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War is Hell

As I stated previously, the next generation of DVDs are coming. The industry was gearing up for a format war, though. Sony had Blu-Ray and Toshiba had HD-DVD. Both featured high definition films. Blu-Ray has larger capacity, which means a better picture or more material per disc, while HD-DVD was cheaper and required less investment to convert existing fabrication plants.

But, Sony has recently said they want to explore a unified format. And now Toshiba has replied with a reaching out for a single format. Let’s hope they don’t screw this up.

The speedy adoption of DVD has been impressive. I wouldn’t want to see that spoiled by a format war. In such cases, as with DVD Audio and SACD, it is possible for neither side to win. The industry would lose out on the successor to DVD and all the profit to come from it, and the consumers would lose out by getting a barely supported format (remember Laser Disc?).

Innovation needs to be helped along, not hindered. But it has to be balanced with competition. Two formats may be too much competition, and no one wins. A single format that companies compete within seems to work. But, is that appropriate in every instance? Probably not: most situations aren’t black and white. But, creativity should be an easy choice to make.

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