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Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Talks End 389

Last minute talks to unify the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats have failed. Matsushita, owner of the Panasonic brand, has stated 'the market will decide the winner.' From the article: "The two sides held talks last year in the hopes of avoiding a prolonged format battle similar to the one between Betamax and VHS videotapes in the 1980s, knowing that it could discourage consumers from shifting to the advanced discs and stifle the industry's growth. But the talks soon fizzled out, with each side reluctant to establish a format based on the other's disc structure. At stake is the $24 billion home video market and a slice of the personal computer market as PCs will be equipped with Blu-ray or HD DVD optical drives."
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Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Talks End

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  • Just fine (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:25PM (#15206904) Homepage Journal
    The two standards are too different to unify. The disc is different, the data layout is different, the means for handling interactivity are different, the codec is different... EVERYTHING is different. My only regret is that there are so many variables that we may not really learn anything about which is the best product based on who succeeds and who sucks seed... we may only learn who had better marketing.
    • Re:Just fine (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:43PM (#15207055)
      They have so much in common though... The laser is the same, the lens is the same, the disc size and thus the tray, motors, and mechanicals are the same, the outputs are the same, the processing power requirements are the same... All that's different from the player's perspective is the focus and the software.

      All you are going to learn is that players are going to cost $LICENSING_FEE more than they would have, and the players will play both.
      • I hope both formats die.

        Failing that, I hope they both survive, ending up as +/- did for dvd. There's really no reason we can't have $50 dual format burners in 5 years.

    • The codec is irrelevant. The data layout is irrelevant. The interactivity handling is even irrelevant. All of that is handled in the software. What it all boils down to is the means of putting the ones and zeros on the disk. can they be read by the same laser & optics? if so, they are really the *same* format regardless of the other gobbledigook thrown in there to confuse the issue.
      • Re:Just fine (Score:2, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

        The codec is irrelevant. The data layout is irrelevant. The interactivity handling is even irrelevant.

        I'm sure the programmers developing the reference implementations of the two standards would love to hear that.

        The standard includes both the physical media and the software. Nothing specified is irrelevant. You are a boob.

        • Re:Just fine (Score:3, Insightful)

          by walt-sjc ( 145127 )
          Anything that can be handled by software is a non-issue as it can be dealt with via a firmware / software / driver upgrade. The physical stuff is what really matters as any hardware created NOW will have to be replaced if the standards are not compatible and need to be changed to be compatible. So, no, the gp is not a boob. He is looking at things from a different point of view.
      • Re:Just fine (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:36PM (#15207498)
        Yes because, to throw an analogy into the works, NTFS, Ext3, Fat32, Resier and XFS are all the *same* format because they can all be stored on the same platter and read by the same disk heads.
    • Re:Just fine (Score:5, Informative)

      by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:16PM (#15207318) Journal
      Good old Drinkypoo...

      The disc is different,

      HD-DVDs are just a minor upgrade to DVDs, so it's not a stretch to have Blu-ray drives reading them.

      the data layout is different,

      That means absolutely nothing. It's quite easy to handle various layouts. DVD players handle VCDs, SVCDs, JPEG/MP3/WMA CDs, and DVDs, with no problems. I've never yet seen a disc misdetected.

      the codec is different...

      Completely wrong. They both mandate EXACTLY the same video codecs, and of the same audio codecs as well (audio codecs are trivial next to the complex video codecs anyhow).

      EVERYTHING is different.

      "Everything" meaning "Almost Nothing".

      Don't let ignorance stop you from spouting off, though.
  • the 'market' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by celardore ( 844933 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:25PM (#15206911)
    It's right that the 'market' will decide the 'winner'.

