Re: Blu-Ray wins on Black Friday week.
I had a long discussion about the whole format 'war' with a veteran member of the audio business and we both had some similar feelings.
What REALLY made DVD (or for that matter CD) best the older formats (OK please don't all start attacking me about analog, I know vinyl is alive and well, this is just for a point)???
Convenience. Flat out simple convenience. DVD's don't have to be rewound, are smaller, and allow immediate access to scenes. CD's allowed immediate song access. Both these formats made everyones lives easier. You can not tell me the first CD players sounded better than vinyl, they had increased dynamics, but they were harsh and abrasive, still we all bought one for the convenience.
We all got into them as they made our life simpler to deal with. Sure we got better sound from DVD's, and ultimately (like recently) CD players have outdone vinyl even in many die hard vinyl guys minds.
Quality wasn't a factor in their adoption. It was convenience.
Look at SACD and DVD-A, markedly better sound than CD's, but they never took off. The setup was a problem, required new gear, lots of cables, and software was scarce.
Sure they still are making SACD's, and DVD'A still does exist, but how many and for how long??
Why did they fail?
One reason as I see it that they never penetrated the market is most people saw no real improvement to them. Sure us audiophiles bought players and all the discs we could, but we are a small market. To the average guy putting a disc into his boom box or simple system, he saw no improvement, it was still a disc, it still allowed access to tracks. It did cost more and have MC audio, but even many of us still question the surround formats (personally I love a good surround mix, but have many poorly done ones that I'd rather just hear in 2 channel).
OK, fast forward to Blu-ray vs HD DVD. what do they have in convenience over DVD? Sure they have markedly better picture quality, but if anything they are a step backwards in convenience. Firmware issues, slow load times, HDCP issues.....
Were is the improvement??
I think in reality both of these formats are merely a bridge until the next leap in internet bandwidth comes and we can all download 1080p with uncompressed audio in real time. Once this happens studios will be able to copy protect themselves as they want, and you won't need actual discs......
Once the discs disappear, you've added convenience..........
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not the only one who thinks this....... I guess we'll have to wait and see!
Ken Taraszka, MD