Sony has again delayed the release of its much-anticipated and oft-postponed Blu-ray DVD player, the BDP-S1, which was due to hit store shelves this week.
The announcement, which comes amid a flurry of product problems for Sony, set off a lot of media speculation about quality-assurance problems at Sony, but the delay seems to be a strategic decision that is based on component supply rather than any trouble with the player.
Strategic or not, nobody is happy about the news, and Sony hasn't issued any formal statements.
The Blu-ray diode used in the BDP-S1 is the same one used in Sony's PlayStation 3 game console, which is set for release on November 17. According to experts, there simply doesn't seem to be enough parts to go around.
In the hierarchy of products in the huge Sony line, the PlayStation 3 ranks miles above the BDP-S1 in terms of expected sales. It appears that Sony is reserving its Blu-ray diode supply for the PlayStation 3. Sorry, movie buffs.
According to the latest reports, Sony plans to have 400,000 PlayStation 3 consoles ready for sale in North America alone on the release date. The company anticipates being able to ship over one million by the end of the holiday season.
Many in the gaming industry feel 400,000 consoles will not be nearly enough to satisfy demand.
The delay of the BDP-S1 is expected to affect Blu-ray movie sales this holiday season, which would widen the impact of the delay well beyond Sony to electronics and movie retailers and to Hollywood studios that hope for big sales of Blu-ray DVD titles.
Sony isn't the only manufacturer of Blu-ray players, but it is one of the main proponents of the technology. According to industry journal Video Business, retailers were already expecting a shortage of Blu-ray and HD DVD players this shopping season, and at least one studio, Warner Home Video, had recently cut its sales projection in half for high-def movies.
The delay of the BDP-S1 will exacerbate that situation.
Initial speculation that the latest BDP-S1 delay is due to a product flaw stemmed from the fact that the BDP-S1 missed its release dates three previous times. It was first due out in July, but was postponed until August, then to October 25.