    It's just unfortunate that the market powers are the producers rather than the consumers. History repeating itself again. And again.
    • Re:the 'market' (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dmeranda ( 120061 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:33PM (#15206974) Homepage
      "the market will decide the winner"

      Just another way of saying, "We're okay if 49.9% of the consumers
      get screwed. We'll screw the surviving 50.1% later."
    • Re:the 'market' (Score:5, Insightful)

      by macdaddy357 ( 582412 ) <> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:05PM (#15207236)
      Given the choice between two incompatible standards for AM Stereo, the market chose niether.
      Ditto ditto quadraphonic records, ditto.
      Ditto ditto DAT vs DCC, ditto.
      I strongly suspect that HD-DVD and Blu-ray will be another ditto.
      • Re:the 'market' (Score:3, Informative)

        by nightsweat ( 604367 )
        I think you can add SACD and DVD-Audio to that list soon.
      • Re:the 'market' (Score:5, Informative)

        by Webmoth ( 75878 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @05:29PM (#15207962) Homepage
        In consumer electronics, there are two factors that generally direct which format becomes standard: time-to-market and licensing.

        The first-to-market standards proposal has a good shot at winning, because by the time other competing proposals get to market, the first one has so much market penetration that nobody wants the second for fear of incompatibility.

        Licensing models that are less restrictive and more open also tend to find favor among consumers. The less cost and hassle the consumer experiences wins product loyalty in the marketplace.

        Consider a few examples:

        VHS vs. Betamax: Sony was first-to-market with Betamax in 1975, followed in 1976 by JVC with the VHS format. Based on time, Betamax should have become the standard for magnetic recording of video. However, Sony made a mistake with licensing: only Sony would produce Betamax tapes and devices. JVC opened up their technology to licensed manufacturers, allowing for competition in the marketplace which drove the prices of VHS far enough below that of Betamax (and increased the features) to influence the marketplace to invest in VHS technology. Because at the time Betamax devices were still expensive, there was little market penetration for JVC to overcome. In summary, the open standard won.

        DVD vs. Divx (not the codec []): Does anyone remember this debate []? Those who do, remember that these two competing CD-like digital video distribution technologies were in a little war for the consumer's pocketbook. Both technologies came out about the same time, so time-to-market wasn't an issue. The issue was Divx pay-per-view licensing model: instead of buying a video once and wathing it an infinite number of times (as with DVD), the consumer would buy the Divx video fairly cheaply but then pay something every time it is watched. Needless to say, this went over like a fart in church. DVD won based on its superior licensing model.

        AM Stereo: I'm not up on the licensing models or time frame of the competing AM stereo technologies, but they were both late-to-market in relation to standard AM radio. There was already HUGE market penetration of standard AM broadcast equipment and receivers; few people saw benefit in replacing that equipment. Had there been just one proposal for AM Stereo, and had it been completely open, it is still doubtful it would have ever caught on.

        Microsoft vs. Linux (Gates vs. Torvalds):consumer but it poses problems for developers who, for economic reasons, wish to maintain security over their intellectual property. It is for this reason that many hardware manufacturers do not support Linux: their legal departments cannot confidently say that their intellectual property will be protected if they provide Linux drivers for their products. In this regard, Microsoft's licensing model is superior to Linux's for the developer.

        So in the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD debate, who will win? Which proposed standard will be first-to-market? Which will have the less-restrictive licensing model? What about the third factor, technical superiority? What about the fourth factor -- does the public even want it (think DAT or video phones)?

  • by Buddy_DoQ ( 922706 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:28PM (#15206924) Homepage
    Regular DVD!

    Hell, my HDTV is always in HD anyway, why would I need HD or ray's blue DVD's? That's just stupid!*

    *This comment is a joke, but it is widely believed to be true in the consumer world.
    • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:39PM (#15207020) Homepage Journal
      All jokes aside, Regular DVDs are going to be the reigning king for a while to come. Both formats will have a hard time gaining wide spread acceptance as long as the competitor is out there. Especially since in the movie arena, neither has any current offerings that provide consumers with a large tangible advantage over regular DVDs. Movies @ 1024i are pretty, but they are not hundreds of dollars prettier then Movies @ 480p (err what ever EDTV/DVDs are recorded at).

      • The winner is... me! I get to hang onto the dollars in my gadgets & toys budget, because, well, why the hell would I plunk it into either one of these?

        (a) A 1.5TB Raid and virtual drives makes any storage gains irrelevant,
        (b) Even on a 56" 1080i native DLP set, from 10' away I'm hard pressed to tell a clean 16:9 anamorphic recording at 480i from a 720p or 1080i picture (and I just got an A minus on my last vision checkup 2 weeks ago),
        (c) Damned if I'm going to help fund or expand the market penetr

      • Your sure? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:33PM (#15207470) Journal
        Who hundred of dollars. The same hundreds or even thousands of dollars people spend on all those HD-TV's? Every trash day you see those boxes. People seem t be spending a lot of money on those TV's. Why? They are not that much better then my PC tv card.

