Sony ponders PSP-TV connectivity as UMD support slows

<i>The Hollywood Reporter</i> reports that Universal and Paramount have ceased making movies for the PSP, quotes Sony executive as saying TV playback "may" happen.


When the PlayStation Portable went on sale just over a year ago, the movie industry embraced it. Major studios saw the device's proprietary Universal Media Disc (UMD) format as a way to wring further income out of their vast film libraries.

And attempt to wring they did. To date, 239 movie and television-show UMDs have been announced or released. The list is a mismatched mix of independent films (Hustle and Flow, The Brothers Grimm) and big-budget flops (Stealth, Lord of War, Rent), along with occasional blast from the past (Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip) and television offerings (Beavis and Butt-head). However, as was the case with DVDs in the late 1990s, many films with the potential to mint money (Star Wars, anyone?) remained unreleased on UMD.

Over the past few weeks, there have been increasing signs that Hollywood is now much less bullish on UMD movies. Last month, Variety reported that Paramount Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video, and even Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, were scaling back on UMD releases because of poor sales.

Today, the Hollywood Reporter ran an article claiming that two major studios have ceased releasing UMDs altogether. Citing unnamed executives, the paper claims that the home-entertainment divisions of Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures have "completely stopped" shipping titles on the format. "We are on hiatus with UMD," one anonymous executive told the paper. "Releasing titles on UMD is the exception rather than the rule. No one's even breaking even on them."

Perhaps worse still, the Reporter reports that the nation's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, will likely soon "dump the category entirely."

That said, the article also holds out some hope for the UMD as a viable home-video format. Currently, one of the biggest reasons consumers don't buy films on UMD is because PSPs cannot play video onto televisions. But that may eventually change according to Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Feingold told the Reporter that Sony is "hoping the format's going to be reinvigorated with next-generation capability that may include living room or normal television playback," he said. Sony reps declined to elaborate on Feingold's comments.

Even if Hollywood does cease releasing films on UMD, Sony will continue to ship games on the format, even though the company has announced plans to digitally distribute original PlayStation games directly to PSPs later this year.

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Avatar image for technopirate

I love the umd for games, but's why I've got DVDs. Why should I fork out $15 for a new release DVD but then anywhere from $19.99-$24.99 for a new release UMD movie? It just doesn't make sense to me. I totally agree with BionicCommando2, if there were some way to watch UMD movies on my home tv I would be much more inclined to buy them, but for now it's converting my DVDs to mp4 and saving them on the memorystick. Come on Sony, we still love ya but you gotta love us back.

Avatar image for SnakeEater187

About time they realise this

Avatar image for MikeL2u

I honestly can't understand why it's taken this long for SONY or any other company for that matter to realize this. I mean it's not that hard to make a small set-top box that plays UMD videos... It could be the size of a MD player and connect to your TV/PC. Even better... Just release some PS2 software that uses the USB connection and then play it through your PS2 or PS3. It's not that hard SONY!!! Meanwhile I wont buy movies on UMD until SONY fixes this, as it's just a waste of money when you have DVD.

Avatar image for BionicCommando2

I geuss the whole idea is people aren't buying UMD because they cant watch them both on the go and at home on their tv's. I know I've skipped on buying UMD movies because I knew I wouldn't want to watch it solely on the PSP screen. So I just buy the DVD instead. Sony thinks that if you can watch it on both the psp screen and TV that people would then buy the UMD because it would be all purpose. That's what I gather from it. In my opinion I would make them about 10 bucks a shot and then people would buy them one way or the other.

Avatar image for gaiden1024

I own a psp and I truly cannot belive this device does not have tv out... it has great picture fidelity and when i choose to sit in a tv room and play i would not mind one bit being able to throw the pic onto a tv (the best solution would be wireless , so that the psp is still a kick ass controller)

Avatar image for comthitnuong

i guess connecting the pssp to the tv would have some value....

Avatar image for gatsbythepig


Avatar image for Jeff_Blaze

That might be the only reason i buy a damm PSP...cause them games, they'r not even all that!! Ninteno rules

Avatar image for Naruto-freak

why does the psp even need movies? CAUSE IT SUCKS!!!

