Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2-19-08: Blu-ray Wins, but whatever happened to SACD vs. HDCD?

Finally! A winner in the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD battle has emerged. To be honest, I didn't pay much attention. Like most consumers, I've been biding my time until one of the two came out on top, then I'd go out eventually and buy that player. It's not like I'll be going out tonight and picking one up, though. I'm going to wait probably a year or two so that price goes down. Since the two competing formats were essentially the same, just incompatible, all the HD DVD people will simply buy Blu-ray. So, demand will now be focused solely on Blu-Ray. Then, more companies will make the player, then prices will go down as supply goes up. Simple economics.

The funny part, and this is something I discussed with a co-worker today, is how little attention has been paid to the Super Audio CD vs. HD CD format war in recent years. Remember that whole debate? One of the two was supposed to eventually emerge and people would flock to it. My co-worker had a great point: with the rise in internet-based music purchases (primarily mp3's), people have chosen convenience over quality. MP3's sound terrible compared to SACD's or HDCD's. But, since audiophiles like some people I know (I wouldn't classify myself as one, though I do like a good tune) are the vast majority of music consumers, the market is simply not there, and a winner is unlikely to be chosen any time soon. I wonder if they even still make either format. What might happen is one company simply stops making them to focus more on other products, just handing over the crown to the other. I hope not, but the trend isn't supporting either right now.

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