        To me.

        Just because you don't find it worth the money doesn't mean that everyone else agrees with you.

        I seen some bittorrent releases in HD formats and the difference is huge. Granted the largest actually have to be scaled down to fit on my screen but you can't deny the difference. It is the difference between an actors face being a blur with darkspots for eyes and mouth and being able to see wether they had a good nights sleep the day before.

        Does it matter?

        If it didn't we would still be using 8mm film. Black & White.

        Everytime a new format comes along you get the same old argument about it being to costly for a minor increase. Yet that never stopped anyone before.

        We will see one of these being the winner in a few years time. The early players will be sold out in no time and take up will be a lot faster then you think and then when the next-gen format war starts you will be spouting the same nonsense.

        TV is a lot more important to people then you think. A 1000 dollars to have the next best thing is nothing to a lot of people.

        • Re:Your sure? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:59PM (#15207701) Homepage Journal

          Everytime a new format comes along you get the same old argument about it being to costly for a minor increase. Yet that never stopped anyone before.

          How many DVD-audio disks do you own?

        • Re:Your sure? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @05:37PM (#15208019)
          Many people buy big TVs not for the quality but simply because the screen's larger. Some people just like bigger == better. It makes a lot of people who's eye sight's failing see the picture easier. Some buy out of impulse, some just don't want the bulge in classical CRT's.

          All of these are possible reasons to buy a large format TV.

          "It is the difference between an actors face being a blur with darkspots for eyes and mouth and being able to see wether they had a good nights sleep the day before"

          The difference may be stark to you, but unless you've got a CRT or a -good- plasma/lcd, you won't notice the difference anyways. The black color washout is probably the most painful thing I've had to live with since moving to affordable (5k) large format TVs.

          I won't even bother debating your B&W issue.

          "Everytime a new format comes along you get the same old argument about it being to costly for a minor increase. Yet that never stopped anyone before. "

          Did you convert to mp3pro? Oh, me neither. Did you convert to the record sized laser discs? No? Me neither. Troll another issue, please.

          IMHO, The format/formats have a chance to survive only if they hitch a ride with the replacement and upgrade DVD player market. They've got a tough fight at this price point though. I can walk into a store and buy a $30 DVD player if I wanted to. Comparing $30 to $1000, I don't care who you are, if you have any financial discipline, you've got to have a better reason to own it besides 'I just want it'.
      • Too true (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )
        I have an HDTV, and I have to say, HD fails to knock my socks off. It's nice and a definite improvement, but it's not earth shattering. A 1080i discovery show does look better than a 480p DVD, but not a ton. DVDs look pretty good. Good enough it's not annoying or anything.

        On any non-HD set, of course, there's no beneift at all.

        It's nothing like the VHS-DVD jump. The benefits on ANY set are immense. The picture is better on all but the lowest quality sets and doesn't degrade over time. The sound as leaps and
    • You're exactly right. Normal DVD will win. Why?

      1) Rational people will wait until one or the other wins.
      2) Current DVDs, with proper upscaling, will be close enough to the quality of the native-HD movies that there will be little-to-no incentive to spend extra on HD.
      3) People already own the TV, the player, and plenty of other DVD's. And they're generally happy with what they have. Buying new movies in good ol' regular DVD is a 'safe' choice.

      This is a case where both sides were saying "If I c
  • by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:29PM (#15206940)
    "It's now a test of physical strength," Tsuga said.
    Matsushita plans to launch DVD players later this year with a price tag likely to top $1,000.

    Customers will need to workout just so they can lift their wallet up to the counter to pay for it!
  • Third way (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:31PM (#15206949)
    Samsung long ago announced [] that if the two high density blue laser DVD camps couldn't make up and get along, that they were just going to go ahead and start building drives capable of playing both hd dvd and bluray. That is to say, if the two camps cannot unify, then Samsung will unify them whether they want it or not. At least one other manufacturer whose name I forget has announced similar plans. I cannot help but wonder how popular this approach will become.

