War’s a Brewin’

This a good article that gets in to the nitty gritty about the format war that is on the horizon for DVD’s in the next year or two. Surprised to hear that there is a new format being created for DVD’s? You shouldn’t be. Sales are starting to peak out and like VHS players, you can find DVD players for $30 in some places. It’s an old rule of mine that you realize you’re not an early adopter of a technology if you pay less than $100 for it.
Two terms that many people are going to hear about are Blu-ray and HD-DVD. If these don’t make any sense to you, drop in Betamax and VHS. I’m certainly not the first to make this comparison and it comes up quite a bit in the article above, as Sony, once again is backing the superior format that is starting to run in to walls on adoption, just like they did with Betamax. People are saying that this could be the death roll for Sony though, since they seem to be staking everything on Blu-ray happening. But, what people don’t understand is that Sony generally has large success selling the professional market on consumer products that don’t catch on. Thought Betamax died? Uh-uh. It’s been around for years now. They use it in broadcast and previous to high quality DV, it was the way to record without film because it truly was and still is a much higher quality format than VHS which is just garbage really. So, thinking that HD-DVD catching on and being the dominant DVD format will hurt Sony is a bit of a crazy hypothesis. It may make things trickier, but undoubtedly, they’re already working on DV camcorders which record directly to disc on Blu-ray because if you work it out, each disc will hold 125 minutes of footage which is certainly appealing to me. So, if the consumer side of things doesn’t go their way, they’ll still have the pros and while this market isn’t huge, the mark up can be because we want the best and expect the best.
So, who will win this format war? I don’t know. I think that if Sony doesn’t, they have a backup plan though. To be honest, I think that if a compromise is not reached, no one will come out winners and this will be the last straw for conventional physical media delivery of content. Consumers will get so fed up with which player to buy and what disc works that they’ll look for something they don’t have to think about. And that’s really what it comes down to, because while people always want what’s cheap, they also want what’s easy and Cingely’s Article on Apple possibly buying out Blockbuster may not be that far-fetched. Whatever happens, the next five years are probably going to see a massive change in how we watch out video content.