Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pinch me - - Please!

It was one of those dreams.

You know the one. The one where you're in a video rental store, trying to rent The Ten Commandments and the clerk asks, "What format would you like it in?"

"BetaMax," you reply, thinking this kid is way too young to be renting videos.

"We don't rent betas of anything. What format do you want?"

And it keeps going like that. Then you realize the kid probably hasn't been keeping up, so the next time you add, "... You know, the format Sony is backing for movies?"

"Oh, you mean Blu-Ray! Let me check... Oh, I'm sorry, but the studio hasn't released your title in that format, yet."

Then you wake in a cold sweat.

You've had that dream, haven't you?

It started for me when I heard there were two standards for high-definition DVDs under development. The first, supporting between 25 and 50 gigs of content, is called Blu-Ray, and is supported by the likes of Philips, Panasonic, Pioneer, Apple, Dell, various studios and... Sony.

The second, called HD-DVD, supports only 15 to 30 gigs of content, but it's supported by Toshiba, NEC, Intel, and... Microsoft.

So, we have two standards. The superior standard is backed by Sony. The inferior standard is backed by just about everyone else (where just about everyone else = Microsoft). Now, who's likely to win out?

Hint: in the First Video War, Sony backed the superior BetaMax against the inferior VHS. And that was before Microsoft ever entered the picture.

Sometimes this punditing job is just too easy.

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