Overhype

by Mike Masnick




SACD/DVD-Audio Fight Continues - Consumers Don't Care

from the why-bother dept

As the fight continues over who wins the next music disc format war, SACD or DVD-Audio, I begin to wonder why anyone cares at all? I'm reminded of the old urban myth that VHSs beat Betamax even though it was technically inferior. The truth is that VHS machines offered customers what they wanted. The quality was "good enough", and what they wanted was tapes that could record a full movie (Betamaxes could only record about an hour). Now, the music industry is betting that people want these new "enhanced" CDs, talking about the higher quality. While I have no doubt that many music fans will go for them, I imagine that many people will stay away for the simple reason that these enhanced audio CDs don't let people make use of their fair use rights. If you have one of these CDs, no matter how great the sound quality, don't expect to rip it into an MP3 (even if that's completely legal). So, the debate comes down to: is it worth the extra money (and they do cost more) to have an incompatible system that gives you less features, but better sound? In the VHS/Beta fight, people chose features over quality. Now we'll see if the same thing happens with enhanced CDs.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2003 @ 1:07pm

    VCR = VHS???

    You use the term VCR when you probably mean the term VHS. There were both VHS VCR's and Betamax VCR's. VHS won out over Betamax because, like you said, it was what the customer wanted, not the best that was available (similar to cassette tapes over DAT tapes).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, 27 Jan 2003 @ 3:18pm

    Like, Duh!

    (not "Duh" for you, mike, but for these SACD losers).
    I remember the CD switch: People chose CD because 1> it was smaller and 2> it was easier (didn't get scratchy right away). The "pure sound" -- that was OK, but not a reason really to switch (c'mon: otherwise why would you put up with a CD in a boom box?).
    Nobody will find SACD "super" because it doesn't add anything of value to 99.9999% of listeners.
    This SACD pitch, apart from control aspects, is just another case of technofacism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael M, 27 Jan 2003 @ 3:37pm

      Re: Like, Duh!

      You forgot 3> because it was shiny.

      But you're right. Only a few audiophiles care about the sound quality. And half of them still think that LPs sounded better than CDs.

      My worry is that consumers will be dragged unwillingly into this format (If you want the new CD by your favorite band, it's only available in SACD)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        DV Henkel-Wallace, 27 Jan 2003 @ 9:15pm

        Re: Like, Duh!

        You forgot 3> because it was shiny.
        Actually, I don't think this applies at all to the mass market, much as marketeers want to think it does. After all, we all already had huge investments in vinyl and the equipment to play it. "Shiny" isn't enough reason to change -- else digital cassette would have made it.
        Remember: the PC industry is suffering because consumers are resisting the "shiny" pitch.
        My worry is that consumers will be dragged unwillingly into this format (If you want the new CD by your favorite band, it's only available in SACD)
        I suspect people just won't buy 'em when they find out that they won't work in the car/portable/whatever player.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Geoff, 5 Feb 2003 @ 1:26pm

    some SACDs can be copied (sortof)

    some SACDS are now hybrid discs, with layer 1 being DVD sized storage of SACD, and layer 2 being standard audio cd, the lesser quality layer 1 can be ripped like any standard cd, and in my experience ~5 discs, it follows redbook cd standards.

    It would seem they have caught on to the fact that they cannot stop the copying, but they make you pay to get the higher quality. Imho, this should have happened ages ago.

    Geoff

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JeffDM, 27 Jun 2003 @ 8:17am

    Selling points

    One thing missed is that SACD and DVD-Audio both have multi-channel options. Even for the many people that can't tell the resolution difference, they can still tell the number of channels. The stereo-only SACDs likely aren't going to sell very well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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