Monday, June 26, 2006

Multiple DVD Formats: Does Anyone Win?

Slightly off-topic for a mobile blog, but I can't help but think that no-one will win with the next-gen DVD wars about to confuse the hell out of consumers.

I have about 300 DVDs, I'm quite happy with them, they look very nice on a normal TV and apparently on Thelf's nice new HD LCD flatscreen. No-one has yet given me a compelling reason why I want a new format - I won't repurchase the same films again, I'm quite happy with DVD. I don't want to pay more for a new format, or new hardware. There is no step change in functionality like VHS to DVD.

The motives behind the move seem entirely selfish - hardware people need us to buy a new platform to maintain revenues now a DVD player costs £19.99 in Argos, and studios who were utterly surprised when DVDs started selling like hotcakes now expect to be able to push out new formats and repeat that success.

Three possible outcomes:
  1. One format wins outright (losers: the companies that exclusively backed it, and the consumers that bought it)
  2. Both formats co-exist for a few years, until drives come out which read both and everyone forgets there was a difference (like DVD-R vs DVD-RW but presumably with more lasers; losers: every consumer who buys the wrong format by mistake, or who wants some content out on the other format)
  3. No-one buys them, and we just stick with plain-old DVDs until it's impossible to buy replacement hardware/content (losers: the hardware companies)
It may make me a luddite, but I'm hoping for number 3...