    I also cannot help but wonder, faced with two contradictory and low-uptake standards, how many stores will actually want to stock hddvd or bluray discs? It seems to me that the only chance either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray has of actually getting widely stocked is by making dual-capability DVDs that can be played on either a next-gen dvd player, or a current gen dvd player (both next-gen formats support this; it's done by burning a disc with one layer of DVD and one layer of hddvd-or-bluray).
    • Unfortunately, these kind of drives will be a lot more expensive to produce since they will have to support both laser wavelengths. I also wonder how error prone they'll be as there were some reliability problems with CD/DVD combo drives. In the long run though, you will probably right and this will work out.

      On your second point, I wouldn't want to deal with customer confusion over the multiple similar movie formats either. Consumers are a lot more tech-savvy but with all the different disk-based movie for

      • Re:Third way (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Babbster ( 107076 )
        I wouldn't worry that much about the extra expense, at least not from Samsung. They managed to drive CRT HDTV prices down very quickly once they got into the market with some aggressive pricing, and I would expect them to do the same with Blu-Ray/HD-DVD. That said, all of the HD-format players are going to be expensive for at least the next year - probably too expensive for either format to gain significant marketshare given the relatively low (but growing) penetration of HDTVs.

        IF either format has any h
    • Both LG and JVC are supposedly considering building dual HDDVD/Bluray players too.
    • Re:Third way (Score:4, Informative)

      by jafac ( 1449 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:01PM (#15207206) Homepage
      Actually, I heard Samsung decided not to go ahead with the Combo player due to some hidden licensing issues.

      But LG Electric is going to produce a combo, and they decided to challenge those licensing terms in court.

      As for Matsushita, fuck them. in both eye sockets.
    • Samsung is going to come out of this decade as a real technology power, in the same league as the most influential Japanese giants. They've really been doing everything right for the last ten years.

      No longer just the only way to get printing to work under Linux!

  • by eMartin ( 210973 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:32PM (#15206965)
    These days everyone knows what HD means. These days most people have DVD players.

    Blu-Ray? What's that?
    • These days everyone knows what HD means. These days most people have DVD players.

      Blu-Ray? What's that?

      Yes, so people will "know" they have an HD TV, and "know" they have a DVD player - and so will not purchase HD-DVD players, just the discs - which they will then return in droves (or alternatley they will be buying dual format discs, which will lead them to wonder what the big deal is since those discs look just like DVDs - again leading many to not purchase HD-DVD players).

      Meanwhile amidst the consumer con
    • But few consumers actually have to know what it means before they buy it. That's what marketing takes care of. Most consumers don't know what HD is except that it is better because it means peoples faces look more squished and that must be good for some reason.
    • Blu-Ray? What's that?
      The same could be argued in reverse.

      I already have HD and my DVD player works fine on it. But this 'Blu-Ray' stuff... THAT sounds like the new high quality technology I've been hearing about...
    • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @05:01PM (#15207726)
      Blu-Ray? What's that?

      You my friend, are a clueless consumer (sarcasm, bear with me).

      Today, the average consumer knows all of the TV jargon and terminology. To test your skills and those of a random friend, you must know all of the following:

      LDTV 240p30, 288p25 (CIF)
      SDTV 480i60 (NTSC), 480p30, 576i50 (PAL, SÉCAM), 576p25
      EDTV 480p60, 576p50, 720i50, 720i60, 720p24, 720p25, 720p30
      HDTV 720p50, 720p60, 1080i50, 1080i60, 1080p24, 1080p25, 1080p30

      DVI, HDMI, coax, optical, RCA, component, composite, Svideo, VGA, XVGA, WXVGA, SVGA, BNC

      DD, DTS, SDDS, Dolby Pro Logic, mono, 2.0, 2.1, 5.0, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1

      4x3 vs 16x9 (You MUST know this better than your equipment, because they will fuck it up).

      Oxygen free copper, binding posts, spades, banana plugs

      Not to mention the newcomers on the block like:

      Macrovision, DRM, DCMA, FBI, and bubba who will love you despite your crimes for watching TV.

      Forgive me, I may have missed one or two or hundreds of other letters or terms.

