Happy New Year and another format war lost

I have taken a bit of a break from the blogging partly due to holidays and mostly due to not being well during the holidays. I caught a bug and it took me a almost two weeks to get over it. I stayed in bed most of that time and did very little.

The new year started with my first observation of the year. Despite careful research I do before purchasing electronic products, often times I end up choosing the wrong side of the format wars.

My first format war loss was the first generation game console. I had three choices: Nintendo, Atari and NEC. I went with the best technology, which I thought was a sure win: NEC Genesis system. The games on it had incredible graphics. Unfortunately, number of games won out, Nintendo. I had a system that was obsolete in a year. Lesson number one, never go with best technology.

The next format war was in video disc format. I chose LaserDisc. I was sure that with the support of all the major studios, this was a sure winner. Lesson I learned earlier told me that the software, the movies, was the key to the format and this looked pretty good. Well, DVD came out a couple of years later and my entire collection was obsolete. I still have them somewhere in my garage collecting dust. Lesson number two, never jump in a new format with high financial commitment, better one will come along.

Next was the PDA. When Apple came out with the Newton, I knew I had the perfect device for me. Yes, it was a big larger than I would have liked but it had everything I needed to carry a single device, other than a pager (this was days when the cell phone was a size of a brick). Then Palm came out with the device that made the Newton obsolete. I ended up buying the Palm device shortly after that. Lesson number three, big company doesn’t always win the format war.

Now, today’s news bothered me quite a bit. It seems Warner Brothers, last bastion of both high definition video formats, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, announced their choice for Blu-Ray exclusivity by the end of this year. Guess what? I bought a HD-DVD player and a bunch of movies. Again, it looks like I am going to lose this choice. I thought HD-DVD with it’s backward compatibility to DVD would win out. I should have seen this coming early though. When I go to my local Fry’s Electronics, there were 4-5 vendors selling Blu-Ray burners but only Toshiba was shipping a HD-DVD burner. And they never had them in stock! That should have been a clue. Final lesson, lower price item doesn’t always win the format war.

So, what does this mean? I guess I will have to do a slow conversion to Blu-Ray. I think the best way for me is to buy a Sony PS3, so I can play games on the Blu-Ray machine. I will keep my HD-DVD though, just in case Paramount continues to bring their movies out on a single format. At least I would have covered my bet.

On January 4, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by
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