Saturday, February 16, 2008
Very few companies get the implementation of new technology completely right the first time around, and LG seems to be no exception with its new Super Multi Blue Player which is designed to play high definition DVD's in both HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats. That's according to a journalist with USA Today.
The Super Multi Blue Player has earned wide spread recognition and praise for this possibility that it could broker a peace between Toshiba, which created the HD-DVD format, and Sony, which created that Blu-ray format. Although both formats are based on similar technology that's able to encode much more data onto a disc than is possible with a standard DVD, the player of one format can't play discs of another format. The result has been a format war that has scared many would be consumers away from buying players of either format because of fear of being left with the losing technology. Because of this fear of buying into a losing technology, the Super Multi Blue Player is a safe bet: no matter which format wins out in the end, the device will be able to play discs in the winning format.
The main problem with the Super Multi Blue Player according to the article is that it costs too much. It's true that with a retail price of almost $1200, many consumers will be scared off from buying it. One of the supporting arguments for why this device costs too much is that it's too far above the price of standard DVD players. The article elaborates by pointing out that the original DVD technology was a much bigger step above VHS video cassette technology than High Def DVD technology is above standard DVD technology. In the end analysis, the article argues, the Super Multi Blue Player simply isn't worth so much more money than a standard DVD player.
While a $1200 price tag may be too steep for many consumers, the journalist seems to be missing the real question. The real question concerning the Super Multi Blue Player's price is whether or not the difference between it and a Blu-ray player or an HD-DVD player is worth the extra peace of mind of the consumer knowing that he or she won't have an obsolete machine when Sony and Toshiba have finally hashed everything out.
One fact that supports the idea that the Super Multi Blue Player may be cost effective is that it still costs less than the option of buying both a Blu-ray and an HD-DVD player separately. But only barely, and the advantage could evaporate with the possible introduction of lower priced Blu-ray players later this year. Then the question will concern whether or not the cost of devices like the Super Multi Blue Player can come down faster than HD-DVD players and Blu-ray players.
Another issue with the Super Multi Blue Player is that it doesn't come with an HDMI cable which is necessary for connection to an HDTV. Plus the device has the annoying traits of not playing normal CD's or taking full advantage of a lot of the bonus features of HD-DVD's.
While the journalist can be criticized for comparing the Super Multi Blue Player to standard DVD players, he's hit the nail on the head with some of the shortcomings of the actual device.