Originally Posted by solo88
The latest trend from the HD DVD camp seems to be the "good enough" approach. Even when advantages start to emerge for BD it's just brushed off as trivial. "Well, ours is still good and our players were cheaper and we got our spec ironed out first (even if we're still glitchy), so good enough!"
HD DVD: The look and sound of good enough!
When will the day come that the hate moves away from Sony and to the monster that is AOL/Time Warner I wonder? It already shifted from Microsoft.
Well, first a disclaimer, I own a TON of Sony C/E equipment and I have not chosen sides in next gen HD disc format 'war' . . . yet.
What I will say is that consumer product manufacturing and marketing is almost always
an exercise in "good enough". I mean, even if we limit the discussion to consumer electronics, how many failed formats (or ones dying a slow death) are there / have there been that were technically superior. MP3 (versus CD or SACD or DVD-A) comes to mind . . . is MP3 a superior format fidelity-wise? Obviously not. But consumers seem to be voting with other priorities, namely portability and instant gratification. How about LCDs? Better than Plasmas? Or lets make a more appropriate comparison (lest I upset LCD owners) . . . LCDs versus CRTs. Do LCDs produce a better, more accurate picture? Nope. But consumers are voting other attributes, namely size and form factor. Even if we talk LCD vs. Plasma, it's pretty obvious the Plasmas reproduce color better, have deeper blacks, no ghosting, etc. -- but if you walk into any discount big box retailer, LCDs are dominating . . . especially in the "entry level" or general consumer segment of the market (in no small part due to Wal-Mart's aggressive pricing strategies). Stepping outside of C/E equipment for a moment, almost every aspect of mass markets are determined by "good enough" . . . you can look at virtually every product that is consumed by the masses and see a smaller or niche product that is just like the mass market product, except it is a little better.
So, to decry HD DVD as "good enough" seems a bit . . . hollow to me.
What is happening in each of the aforementioned cases is that consumers are voting on multiple dimensions for the products that will "win" their money. Basically, there are "order qualifiers" (i.e., features / attributes that a product needs to have in order to even be "in the game"; as in: "If it doesn't cost less than $xxx, I'm not buyin'.") and then there are "order winners" (i.e., features / attributes that a product needs to have that are superior and valuable in the eyes of the consumer to "get the win"; as in: "I'm not buyin' it if it doesn't look better than DVD."). In the case of MP3, portability appears to be trumping fidelity. In TVs, size and form factor appear to be trumping image fidelity. Hell, look at fast food -- I'd argue that "fast" is trumping "food" . . .
When I hear people talk about the advantages of Blu-Ray, I hear what sounds like an engineering solution. When I hear people talk about HD DVD, I hear what sounds like a consumer oriented solution (what I'd call the 80 / 20 rule type solution). What I mean by that is, Blu-Ray has "technical superiority" in terms of interesting, new, unique technology that provides superior specifications (an engineer's dream) and possibly some marginal fidelity, although in practice, I bet that most of that marginal fidelity is washed away by ambient noise, light, or simple operator ignorance. HD DVD seems to be more along the lines of what can people afford and realy see / hear. I worked in manufacturing for almost a decade, and if I had a nickel for every time an engineer at my company wanted to go to market with a product that was technically more impressive and had better specs when compared to a competing product or design that was of lesser specification (but only barely noticably so) but of significantly lower cost (the law of diminishing marginal returns applies in a lot, if not all fields), I'd be a very rich man. The engineer in question would usually want to spend hours explaining to me why I was "wrong" and why the product he designed was better and we should build it . . . to which, my response was usually something along the lines of "Lets put the choice in front of the customer . . . and see what he is willing to pay for." Obviously, we didn't build both, but surveys and really detailed Q&A with buyers and finance types were usually pretty definative. The customer wanted the lowest cost item to meet their spec. If the product over-acheived and provided some marginal extra performance, that was great, but they weren't going to pay for it.
The thought that keeps crossing my mind is that if Sony and the BRF/BRA really believe that Blu-Ray's capabilities are that much better than HD DVD, then why are they spending all their time and money locking up exclusive studios, paying for Best Buy end caps, declaring the war over every three months, putting a Blu-Ray player in their financially draining PS3, and in general bombarding the marketplace with marketing dollars and promotions for Blu-Ray (relative to HD DVD)? If Blu-Ray were genuinely superior, wouldn't it kinda' speak for itself in that regard?