given the clout of Amazon in the book market.
The same argument applies almost exactly to the high-definition video market; with HD DVD and Blu-Ray competing, and some content coming out only on one format, is it any wonder take-up is slow outside the AV enthusiast market where buying two shiny toys instead of one is a blessing, not a curse. I'm not buying an HDTV until either one format has triumphed comprehensively over the other, or dual-format players are available at a reasonable price.