In what must be the world's most pointless standards battle
over next generation DVD technology, apparently all it takes to reignite the tiny fire of interest is $150 million. If you hadn't been paying attention (and, honestly, why would you?), two separate groups have been battling it out over which technology will represent the next generation of DVDs: Blu-ray or HD DVD. Like many standards battles these days, the players believe the pot is so lucrative that they refuse to come up with a single standard -- despite the fact that competing standards basically guarantee that both sides lose. Fewer people are willing to adopt one technology if there's still a half decent chance the other one might prevail. At the same time, fewer people are willing to adopt one technology if half the content they want to view is stuck on the other technology. It's a lose-lose situation. While the HD DVD crowd would deny this, over the last few months, it had finally seemed like Blu-ray was edging ahead (for example, with thieves
). However, HD DVD's backers have fought back from oblivion by giving Paramount and Dreamworks $150 million to only release movies on HD DVD
, effectively ensuring that this remains a standards battle that no one cares about. The good news is that the longer this battle goes on, the more likely most folks will simply jump to alternatives
that don't involve plastic discs.