the hd dvd vs. blu-ray throwdown

February 14th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Today’s Managing Digital Business Markets class discussed platforms, and what happens when one party is able to dominate the market. This results in others designing products specifically for that platform, such as IBM’s mainframe and virtual monopoly before the 1980s. Of course, these periods of dominance sort of come and go. In the lecture, Dr. Bailey mentioned an interesting comparison to lemmings. Lemmings are small Arctic rodents (or small, green and blue men from a popular video game) that have been known to jump off cliffs and perhaps swim to exhaustion in migration attempts. Thanks to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemming), it’s a myth that lemmings will jump off cliffs endingly. They apparently do so only when migrating and for some reason, the desire to press forward can result disastrously. Anyway, to play the classic Lemmings game, visit this lovely DHTML version: http://www.elizium.nu/scripts/lemmings/

I digress. I read a press release yesterday that HD DVD seems to be experiencing distribution difficulties. Blu-ray DVDs are obviously widely distributed, although they have not yet hit “mainstream.” (My definition of mainstream is usually when my family gets around to buying new technology after it’s been on the market for a good while). Netflix has decided not to carry HD DVD, and Best Buy will carry them, but continue to push Blu-ray sales. So I asked Dr. Bailey’s opinions on what might happen with this market, considering there are three players looking for platform dominance.

 The class consensus seems to be that Blu-ray will be the winner. And this is a pretty hot issue. I came across a blog on engadget.com that producer/director Michael Bay has “singlehandedly [won] the HD format war.” (Probably because he says, “Blu-ray’s better, and I told everyone”). Now, since Blu-ray hasn’t hit my mainstream yet, I’ve yet to view it, and I’ve yet to view an HD DVD.

Up until this summer, my family didn’t even have a branded DVD player, just one of those odd generic ones that looked as if we had won it in a raffle of some sort. Of course, we never enter raffles. And when we do, we never win anything. I once won an autographed book in a raffle at Girl Scout camp over the summer. I don’t believe the author is all that famous. And I also won a generic portable CD player/radio set. It’s definitely too small to be classified as a boombox. But there you go, my life raffle-winning achievements in less than a paragraph.

We’ll see who wins. Just give it a couple years. Will HD DVD become the Betamax of the future? Or will Blu-ray?

 P.S. The book I won is called “The Ghosts of Stony Clove” by Eileen Charbonneau. For $3.99, you can have your own brand-new paperback copy. Or $0.02 will suffice for a used one.  You won’t have a dog-eared, spine-busted, stained, and personally autographed copy like mine though. Apparently it’s part of a saga. I may have to invest in the sequel.

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