A little rationality is in order

A little rationality is in order

I’ve been thinking about the whole format “war” thing and I’ve come to a conclusion: It seems like the only rational discussions concerning the formats is taking place in the Warner Bros. boardrooms.

By the way the HD DVD fans have been talking on the message boards across the internet about this pre-Black Friday sale at Wal-Mart, you would think Sony had thrown in the towel … along with the other 170 other companies that support Blu-ray. Yeah, a one-day sale of a discontinued player single-handedly ends a format war with staunch lines drawn on both sides. Pretty ridiculous.

And there are reports of Blu-ray fans picketing outside Wal-Mart claiming supporting HD DVD is supporting terrorism. That’s right, buying an optical media format kills children all across the world!

Format War 2007Can we get some rational discussion about this? I wish I had a TARDIS so I could go back to 1994 and hog-tie Al Gore to prevent the “interweb” tubes from getting clogged by base blabber from fanboys.

Face it, Time Warner is having trouble getting advertisers for high-def networks because there aren’t enough subscribers. People with HDTVs don’t care about high-def. This is the problem, isn’t it? The “digital revolution” has brought us a culture that doesn’t care about quality. MP3 has taken a format that is already someone flawed (CD) and made it markedly worse, yet the iPod has made it acceptable. Surround sound systems are frequently set up so the front and rear speakers are sitting next to each other. Standard-def TV is displayed on HDTVs and that’s worse than DVDs. Two-thirds of HDTV owners think DVD is high-def.

My point? The HD DVD side is looking for commodity priced players. The problem is when a customer goes to the store they don’t want to think about formats, they want to think about which movie to buy. HD DVD isn’t a commodity product. Blu-ray thinks they can force the format on the market, but over 60% of PS3 users could care less about Blu-ray.

Both formats are niche products!

So can we have rational discussion about the merits of both formats? Can we talk about the market in a way that analyzes the moves of the companies and the impact it might have on the way we enjoy our movies? Can we talk about anything without hyperbole and pedantic arguments?

I would rather argue about poverty, politics, religion, art, literature … you know, stuff that actually matters.

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

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6 Comments on “A little rationality is in order”

  1. Literature has lasting effects in culture and shapes the way life is lived. Blu-ray is a medium for art. The medium is not as important as the message.

  2. i was just kidding, but seriously…isnt literature a medium for art as well?

    literature shapes the people who read, blu-ray shapes the people who deserve better.

  3. I agree that the format war arguments occurring online and the fanboy-esque fanaticism are pretty useless and not very productive. At the very least, I find them humorous at times…

  4. No, Blu-ray would be like a book. Literature is what’s written on the pages. A movie (art) is what’s on a Blu-ray Disc.

  5. This is a great article, funny and informative. I love the part about protesting HD DVD because it supports terrorism. The media war has gone to a whole new level. What format does Al-Queda use? The comment on rear speakers with surround sound reminds me of someone I know from my home town. But I agree, the sentiment is that people just want other people to say, nice stereo/tv, they don’t want to actually watch tv, when they could instead read blogs about their tv….wait a minute!

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