Does Anybody Love a Format War?

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Does Anybody Love a Format War?

War! What is it good for! Absolutely nothing!

Great song (great cover by Bruce Springsteen; brilliant original by Edwin Starr) and a great idea -- and very appropriate in CE for what's going on with the next generation of DVD.

Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Lions Gate are set to release 50 films in the Blu-ray DVD format (supported by Sony), while Paramount has plans to release 10 films in the rival HD-DVD format (supported by Toshiba) sometime this spring.

Nobody seems to have learned from the earlier video tape format war, when Sony's Betamax format took on all of the VHS-format supporters. And reversing the "may the best man win" motto, the technologically superior Betamax lost out to the people's choice -- VHS. In all fairness, Betamax did hang around for a while and had an even longer life as a professional format.

What's in it for us consumers? Confusion over which format will win out, delays in making a decision (if any) to move into this next-generation product, yada yada yada. Not that I pity retailers, but they face the same confusion -- and they have to decide about stocking both hardware and software sometime soon to support both formats.

Anybody have any good stories from the Betamax-VHS war?

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