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Format Wars Bring Out the Big Babies

August 10th, 2007

I have bias. Gene has bias. Tom has bias… Dina… heck, I don’t know, she probably doesn’t even care…. But I certainly have bias.

But I don’t wear it on my sleeve and it’s generally targeted towards protecting consumers from the ridiculous cycles the industry goes through… repeating mistake after mistake… after mistake… There’s a reason “ad nauseum” is in our vernacular – it’s absolutely nauseating to see these cycles, and even WORSE to see the stupid “my side, your side” camps that pop up.

OK, my point – I’m getting to them now (there’s more than one)…

Point 1: This high definition DVD format war is bringing out the complete babies on both sides. Yes, babies. Let’s look at some rambling “data” I’ve come to understand:

  • About, oh 100 PERCENT of anyone who disagrees with me about both formats losing the format war owns a player.
  • Every time I post ANY article about EITHER format doing something stupid, some idiot who owns a player from the opposing company attempts to lump me in as a supporter of (not his) format.
  • Every time BD comes out with some kind of statistic, HD DVD follows it up with some other competing stat (More players! More movies! More players! More movies!) It’s like “Tastes great! Less filling!” endlessly.

So I guess I’m just a tool for Blu-ray… no wait, this week I’m a tool for HD DVD… ME? The guy who said they both suck and are destined for failure. The guy who has published multiple articles about each side making a ridiculous number of mistakes. The guy who said downloadable HD content is ultimately going to obsolete and eventually outsell any physical media or format:


These goons are so predictable. They OWN a particular player, so they have invested money in a particular format… so they feel the need to defend it (and presumably themselves for buying into it.)

Yeah. OK. How about just admitting that you wanted HD and you wanted it NOW. You couldn’t wait and so you took the risk of buying into a format that might be as popular as, oh say, SACD or DVD-Audio (just TRY to find those in a retail store nowadays.) There’s nothing wrong with that – but don’t get so vested.

Be content. Be happy. And DON’T try to tell me that I support one format over another or am some tool for one or the other. It’s ridiculous and just shows that you will look for any reason to defend your own ignorance.

Point 2: Some online publications have obviously taken sides. We haven’t. Not only is this stupid, it extends point #1 into the realm of editorial and web publishing… Yes, even some of the editors have bought into the format early and are huffy about their formats winning. How’s that DVD-Audio/SACD collection going? Hope you like classical music, cause I don’t think much else will be left in a year or two.

Point 3: The music industry is full of buffoons. Once again they have access to 2 new formats (pick one please) that offer reasonably safe copyright protection and they all but ignore it (hey let’s print some more CDs and then blame consumers for riping them to MP3 to use while jogging…) Um. MP3s are fine, but you can slowly switch to HD DVD or BD and see your copy issues disappear overnight – if you would get behind a single format in force and push the hardware to drop quickly in price… But then again if you replace the CD you will have to come to grips with the fact that people don’t like your rinse and repeat music… so maybe CDs should stick around a bit longer.

Point 4: I have seen no indication that Hollywood studios have ANY inclination they will ever drop the DVD format in the foreseeable future. This alone should tell everyone that the so-called format war is really a niche war to see who will win control of a relative handful of higher-end users. Where is the outboard video processor war? Are Faroudja, DVDO and Gennum fighting over who puts their processor/scalers into consumers’ systems? No, they’re shooting for as much marketshare as the market will allow, but they aren’t silly enough to think that Joe Consumer is even going to have one in their home or understand the reasoning behind its benefits. The problem for HD-DVD formats is they are dropping prices without studio support to replace DVD – meaning that they are cutting their margins while not ever ensuring a mass-market penetration.

Not smart, but entirely predictable since it’s happened before.

Go home, babies. Cry to your mommas.

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  1. hopjohn
    August 10th, 2007 at 14:51 | #1

    In what form do you forsee downloadable content flourishing? I have a bit of a problem with merch. that isn’t tactile and has viewing and ownership limitations. Anything that can deleted with a push of button never seems permanent to me, and that’s what I would want if I’m paying 20 bux for it. Do you see a solution to this?

  2. BobMac
    August 12th, 2007 at 13:43 | #2

    I don’t really care who wins. Once the players are available for under 200 bucks, then I’ll get both.

  3. August 13th, 2007 at 09:20 | #3

    I think the concept of paying $20 will be gone and people will latch on to $4 pay per view or subscription fees for the majority. I notice that I only buy epics now… In fact, I haven’t bought a DVD for a long time and only bought a few HD DVDs to use as testing material for my projector reviews. The way I look at it, I can either rent movies for $20/mo from Netflix and get 6 movies a month – or I can buy 1…

    Easy choice for me. I believe ultimately the HD migration will work much in the same way, but cable/satellite/fiber companies will pick up the role of broadcasting HD rental subscriptions.

  4. August 13th, 2007 at 09:43 | #4

    Remember, there are always DVD/BR/HD DVD burners. You can download bit perfect versions and burn them with the copyright protection intact. There are a lot of ways that downloading content can work for just about every type of consumer, including those that like to touch their purchases – now that just sounds dirty.

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