      Apple needs to get into the TV market. Remember when your options for a TV were what kind of wood finish you wanted, when you wanted it delivered, and did you want to spend extra for color?

  • Porn aficionados will have to buy BOTH types of players in order to ensure they can enjoy the 31 different angles in HD for the money shot. Or wait a while to let the loser die out in the marketplace.
  • $5 says Lite-on comes out and poops on the whole battle and hacks together a drive that reads both formats just like the DVDr formats. Then, this whole stupid fight will be a moot point since every manufacturer will copy and we can get back to arguing the real battles.. namely ATI and NVIDIA.. and AMD and INTEL.

  • And what's the problem with digital delivery? It seems to be working for the porn industry...

    What can I say that hasn't been said a million times before. This is yet another example of how closed door meetings determine the course of our society and how the rich and powerful control the interests of the entire earth.

    This is something that rests uneasy in me, because I don't want to adopt a standard that fades. I don't want one of my favorite movies to be ONLY HD DVD and not Blu-Ray.

    And the worst part

  • should read... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dsands1 ( 183088 )
    "Last minute talks to unify the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats have failed. Matsushita, owner of the Panasonic brand, has stated 'the market will decide the winner."

    should read:

    Last minute talks to unify the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats have failed. Matsushita, owner of the Panasonic brand, has stated 'the consumer will have to pay for our greed and inability to compromise'.
    • Re:should read... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
      Why will the consumer lose? Personally, I plan on voting with my wallet for the same format I chose in the DVD-A / SACD wars. The marketplace chose the winner there, and I really hope it will pick the same winner in the BluRay/HD-DVD war.
  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @03:52PM (#15207128) Journal
    With all the DRM and other crippling measures, nothing would please me more than to see both formats die and rot in hell.
    • Exactly. As an early adopter of DVD, there is NO WAY I will buy either of these two formats. I'm skipping these completely because I personally don't like being treated as a criminal. I have a nice HDTV, but I cannot play HD-DVD or Blue-Ray at full res because I'm lacking that HDMI junk. The only reason that "copy protection" is there is to inconvenience the average customer; people who want to pirate these movies will do it just fine....

      Besides, DVDs just really caught on mainstream 3 years ago or so
  • The LAST WORD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cerebud ( 868302 )
    Two formats vying for a very small piece of the pie. HD-DVD is only worth it if you have a 50"+ screen, and most people out there just ain't got it. There will be no format war winners. They will both go the way of the laser disc.
  • The one *I* don't buy in to.

    Let's check my track record, shall we....?

    FreeBSD and OS/2
  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sentientbrendan ( 316150 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:06PM (#15207255)
    They can't agree on merging one... so the obvious answer is just to drop one format. There is already very little incentive to buy this very expensive next generation format... failing to pick a univeral standard will probably just kill the whole thing.

    Anyway, right now the high def dvds are looking a lot like lazerdisk, in the sense that it will be too expensive for anyone to buy it, and by the time it becomes cheap there will be a better standard out. There's just too much competition in the storage space for this dumbass strategy to work. Just because DVD was a success doesn't mean that the successor to DVD will be.

    My bet is that what we will end up doing for hi def movies, is using the existing DVD media, but changing the format from mpeg-2, to something that compresses better like mpeg-4 or windows media. Extra processing power to do decompression may get a lot cheaper a lot faster than these lazers are.

    You have to consider that at this point, PVRs already have the power to do streaming video decompression, and compression of video. It's not hard to imagine increasing the processing power there and adding additional functionality like a divx dvd player, and some basic video games (roms anyone?). You could probably do something equivalent with a modded first gen xbox.

    DVDs were essentially high tech VCRs, which made sense at the time, but these days if people are going to spend more than $50 on some piece of electronics, they expect it to do a lot more than just play videos on their tv.

