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Year 2005 -- year of consoles, lawsuits and Apple

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 02 Jan 2006 2:47 User comments (27)

Year 2005 -- year of consoles, lawsuits and Apple As all other news outlets do the same, we do it as well; its once again time to take a look at the events that happened in the world of digital media during the last year. As a summary, in terms of digital video, it was a year of empty promises and nothing else. In terms of digital entertainment as a whole, it was a year of major hardware releases.
First year of "next generation" console wars

Year 2005 was the year that launched a new era of gaming console wars. The war is being fought on two fronts -- Sony took a shot at Nintendo's dominance in handheld gaming consoles by releasing the PlayStation Portable in the U.S. in March and few months later in Europe. Hackers were also busy trying to find exploits in PSP's firmware in order to run homebrew software and pirated games on the device. Several security holes were found in various PSP's firmware versions that allowed to do that, but Sony also seemed to be very cautious about the loopholes and released several firmware updates to the device, typically bundled with latest games that forced users to upgrade their firmware in order to play the games.

Another front in the console wars was launched when Microsoft released its much-anticipated next generation gaming console, Xbox 360. Some of the folks who were hoping to see a full-blown media center device were deeply disappointed, while people who were waiting for the console just for the games, were quite happy. Additionally, the Xbox 360 finally brought a solid reason for Europeans to get into HDTV mania, which has so far failed to materialize in the old continent, as most flat-screen panels still being sold in 2005 Christmas were "HDTV ready" TVs that could be -- and should be -- sued for false marketing (as the "true" HDTV-readiness requires native resolution on 1920x1280 or better..).

Meanwhile, some of the gamers didn't jump into the Xbox 360 bandwagon, but decided to wait for Sony's upcoming PS3, despite the fact that rumors about its launch delays were in news almost on monthly basis. However, Sony at least released specs of the PlayStation 3 in May.

Blu-ray and HD-DVD fail to materialize -- again...

I think the whole "next generation of DVD" has been covered in every single "year round-up" that I've written ever since 2002. And again, both next generation optical disc formats are in news, but not in our living rooms. The battle lines are getting ready, tho, with last remaining studios announcing their support plans. During the year 2005, it seemed that the Blu-Ray has an competitive edge over HD-DVD with virtually all major movie studios supporting the format.

Additionally, Microsoft didn't add HD-DVD support for its Xbox 360 console, while Sony plans to have PS3 equipped with Blu-ray drive, thus providing consumers a fully-equipped Blu-ray player alongside its next generation gaming console. Microsoft's response seems to be to pressure PC manufacturers to include HD-DVD drives with their products, in order to prevent Sony -led Blu-ray consortium to control the digital video market in future.

Just few days ago, Pioneer announced its first Blu-ray drive that should ship by the end of January, 2006.

Apple continues to dominate the music market

It was four years ago when Apple released its first version of iPod player. Back then, very few people expected much from the player and it was widely dismissed by the "tech community" as an expensive piece of plastic. Well, after tens of millions of players sold worldwide since its release, most of the sceptics have been silenced. Obviously, its a player that some people love and some people love to hate. But it seems that everybody has an opinion about it, which means that its brand has value that most companies can only dream about.

During the year 2005 Apple released three new iPod models -- the simplified iPod Shuffle, extremely small iPod nano and the video-capable iPod video. While nano is probably the most desired version of these, iPod video is, in my opinion, the device that can actually change the world. By changing the world, I mean changing the way how people enjoy their TV and movies -- here are couple of my thoughts about this. After the release of videos via iTunes, thousands of "experts" questioned the reasoning of watching TV shows on miniature screen. But Apple proved them wrong, again. They sold 1M video clips in just 19 days after the release of iPod Video.

Apple's iPod also created a new phenomenon -- or at least a "catch word of the year" -- called podcasting. While it provides really nothing new, it made it easy to download pre-recorded audio clippings via scheduled system and provided a way for radio stations and webcasts to provide easy time-shifting method for their fans.

Recording industry just wont get it

Record labels and their lobby group, RIAA, continued their jihad against the P2P networks, despite various evidence showing a constant growth in P2P use. Additionally, during the year 2005, record labels turned their attention to their only real cash-cow in online world, Apple's iTunes. Several record label executives made public demands to raise the prices of songs sold via iTunes. Most of them wanted to see a model where each song could be individually priced -- exact opposite of Steve Jobs' idea of flat-fee pricing that made iTunes so popular in the first place.

In addition to P2P and iTunes, several lyrics websites were targeted by music industry as well. Most of the people fail to see what is the incentive for music industry to go after websites providing lyrics for fans, even tho the illegal nature of such sites is clear. The biggest problem for most users was really to understand how distribution of song lyrics hurts labels' profits.

Swan song of DVD Decrypter

LiGHTNING UK!, maker of the world's most famous DVD ripping utility, DVD Decrypter, was forced by Macrovision, to cease the development of his ripper. In addition of shutting down the development and distribution of the software, the author was also forced to hand out the copyrights of his software to Macrovision. AfterDawn Ltd found this out when Macrovision demanded us to remove DVD Decrypter from our sites.

