There is a precedent
where a major technology push died and no format won: quadraphonic stereo. This
was introduced in the 70s I think. Basically, it was four-channel stereo, but
there were at least three different formats. You had to buy incompatible discs
for each, plus special amps, tuner and of course extra speakers–sound familiar? Well, it never took
off and died because, IMHO:
- Consumers didnt see a real
need for it. Stereo was good enough.
- Multiple formats made it
difficult to pick a winner to invest in.
- You had to buy all new
equipment to listen to it.
parallels todays hi-def movie wars. Its not just picking a format and buying
new media, its having to buy all new equipment. Sure, hi-def looks incredible,
but is it really that much better than watching a standard DVD? Probably not.
The adoption hurdles are huge and the true benefits are debatable. The US is going to
have a hard enough time migrating to HD. I dont think either hi-def movie
format will win.