Google gets vocal

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And why? Because if the VHS vs. Betemax battle of the ’80s and the audio tape vs. eight-track battle of the ’70s is anything to go by, only one of the formats will survive. One will become the standard while the other fades away, possibly even within a few short years. A lot of people are going to be stuck with the wrong technology, and a bunch of movies and games they won’t be able to unload at garage sales.

Both sides of the issue have been in discussions for more than six months trying to avert this catastrophe, but last week those talks officially broke down without a compromise – with new systems on the way, they just ran out of time.

And now the sides are busy signing every movie studio and distributor they can find to agree to promote one format or another, but nobody knows what this will mean – will you need one type of player to watch high definition Disney movies, and another type of player to watch movies from Time Warner? Or will the studios release movies for both formats, maybe with lower prices or earlier releases for the formats they are backing?

Both sides of the battle acknowledge that having two different formats is going to cause confusion in the marketplace and will likely result in low sales at first – nobody wants to be the first on their block to buy a soon-to-be defunct system, especially when it hasn’t been all that long since they made the switch from VHS to DVD.

It’s going to hurt their business, alienate customers and cause disruptions in the entertainment industry and they still can’t resolve their differences?

Sony’s Blu-ray disc holds more information than Toshiba’s HD-DVD, but the HD-DVD disks and players are cheaper to manufacture. Players for both formats would also be backwards compatible with DVDs, CD-ROMS, CDs and other players.

You’d think Sony would have learned after Betamax tanked that price does matter to consumers, even when their product is of a slightly higher quality. Toshiba should probably also acknowledge that adopting the Blu-ray standard, while expensive at first, will result in cheaper players and disks down the road as the technology is mass-produced. Both of their arguments are weak when compared to the arguments for releasing just one format.

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