Future imperfect: HD DVD and Blueray

Apropos of nothing, I thought I'd use my space this month to rant about why hd and Blueray dvds are entirely pointless. Or, as Dickens might have said (had he bought more home electronics), why they're 'dead to begin with.'
September 1, 2006

Apropos of nothing, I thought I’d use my space this month to rant about why HD and Blueray dvds are entirely pointless. Or, as Dickens might have said (had he bought more home electronics), why they’re ‘dead to begin with.’

Maybe it’s not entirely out of left field. Both formats are beginning to roll out in earnest now, with the big studios having taken sides in a manner that would have made Archduke Ferdinand proud, bless his little square hat. Now, studios are rushing to re-issue everything they can get their sweaty hands on in their new format of choice. Seriously, Universal Studios: dudes, we didn’t need Van Helsing on HD DVD. It was a crap movie in SD. The problem wasn’t lines of resolution.

Hey, how about, instead of launching all these formats and titles into the ether, you take all your R&D money and the marketing cash that goes along with it, pile it up in a great big pile, and set fire to it? Roast some weenies, sing some camp songs, and then call it a night. You’ll thank me.

Consumers are not going to jump on this bandwagon. They can smell a boondoggle, and as their spokesman, I’d like to state for the record that we’ve been ‘doggled enough, and we’ll stand no more ‘doggling. Beyond the fact that we’ve been continually screwed by the entertainment industry of late – they keep coming back for more cash for the same content in different digital formats – this is an idea even you guys can’t agree on. Why not lock yourselves in a room and not come out until you come up with an archaic technology you can agree on?

And it is archaic. Little silver disks that scratch when you touch them will soon be under glass at the Smithsonian, right beside ’78s, lunar landers, and the Bill of Rights. High-capacity DVDs are not an innovative abstraction. (And they’ll likely be more susceptible to scratches.) This is like spending a few hundred million to figure out a way to get another track onto your 8-track. ‘We’ve got NINE track technology! Eat that, Toshiba!’

Every electronics industry save for the home entertainment industry is moving away from rotating disk technology. Companies like Samsung have already begun to release flash drive computers, and others are segueing into the market with half flash/half rotating disk storage. Camera makers such as Panasonic have rolled out hard storage. In less than three years, your kids are going to look at you blankly when you talk about hard drives or disks. That’s not even beginning to consider a much more likely evolution into ferromagnetic or biological memory, or any of the other real innovations coming down the pipe.

But, you know, better rush out and get Van Helsing on HD DVD before they sell out.

Remember a couple of years back when News Corp said it was going to dump a billion dollars into WebMD? Ah, so many lives saved… This is just like that. Stop spending money on technology no one wants, to do jobs that are better done by other things for less money.

Wait… Kinda reminds me of HD in general. Or is that just me?

Brendan Christie

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.