Wednesday, December 26, 2007
According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association and CNET, a lot of consumers have major doubts about high definition DVD technology. For example, eighty one percent of owners of high definition television sets aren't sure whether Toshiba's HD-DVD format or Sony's Blu-ray format will come out on top in the high definition DVD format war.
This uncertainty doesn't bode well for either format at this point. The format war will be won by one or the other based on many different factors including price, perceived quality of one format versus the other, and which one has more attractive software and movie titles. The most important factor for consumers though will be whether or not the format that they choose will still be around in two years. That's because many people still remember the VHS/Betamax video cassette format war of the nineteen eighties where the owners of the Betamax players were left with machines that nothing will play on. The fear of being stuck in a similar situation is keeping many consumers who would otherwise be interested in owning a high definition digital video disc player from buying one type of player or the other.
The one thing that is sure to decide the outcome of this war is for one format to gain a substantial following. If either Blu-ray or HD-DVD develops a substantial lead over the other when it comes to the number of people who have bought a player for that particular format, software vendors, computer manufacturers, and film studios would likely invest more in that format and that format would then attract more of a following among consumers, which in turn would reinforce the whole process. But with over eighty percent of high def television owners unsure about which player to buy, the stalemate is unlikely to end anytime soon in this way.
The survey also found that over seventy percent of high definition television set owners feel that the high definition digital video disc players might be too expensive for them and over sixty percent felt that way about the high definition digital video discs, which cost over ten dollars more than the same title on a normal DVD.
A lack of general knowledge about high definition equipment was also uncovered by the survey. For example over fifty percent of those surveyed said they weren't sure if the new high definition DVD players would be compatible with their high definition television sets and other electronics. About the same number (over fifty percent) said they weren't sure if they could play normal DVD's on a high definition DVD player, and almost as many expressed anxiety about the possibility of copyright protections on the new high def DVD players.
All of this demonstrates a lack of general knowledge about the high definition format, which has been plaguing efforts to make the format mainstream from the beginning. The fact is that there are a lot more television technology options than there were just a few years ago, and a high def DVD format war doesn't make it all any easier to sort out.