I came across this article in my Google Reader: DVD format battle attracts a new rival: HD VMD
I have to point out some things regarding the whole battle war feud competition between DVD DVD and Blu Ray …and now possibly HD VMD – this is going to confuse the shit of out consumers.
When manufacturers constantly update their hardware formats, they’re unintentionally causing buying anxiety in consumers. We’re at a point now where a lot of people have finally gotten around to buying a DVD player, and some have even gone as far as to start their own collection – whether this collection be purchased or ripped from Netflix DVD’s.
In 2007 two new formats emerged with more resolution muscle and capacity and we were told to scrap the DVD format, go with one of these new formats – although we weren’t sure yet what the adoption/endorsement from major studios was going to be yet on either format (now that we’re into March of 2008 it seems Blu Ray is the ‘winner’).
Then this morning I read about this new HD VMD format.
Enough is enough.
What happens in situations like these are what Barry Schwartz calls the Paradox of Choice. Basically, if people are presented too many options, or in this case, asked to change video formats too quickly, instead of picking one – they don’t pick any.
Contrast the problems of hardware upgrades to software upgrades. Let’s use my favorite new device – my iPhone.
The iPhone updates (and OS X updates in general) happen without the need to replace anything due to their nature (it’s called SOFTware for a reason, actually, it’s technically called firmware).
The whole process is practically seemless – just download the software update, install, and reset/reboot. No additional hardware, memory, plug-ins or connectors.
We can see the benefits of such software-based systems with a simple and very likely scenario.
Say Apple suddenly decides it needs to update your iPhone with a new version of Quicktime with dozens of new features and functionality and will sport a Super Extra Ultra High Definition resolution. If the iPhone relied on hardware upgrading to make this happen there would be 3 possible outcomes:
1. You upgrade your iPhone hardware and everything goes smoothly
2. Apple makes you buy a new iPhone to enjoy the new features
3. You upgrade your iPhone hardware and everything goes horribly wrong
4. You do nothing, and keep your iPhone as is
Of course, we don’t have to worry about any of these possibilities since all we need to do is connect our iPhone to iTunes, sync it and restart it.
Google understands the power of this with Google Docs and all their other online tools. Google can change their software at will without affecting anyone’s computer. I won’t even get into the benefits of not having to launch software locally from your hard drive.
Technology systems reliant on a fixed format lack agility.
Umair over at Bubblegeneration has some more great thoughts on Why HD-DVD And Blu-Ray Are (Strategically) Obsolete.