Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A corporate competition where everyone loses

I'll begin by saying that I'm a big supporter of the idea that competition between companies brings lower prices and greater innovation, giving the consumer better, cheaper products to choose from. However, this is not always the case.

The battle for a new high-definition video-disc format is killing everyone. The consumers lose because there are 2 incompatible formats that do pretty much the exact same thing for about the exact same price, except the title availability isn't the same. So if I flip a coin, and go with HD-DVD I lose out on all the Pixar films I love. If I decide to switch over to Blu-Ray, I'll miss out on Paramount and Dreamworks films. And even if I drop the huge amount of money on a quality player from each camp, I'm still stuck when it comes to heading over to my friends' house: what player do they have? I might as well buy the DVD version of everything and forget about all of this high-falutin' high-def stuff.

Now here's where the companies lose too. By not collaborating on one format, they lose customers who either choose the other format, or neither.

Personally, I'll be waiting, along with most of the world, for a winner. If that winner never comes, we'll either see both formats die and be replaced altogether, or we will see high-def combo players become standard (to note, this would be fine by me, just as long as they get cheap soon).

For the time being, no one's happy, and it's all because the big studios were too busy worrying about this piracy thing that they keep telling us is killing their profits, to see that a new unified format is the only way to rake in money like DVD did.

1 comment:

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