And You Thought The Next Generation Video Standards Battle Was Over?
from the we've-got-a-new-one-coming-on dept
If you thought the questions about what technology standard we’d be using to watch movies was settled when Blu-ray won the next generation DVD standards battle, then you’re in for a bit of a surprise. In taking nearly half a decade to decide which standard would make it, the DVD camps left open plenty of opportunity for online competitors to start making their moves. The technology for delivering movies online has been rapidly improving. But, of course, what we didn’t count on was that it would just create a huge new mess.
Earlier this week, there was all sorts of talk about Netflix streaming movies to the Xbox as part of Netflix’s effort to get consumer electronics companies to build in support for Netflix streaming. As we warned when that announcement was made, it’s a bad idea for Netflix to focus on a proprietary streaming solution, as it’s only going to set up another standards battle. And, indeed, Blockbuster is working on its own such solution. Then, of course, everyone knows that Apple’s in the market with the AppleTV. And don’t forget Sony, which is selling a special (extra expensive) TV for downloading movies. And, of course, there are countless startups in the market as well.
Oh, and how could we forget Amazon? The company is now announcing its own proprietary online store for streaming movies and TV. This one piggybacks a bit on Sony’s awful plan (meaning if you buy that super expensive internet-connected TV, you’ll also be able to stream movies from Amazon).
But the end result is a total mess for the entire market, and that doesn’t help anyone. All of the players should take a look at how badly the multi-year DVD standards battle hurt the industry. It makes people unwilling to buy certain hardware, as they don’t want to be stuck with the “loser” a year from now. What’s wrong with coming up with a single standard for streaming movies from any particular service to various TV-connected devices and computers? Then let the different providers compete on actual services provided? That would increase adoption, and let these companies do what they do best, rather than fighting a can’t-win battle against too many other competitors.