23
Sat, Sep
3 New Articles

The Coming DVD Wars

Commentary
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Oh, goodie. There's a new generation of DVDs coming on to the market. Why do we need a new generation? It couldn't possibly be that the makers of DVD equipment just want to sell us expensive new stuff, could it? Oh, no, no, no. They tell us that it's because today's DVDs can hold a full, standard-resolution, feature-length movie, but they can't accommodate a high-definition version. This is exceptionally important to me because, heaven knows, if Julia Roberts has a nearly microscopic pimple on the end of her nose, I definitely want to know about it.

In addition, the people who produce DVDs tell us that they would like to be able to fit a few seasons' worth of a classic television show onto a single DVD, which they can't do now. Good for them. I would hate to have to change discs in the midst of a marathon screening of The Gong Show reruns.

You might think that I'm building up to a good rant about the fact that my DVD player is going to become obsolete. You would be wrong. I'm not thrilled about it, but I don't have a huge investment in DVDs, and the video stores will probably carry the old format for quite a while yet, just as they still carry a few copies of VHS versions of some movies that just about nobody wants to see.

My tirade is not about the coming of a new, disruptive technology. After all, you can't fight progress. Well, you can, but you will lose and get depressed, and I already get depressed enough, thank you very much. My complaint is that we aren't going to get just one new DVD generation. That would be far too easy and make far too much sense. Instead, there are going to be two new, incompatible formats battling it out in the marketplace. Haven't we heard this story before? Do you remember Betamax? (If you don't remember Betamax, ask an older sibling about it.)

Lined up on one side of the battlefield are Toshiba, NEC, and Sanyo with their HD-DVD standard. Opposing them is a consortium that includes Sony, Matsushita, Hitachi, and Philips. The consortium's standard is called Blu-ray. Both technologies use blue lasers that can read considerably more data off of the same size disc than the red lasers used in the first generation of DVD players.

As far as I can tell, nobody is particularly happy about two different standards coming to the market. The manufacturers are reasonably sure that one of the two formats will die, but only after consuming an enormous quantity of R&D, equipment, marketing, and distribution dollars. Of course, they are all absolutely certain that it will be the other guys who will lose. Half of them will be wrong.

The people who produce content are going to have to choose one format over the other or go to the expense of producing their material in both formats simultaneously. These companies will have to either knowingly exclude themselves from one large part of the market or allow significantly higher costs to eat into their profits. What a great choice that is--death by starvation or death by blood loss.

We consumers aren't in any better position. Just as happened with VHS versus Betamax, one standard will probably eventually win and the other will disappear. Some former Betamax owners are still grumbling about that. Like them, if you choose the wrong new DVD player, it will likely be almost totally useless soon after you buy it.

Some people speculate that companies will come out with dual-format players so that we won't have to choose. The only problem is that HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are so radically different that dual-format players are expected to be very expensive since the two formats won't be able to share many components. Great. We're going to be asked to empty our bank accounts either to buy dual-format players or to buy the successful format after we throw out the failed one, just because the vendors can't get their act together today. That's just wonderful.

I've always avoided this problem in the past and expect to do so again this time. I am proud to say that I don't have nor have I ever had an old Betamax video player or an 8-track audio player sitting in my discarded-technology closet. (If you don't know what an 8-track is, ask your parents.) I'm no better at picking winners than anyone else. There is a much simpler reason why I never lose the technology standards wars.

In marketing school, they taught me that when you launch a new product category, you should work particularly hard to find, understand, and communicate with two market segments that marketers call "pioneers" and "early adopters." The pioneers are those geeks who are more than merely willing to try your new product. In fact, they are intensely eager to do so. If you didn't want them to try it, you would have to beat them off with a stick or possibly a weapon of mass destruction. The early adopters aren't quite as enthusiastic, but once the pioneers have tried it and given it their seal of approval, the early adopters will quickly jump in.

Of course, the pioneers and early adopters are not the same people for all product categories. Nonetheless, when it comes to almost all products, my fellow marketers usually don't classify me as being in either the pioneer or the early adopter segment. Instead, they label me as what we in the marketing profession call the "absolutely, positively, without any doubt whatsoever, last adopters on the planet and likely in the universe" segment. Surveys show that there are only six people in North America who do not yet own a microwave oven, so, with just five other people left, I might get around to buying one soon. Fortunately, my technology procrastination should stand me in good stead when it comes to DVDs. By the time I get around to buying one of the new-generation DVD players, there will be only one format left standing.

Enough about me. Here's some advice for all of the pioneers and early adopters: Pick your side quickly. There are only 11 shopping months left until Christmas. And there are only 23 shopping months left until you replace your new DVD player with the winning format the following Christmas.

Joel Klebanoff is a consultant, a writer, and president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc., a Toronto, Canada-based marketing communications firm. Joel has 25 years experience working in IT, first as a programmer/analyst and then as a marketer. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science and an MBA, both from the University of Toronto. Contact Joel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He reports that the microwave thing was a joke. He probably won't be buying one any time soon. The Board of Health closed his kitchen, so he really has no reason to buy any kitchen appliances.

Joel Klebanoff

Joel Klebanoff is a consultant, writer, and formerly president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc., a Toronto-based marketing communications firm. He has 30 years' experience in various IT capacities and now specializes in writing articles, white papers, and case studies for IT vendors and publications across North America. Joel is also the author of BYTE-ing Satire, a compilation of a year's worth of his columns. He holds a BS in computer science and an MBA, both from the University of Toronto.


MC Press books written by Joel Klebanoff available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

BYTE-ing Satire BYTE-ing Satire
Find out the hilarious answer to the eternal question: "Is technology more hindrance than help?"
List Price $14.95

Now On Sale

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: