Lessons learned from the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD battle

February 20, 2008

Thankfully the battle is now over between the competing high-definition DVD formats and Sony's format is the victor.  Fortunately, this played out a lot faster than the Beta/VHS battle that lasted through most of the 80's (BTW: to this day, I still have one of each in my AV cabinet) Settling the Blu-ray / battle will end much of the consumer confusion and let us get back to spending our "economic stimulus" checks when they arrive later this summer.

Now that this is behind us, what can we learn from this?

#1 - The first to market advantage does not necessarily create a victor.  It's all about market positioning and market might.  and out positioned .

#2 - Better technology will not win the war.  As with the Beta/VHS war, it's not clear that the better technology actually won the war.  HD-DVD did have a number of features and capabilities that Blu-ray is just now introducing.

#3 - Customers don't always control who wins.  In the end, the movie distribution houses made the choice, not the consumers.  As bad as the video rental stores and NetFlix of the world didn't want two formats, the movie distributors hated the specter of two formats even more.

#4 Being stubborn costs $.  The biggest mistake is that the Sony and Toshiba didn't sit down and come up with a compromise format from the beginning.  Would the few months it would have taken to work out the details really have hurt the market?  I doubt it.  Did having two formats for the last two years hurt the market and cost millions of dollars?  Absolutely.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program....




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