Star Wars Episode VII: The Format Wars

If you’re interested in the impending “format war” for the next generation of DVD players and software (movies, music, etc.), Slate has an excellent and easy-to-understand primer.

A prediction: High-definition DVDs will flop in the marketplace.

There are four simple reasons:

  1. People are happy with the current DVD format, which is durable, portable, and heads-and-shoulders above videotape in every way.
  2. There will be no giant leap forward in quality from standard DVD to high-definition DVD, which is the same reason 5.1-channel audio DVDs haven’t caught on; folks are content with their CDs, and the incremental quality isn’t worth it to them.
  3. At this point, few people can take advantage of high-definition video.
  4. Format wars only create losers. (See VHS versus Beta, and SACD versus DVD-Audio.)

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