Beta versus VHS all over again

What a sense of déjà vu. Over the last few days, I have been looking at buying a replacement for the DVD player in my home entertainment system. The one I have is quite old, and was never really all that good to begin with.

Being a geek and a gadget freak, I am of course looking at upgrading to a new high definition player. As many, if not all, of you know there are currently two competing, entirely incompatible format for high definition DVDs.

Now, I am not in much of a position to argue the detailed technical merits of the two formats, nor do I have any interest whatsoever in being in such a position.

What strikes me here is that, once again, we have an industry showing a complete lack of respect for its customers, encouraging a large number to invest in a technology which not survive. Then, anyone who has invested in the losing technology will not only have to invest in new hardware, but will potentially have to invest in replacement copies of any media which have been purchased in that format. What a windfall for the media owners – almost like they could have planned it that way, if one believed they were smart enough.

Really, I think this whole business of an industry which cannot get its act together to agree on a single high definition DVD format is absurd, and shows that this industry cannot learns from its mistakes.

Can I do anything about this stupidity? Probably not. The only option I have right now is the same one all of us have – i choose not to spend one thin dime on this crap until the industry gets it head out of its, well, you know.

Get with it people.


I have been working in the world of technology for 25-odd years. I am an entrepreneur and consultant, focused on software solutions, social networking, and innovation processes. Currently, I am a Principal Consultant with T4G Limited, specializing in Portal Technologies (including SharePoint), software/systems development, service oriented architectures, and many other things which I will probably not remember until I need to use them. Prior to that, I was VP of Technology at Whitehill Technologies, Inc., where I spent almost 9 years helping to grow the company from a start-up to one of the most successful private software companies in Canada. Prior to that I worked on internet conferencing using early VoIP, and on large military communications projects. Before even that, I worked in satellite control, and remote sensing. Going way back to university, my focus was on theoretical physics and astrophysics. Currently my interests revolve around most aspects of software development, from technologies to management, and in the area of defining sustainable, repeatable processes for innovation within technology organizations. I also have a particular interest in Tablet PC technologies – I have been using one for several years, and I love it. On the personal side, I still have a strong interest in all aspects of science, especially physical sciences, as well as philosophy and comparative religion. In addition, I am into music, playing guitar (badly, I am sorry to say), and reading almost anything I can lay my hands on. I am also a member of the IEEE/IEEE Computer Society, and of the Association for Computing Machinery.

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Posted in Rant
2 comments on “Beta versus VHS all over again
  1. hearthealth says:

    Re this runaway cash cow: well said! Which is how the mid-07 CNet report ends too. And if they remain stubborn, they’ll lose money–which is what’s going on at this moment.
    For the past year, I go for Oppo, particularly the region-free DV-970HD hovering near $150.
    But it was the Oppo DV-981HD that
    and agreed on.
    dvd players reviews

  2. Shane says:

    Agreed on all points.

    Let me help you out…Get yourself a sub-$200 Toshiba HD-DVD player. It play DVDs better than your old player and it will upscale regular DVDs to look nice on an HDTV set. As a bonus, it also plays HD-DVDs. 🙂

    And on a historical note, VHS was cheaper than Betamax. Today, HD-DVD is cheaper, a lot cheaper, than Blu-ray.

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