Much Ado About Nothing: The Meaningless HD DVD "Debate"

You may use this content, but please cite (c) 2007, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. An example of a draft APA reference appears at the bottom of this entry.

Much Ado About Nothing

What happened when you bought your first DVD player (other than high blood pressure when you saw the price plummet in the ensuing months)? If you're like most of us, you quit buying VHS recordings and started to buy DVDs. What you rented depended on what was available at the store. We've sung this song before. Remember vinyl? We men hid them from our wives who wanted to ditch them along with all of our other goodies (like that pair of jeans that was hanging together by a thread).

Most people are aware that there are 2 incompatible high definition DVDs with the usual suspects on either side of the "battle." What a shock to see Apple supporting Blu-Ray and Microsoft (via X-Box) supporting HD-DVD. Sony and Toshiba are on opposite sides. Surprisingly, there are players already out there that can play both, which sounds like a potential slam dunk (sorry, I'm a Cleveland sports fan and LeBron is going to make someone pay in next years' NBA finals). But I will tell you what I've told my students for 20 years: if you understand that all media from still photos to 3-D can be (and in some cases have to be) digitized, they are free to float around the ether (oh, all right, the Internet) ready to be gobbled up by an "Amusing Ourselves to Death" consumer driven economy.

There are 2 reasons this "debate" is more of a debacle. First, we are already reaching the point of having what I call [(c)2007 Dr. Bruce C. Klopfenstein] infinite bandwidth at no cost to the consumer. Oh, there is no secret: as always, the advertisers will gladly fit the bill, especially when they will be able to target like they have never targeted before. You don't literally have to have unlimited bandwidth at no cost, but unless DVDs go the way of the paperback book (so cheap that's it's easier than a superbroadband download), save your money!

Consumers are in a terrific position right now as we have the following battles going on that are keeping prices low:

Cable vs. Satellite
Satellite vs. Satellite
IPTV vs. All comers
Netflix vs. Blockbuster

It's an old battle librarians quickly recognize: distributed databases (i.e., online databases updated daily) versus static media such as CD-ROMs that require no internet connection). CD-ROMs are good for archiving data, but live databases are best for current information.

So go tell your parents what you learned in school today: stay away from the high definition DVDs. Within 2 years 25-33% of us will already be getting movies on demand (and TV shows later once the freight train runs over them and they get clued into the truly new media world).

You are welcome to use my material but please cite it as Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein, (2007). An example APA citation is:

Vaidhyanathan, S. (2003, April 23). Universities, RIAA, and academic freedom. Sivacracy.net: Siva Vaidhyanathan's weblog. Retrieved April 26, 2003, from http://www.nyu.edu/classes/siva /2003_04_23_blogarchive.html#200187673