Yesterday, I talked about the Savings and Loan Crisis of the early 80’s and observed that we are now in the midst of another crisis, having learned little in the 25+ years passed. Another “what have we (not) learned” thought:
In the early 80’s we had the first video recorders, it’s really amazing to think how recent their introduction was. I bought my first machine for $600 which with inflation, is equal to $1415 today. But with Moore’s Law, one can buy a combination DVD/VHS player for around $100 today, remarkable. But back then, VHS wasn’t the only format, Beta was a competing format, one that many people felt was actually superior in quality. So we had the Beta/VHS War and in the end, who lost? Indeed, the consumer. VHS won, and any user of Beta found their selection of movies to rent dwindled to nothing over time. This took years to play out, of course, but today the result is obvious. Ask anyone under 30 if they remember Beta and see their response.
Now, in line with my title, we have a repeat of history, the current HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray. I am not in a position to debate the relative merits of either. I just can’t help my ask myself and you, my reader (how did you find this blog, anyway?) have we not learned anything? I like technology, but I’m not an early adopter, I will likely wait to buy a High Definition player until after I know which format has won, because I don’t believe that two formats will both survive. If I’ve missed something, if there’s some stupid thing we did back in the 80’s that you see happening now, I’m happy to add a third ‘History’ article, but until then.