Avatar image for gatsbythepig

love it, now

Avatar image for sda3

Yipee, now they can make us buy that 2 gig memory stick to be able to play those games to. Come on, flash media is not the way to go unless the prices drop drastically

Avatar image for nev70

what rubbish psp 2 ,tv people have consoles under their tv + dvd players who the FFFF wants to play ported ps2 games on a psp via their tv ? sony you r ................

Avatar image for Enigma2K99

Gee, this will probably bug the ones who bought the blasted thing to do something besides play games...

Avatar image for Cobalt_Strike

If people care so much about watching movies on the go, just go out and buy a portable dvd player with a 7-8 inch screen. Its cheaper in the long run. That 100 bucks you save on the PSP gets you a handfull of movies or so. As for hooking up a PSP to a tv to play games, thats a good idea. But its still cheaper just to buy a PS2.

Avatar image for Maquis_UK

what kind of parallel universe do you have to live in to think that Fonys handheld could have clobbered the DS ?? ..evidence speaks for itself, i think you'll find. Once they steal Nintendos touch screen gameplay, well that may help a little bit, but i think we all see the winner in the handheld war already. ...also, Paul Is Dead.

Avatar image for LordAndrew

I don't see how being able to play them on a TV will help anything. Who would WANT to watch them on a TV? They cost more and have lower quality than DVD. Why don't I just buy a freaking VHS tape? Sony's attempts at creating new media formats have historically been poor. Here's another one to toss on the pile.

Avatar image for masiisam

sony's history and there lost media concepts slips one more notch...

Avatar image for ocdog45

this story is more about there sales than the t.v. thing. i have zero movies to this date. i have a bunch of clips i ad on there. but not movies. what was even worse was the t.v. series. i got the chappelle season 1 dvd. didn't have the entire season (of course) so why sell it.

Avatar image for dragonsama

The only time I ever watch a UMD movie is when I am on a plane flying somewhere and I want to take a break from gaming a bit. Still if Sony puts out a PSP to TV device it Will help PSP sales as a lot of people would love to Play their PSP games on a bigger screen and some people will go "Well I can watch this movie on the go and at home so this works"

Avatar image for sigma8

If UMD's cost $9 or less, I'd buy them. In fact, I did buy one for about $10. Bill and Ted's excellent adventure from a Saturday Matinee store that was going under :) It was the only UMD movie that they still had that was worth watching, and cheap. Sony has seriously dropped the ball with the PSP. In all honesty, it could have clobbered the DS, or at least done a _lot_ better against it. But nope.

Avatar image for Autolycus


Avatar image for chrisdojo

LOL!!!!!!!! UMD support slow? never even got off the ground!!!!! hahahaha!!!!

Avatar image for decebal

Originaly they annouced TV conectivity. Now they are backing out, saying "may." I don't get how this is a good thing.

Avatar image for skitzocyko

movies are a rip off. too expensive and no extra content. give us a reason to but it other than portability.

Avatar image for timts

$ONY is never customer friendly and it's always over priced. betamax, claimed to be superior in technology, how about MD? UMD is not even superior in tech, $249.99 for a bulky handheld is just meaningless. it might be better if they add touch screen on PSP, remove the UMD and add a little harddrive to it and make it a PDA. now here comes the blue ray, $1000 for a standalone unit? NO, THANK YOU. even the $500 price mark for HD-DVD isnt that appealing. let's just make D9 H264 codec movie on it, WITHOUT the extra features I dont care and make it 720p and the SAME price as normal DVD, and see how it goes. M$ should buy some movie companies and release H264 enabled WMV movies on D9 DVDs, enable xbox/xbox360 to playback them. well, I guess M$ is too greedy to be smart, too.

Avatar image for blackIceJoe

I for one know why sell less movies are 20 and most of these cost 25 and they do not even come with all the extra stuff that the movies do. I wonder if this could mean we could put are game in it too. I would love to play some PSP games on my TV that would be really cool.

Avatar image for CloudStrifeFFO7

I would buy UMD videos, but if I cant watch them on my TV I dont buy them or if they cost more than DVDs i wont buy them either but that might change though...

Avatar image for thefjk

No more UMD... finally... I dont see me watching a Movie on a PSP, I'd rather do it at home! Portable Consoles, keep them for Gaming only!

Avatar image for Orasion_Seiz

very interesting news here

Avatar image for IceRider_3000

OMFG this makes no sense. This really defeats the purpose of portablilty. If I wanna watch a movie on TV, i'll buy a DVD. If I wanna Play PSP games on TV i'll get a PS2. Sony is getting desperate if you ask me.

Avatar image for cyprus646

People arent buying the UMD because of the price i mean cmon people who would shell out 30 $ for a UMD disk with no features ? Another reason is because the movie selection is bad most of those movies never even stood a chance in theatres.

Avatar image for MedevilDragon

I don't buy UMD's because they cost more than DVD's and have no bonus features (except New Line movies), and you can't play them on TV's.

Avatar image for Sammmyboy

hmm I don't have anything against sony or nintendo or whatever, and I own both the ds and psp, but since I've never owned a home console, I'm very happy with this news. besides, it could be possible that the umd MOVIES don't sell great, but don't forget that the GAMES are also on umd. and please, don't pull the masterpiece that is blu-ray into this mindless argue.

Avatar image for ebonyflame

Simple economics. 20-30 dollas for a proprietary DVD portable format vs. 20 dollar for regular DVD with all the extras you come to expect on a DVD including deleted scenes, previews, interviews, etc. Not to mention most people have at leastone portable DVD player in their homes that play REGULAR DVD's. Any wonder why UMD sales are near zero?

Avatar image for ghostadv

The hells the point of letting the PSP movies play on a TV when you can just buy a DVD (and if you don't have one already, a dvd player) for much less?

Avatar image for ryanribas

while yes the psp is pretty all the games are just ports of other games not much originality there, strike one sony. now the wow factor of movies soon to be gone i love it hopefully sony will be taught a very expensive lesson and learn that creativity not technology will truly prevail go nintendo and microsoft

Avatar image for flipchine

Maybe if the major studios lowered the prices below that of DVDs.....

Avatar image for TooDamnRaw

Maybe Sony should have just stuck to games on the PSP, but that's just my opinion.

Avatar image for Pablo620

The PSP to TV is only part of the answer. Economics 101: Price determines demand. UMDs need to be cheaper then more people will buy them. Heck, ill buy them.

Avatar image for HaloMaster21

If 2 third party developers can put psp to the tv, then sony can!

Avatar image for rbarahona

I was really excited about the UMD format, however after seeing a movie on the PSP I really lost interest. I want to watch my movies with a Home Theater and on a big screen. The idea was great, however it lacked the support of some great movies and the fact that the disc wasn't very Universal; so far, only the PSP uses this media. I am eagerly awaiting for a TV tuner for the PSP. That way I can get some FIFA World Cup matches at work.

Avatar image for samekila

o well sold my psp got me a ds and love it

Avatar image for jaymaster007

"Gigati Gigati GIGATI!"

Avatar image for Gmex


Avatar image for robcarper

If the PSP could play on my TV, or there was a DVD player with a UMD slot, I would not hesitate to buy UMD movies...I hope this happens.

Avatar image for Exige24_basic

nuit_b wrote: "what idiot thought UMD would take off ?" Ken Kutaragi. : )

Avatar image for OmegaBob

Why not avoid the middle man? Ferget purchasing a PSP and get yerselves a... wait for it... PS2 (which is cheaper) and already (and easily) connects to your TV.

Avatar image for vroenis

here's where i imagine most production companies stand in regards to UMD. for them, regardless of what standard, quality and particularly pertinent when discussing PSP - viewable size of the media, what they want to sell to the end-user is the *licence* to view a property. i think the price of UMD movies is indicative of this attitude. you and i might look at the size of the UMD-disc, the greatly reduced image-size, and the perhipheral that plays the media and think - 'surely this product should have a lower rec-retail price-point than a standard DVD' - and this perhaps is what has discouraged end-users from purchasing them. i think the production companies over-estimated the value of the benefit of having their licences available on portable media.

Avatar image for mariokart64fan

sony is just desperate bc their losing that handheld wAr ds is already getting a tv tuner and web browser better than psp

Avatar image for iamonfire

They should have sold psp-tv adapters from the beginning. Without that the price of a UMD movie cant even begin to be justified.

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