Luckily for regular users, tools like AnyDVD and DVDFab Decrypter continue to exist and provide methods to back up legally-owned DVDs for personal use.

What happened at AfterDawn in 2005?

Year 2005 was, once again, an excellent year for us in terms of growth. During the year 2005, we switched to use a new cluster of servers that helped to resurrect our sites from constant crashes that happened during the January and February. As a result, our sites are now running on a server setup that contains eight servers.

During the year 2005 we renamed our "sister site" to and the whole site went through a complete face-lift in terms of functionality and layout.

Another major project was launched just before Christmas, when we opened user profile pages that allow our users to have their blogs, pictures, links, etc posted to their own "homepage within".

Our site's traffic continues to grow on enormous speed, our monthly page impressions grew by 60 percent from December, 2004 to December, 2005. One of the main reasons for growth has been the enormous popularity of our discussion forums that currently generate almost 20,000 new messages each week and have millions of visitors on weekly basis.

The biggest blow to our site was delivered in October, 2005 when Finnish Parliament approved to implement a new, extremely strict new copyright legislation. As our company is based in Finland, that meant several changes to our site that might have short-term effect on our traffic figures. But we hope to compensate the loss of ripping tools and instructions by adding more content, news, guides and other video tools to our site in near future.

But as a whole, it was an extremely interesting year, in both, good and bad. Lets hope that we can continue to provide interesting content also in 2006 and beyond.

Happy new year!

-Petteri Pyyny
AfterDawn Ltd

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27 user comments

12.1.2006 03:33

Happy new year dRD & all the aD Admin & Mods. Keep up the good work guys.

22.1.2006 03:53

I second that! -Mike

32.1.2006 05:41

yes happy new year :)

42.1.2006 05:44

Happy New Year and many more years of fun and information to come! Thanks afterdawn! You make life at work more feasible and intresting.

52.1.2006 06:06

This site has been a great to help me and many others. Thanks and Happy New Year!!

62.1.2006 10:15

Hehe, My Prediction this year - "Year 2006 -- year of consoles, lawsuits, Apple, and the fall of the RIAA." Well, It's what I hope for, anyway =D

72.1.2006 10:39

82.1.2006 12:32

LOL. It was a decent year, a lot of bad things happened, but, we can all learn and grow with that. Let's hope 2006 won't be as disappointing. Best of luck to everyone! Good luck in the new year!

92.1.2006 14:29

I can't even begin to say how much I have learned from this Website, even though I was a lurker for most of the time. Happy New Year to the Afterdawn team, Moderators, and all the users that make this one of the most informative Websites on the net!

102.1.2006 15:41

Is really amazing how this website help me out thanx and happy new year!!! Proudly to be on the team.

113.1.2006 09:45

Happy New Year!

123.1.2006 11:06

Happy new year afterdawn staff and users! Thank you for a great site and forum, it has been a nice year arguing with fanboys and all the others :)

133.1.2006 16:11

this site is great. I remember last year when i wanted to get my ps2 modded but did not know the first thing about modified consoles. I was searching on google and almost all my the questions i had were already answered here. I decided to become a member and i'm glad i did. I now have a cell phone and an ipod i need help with.

143.1.2006 17:20

Yes, happy New year!

154.1.2006 14:28

Happy New Year and thank you for all the help that Afterdawn and it's members have given to myself. Good Luck in this new year.

164.1.2006 14:42

Happy New Year AD and fellow members

175.1.2006 00:50

2005 was a nice year for IT. Happy new year! George ( i' ) edited by ddp

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Jan 2006 @ 8:11

185.1.2006 08:07

'Tis against forum rules to post email addresses. -Mike

195.1.2006 08:12

George432, read the forum rules above about posting & email.

205.1.2006 10:12

Always with the "imanidiot" eh ddp? :P -Mike - Guides written by me. - Join us Live on IRC!

(Kudos to Ripper For The Beautiful Sig!)

215.1.2006 10:33

it is true when you think about it

225.1.2006 12:15

Oh yeah, there's no doubt about that. Just saying I can see that being your trademark lol. -Mike ps. If so, let me have teach and learn :P - Guides written by me. - Join us Live on IRC!

(Kudos to Ripper For The Beautiful Sig!)

235.1.2006 12:48

you can use it but still mine!!

247.1.2006 06:11

Aww No fair : -Mike - Guides written by me. - Join us Live on IRC!

(Kudos to Ripper For The Beautiful Sig!)

257.1.2006 06:58

make your own, sucky!!!

267.1.2006 08:23

Hehe. -Mike - Guides written by me. - Join us Live on IRC!

(Kudos to Ripper For The Beautiful Sig!)

278.1.2006 16:38

Happy New Year to all the staff and posters and especially the monitors. I have learned more off of this site and all the great posters then anyplace or forum....thanks and have a great 2006

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