    I can see them becoming a little bit more successful on the PCs and on consoles. PCs need a way to back up more and more massive data, and consoles need lots of space for more content. That's the primary reason that I'm pretty optimistic about the PS3. Video games are becoming enourmous in terms of space. These disks are on the order of 50 GB, which not that long ago was the size of an entire harddrive. Can game makers fill up all that space with artwork and video? Probably not yet, but I suspect we will start to see some extremely high resolution textures on the 2nd generation PS3 games. Maybe there's just not that much need to expand in that direction... but I suspect that game makers will find some interesting way to make use of the extra space. The main problem I see is lack of exclusive titles these days, game makers need to make their games generic so they can port them from system to system. Thus, the limitations of the xbox 360 will probably keep game makers from taking too much advantage of special things the PS3 can do that can't be ported.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:07PM (#15207265)
    Matsushita, owner of the Panasonic brand, has stated 'the market will decide the winner.'

    It would serve them right to both lose. Then we might get some format everyone agreed on from the beginning.

  • Piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 31415926535897 ( 702314 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:10PM (#15207279) Journal
    Matsushita, owner of the Panasonic brand, has stated 'the market will decide the winner.' "The two sides held talks last year in the hopes of avoiding a prolonged format battle ... knowing that it could discourage consumers from shifting to the advanced discs and stifle the industry's growth."

    That's okay, both sides know they can just blame any of their failures on piracy.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:11PM (#15207286)
    So since people seem to be confused about what managed copy really means, here is a great primer [] on the state of managed copy as of March 2006.


    * Both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray use the same AACS standard for copy protection (and thus managed copy protection)

    * Players out now cannot do managed copy because the standard is not done - it's hoped the ability can be added later in a firmware update.

    * Managed copies will likley require an internet connection so it can "ask" to make a copy, and possibly also involve payment for the right to copy.

    Some good technical details there on how the system might end up working.
  • Since they don't seem to be capable of making a decision and hammering out a standard do you think it's within the realm of the possible for a grassroots consumer movement to influence this? That is if enough consumers got together and voted their choice with the understanding that whoever won, we'd throw our weight behind the one that won? I figure as soon as there's a presumptive winner people could save their money and lower their risk and it would become a self fullfilling action?

    In the end one of them
  • "There's just isn't enough difference, other than bragging rights, for most people to shell out for an HD-DVD player."

    Take a quality $200 upconverting DVD player on a 1080p HDTV.

    Take any random show from DiscoveryHD Theater (filmied in 1080i/p) on the same TV.

    You are absolutely nuts to think there isn't enough difference. The quality of a full 1080p video on a full 1080p television is amazing. Wait until Best Buys start hooking up the Sony SXRD to the new HD-DVD players and watch how many crowd
  • Consumers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:22PM (#15207361)
    The two sides held talks last year in the hopes of avoiding a prolonged format battle similar to the one between Betamax and VHS videotapes in the 1980s, knowing that it could discourage consumers from shifting to the advanced discs and stifle the industry's growth.
    I sure wish we could get rid of the overuse of the word "consumer." Here's an example:

    In the broadcast TV/advertising business, the advertisers who pay $$ to place commercials on television are the customers, because they are the ones who are providing a source of income for the networks and they are the ones to whom the programming is catered; that is, a show makes it to television because it was successfully sold to enough advertisers who were convinced that it was a viable money-maker. The viewers at home who watch the shows and (as the marketers hope) the advertisements that go with them are the consumers. They provide eyeballs so that the networks can sell advertisements, but they themselves do not make payments towards the broadcast and thus are not customers but merely tools to be used as a selling point by the networks. As such, as long as they tune in, no one in control of the network gives a damn what they do or what they think of the product. This is why controversy sells and often, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    However, if I want to have a Blu-ray drive or a HD-DVD drive (or whatever new format may emerge), I am making a purchasing decision and am giving $$ to the company in exchange for a product. If I do not like the product, the company, their business practices, their marketing tactics, their use of DRM, or the pricing, I may choose not to make this purchase and as a result, the company does not receive my money. I am voting with my feet, I have some control over the transaction, and I do not simply accept whatever is handed to me which is what a consumer does. Customers must be satisfied; consumers must simply be enticed.

    I cannot help but think that when, overnight, everyone started calling those who vote with their feet "consumers" that this is nothing more than marketing Newspeak designed to de-emphasize the fact that our wants and desires matter.
  • ...Now we can have a technical debate settled in the best way possible... with marketing!

    After all, it worked with VHS vs. Beta. Marketing talked about the merits of both and "the market" picked the best standard.


"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"