Bryan Caplan  

We Have a Winner

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HD-DVD is dead; Blu-Ray lives. How long will it take before someone starts arguing that the wrong format won due to path-dependence problems?

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COMMENTS (7 to date)
mgarcia writes:

Both were good. Blu-ray emphasized capacity (both on a single layer, and the possibility of adding more layers) over ease of manufacturing read-only media; HD-DVD did the opposite. HD-DVD was further ahead with writable media and drives, but what people demand in a format for this purpose is ubiquity.

Basically, Sony learned a lesson from their failure with Betamax. What the hell is the point of technical superiority if the content providers don't play along? Sony was careful this time to proceed with a stable of content providers right from the start.

kebko writes:

I don't understand the point of all this. Why aren't we all just using flash cards, USB port drives, portable hard drives, etc.? It seems to me that we'll be downloading our movies off the internet before Blue-Ray has much of a chance at having a product cycle.
It just seems odd to me that they are battling for this market, when consumers should already be asking, "Why are we still carrying data around on little disks that are ruined with the slightest scratch?"

mgroves writes:

I don't really see any path-dependence. Blu-Ray wins the HD disc war, but maybe it's really a small part of the overall content delivery picture. That is to say: the "war" isn't over yet.

Dan Weber writes:

I haven't read up on the technical specs of Blu-Ray, but CD's have boatloads of error correcting codes in them. 1 scratch, even several, won't take out the data.

ErikR writes:

Despite the recent hype about movie downloads, they are a long way from replacing DVD or Bluray disks.

Most people reading this probably have a broadband internet connection, but the majority of Americans households do not have an internet connection sufficient to download movies.

Even so, current hi-def downloads are clearly inferior to Bluray disk quality. And you only get to use the download for 24 hours. And even with a fast connection, it takes a while to download 25 GB of Bluray disk (which is one reason why they compress them so much and reduce the quality below Bluray).

Mike writes:

Now heres a question for everyone- does the quality really matter? To me, I cant see the difference between the 2 and they even cost the same. but now what happens to everyone that went out and bought a HD dvd player? are they SOL?! Seriously, now that HD dvd is fading out, that will force the market to shift to sonys technology now. so if i had any money, i would for sure invest in sonys stock. they now get to sell the patent and coding to everyone else. Plus with the ps3 coming with a Blu-Ray player built-in, they are going to be rolling in cash.

on the flip side is that they are, in my opinion, focusing all there efforts on preventing bootlegs from blu-rays that the normal dvds might possible get easier to crack and rip or they might just stop selling them in general. That would force everyone to purchase a blu-ray player. Similar to what congress thought up with the analog tv signals. Now you either have to up grade from the old tube tvs or try to find a signal converter so that you can take a digital signal and convert it to analog.

But to me, a movie is a movie. I am not a big quality freak like my buddy is. he has dished out about 5k on HDMI cables, 1080i 50" tv, 2 ps3's and a media center pc that has a blu ray/hd dvd player. That is why i would also have to agree with the 2nd post. what is wrong with what we have now? why buy a dvd when all pcs are connected to a tv? we can just download everything when we want and watch it when we want.

8 writes:

In the past five years, download files have gone from about 600Mb to 1Gb. Sometimes there's a whole 4Gb DVD. But with ISPs cracking down on bandwidth hogs, I don't expect Blue-Ray quality to be streamed across the internet anytime soon.

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