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Putting the VD back into DVD

Thursday, January 11th, 2007 at 12:32 by Rhys Wilcox

Do you remember? It was the dawning of home entertainment; the birth of domestic video players and two, non-cross-compatible, systems were released: VHS and Betamax. One was regarded as a higher quality player, the other was more widely advertised. Hands up who was socially spurned for owning Betamax?

It looked like history was going to repeat itself when Sony and Toshiba released rivalling ‘next generation’ DVD players a year ago. Toshiba’s HD format and Sony’s Blu-ray both boast outstanding high definition playback and extra capabilities but HD disks won’t play on Blu-ray and vice versa.

Due to multi-media conglomerations and film-studio allegiances this technological incompatibility dictates that certain films would be restricted to one or the other format. Own the wrong player and you might only ever be able to watch Tom Cruise films for the rest of your life!

Presumably Sony and Toshiba are both hoping that it will be the other’s format that will be the Betamax equivalent (and ensuing runiation) but sales of their players have been very poor since their release indicating that consumers are less than confident in both parties.

But hey, guess what? Somebody else has taken the trouble to fill this obvious gap in the market by releasing the first multi-format player and giving Sony and Toshiba a slap around their collective thighs for being so stubborn and not doing it themselves.

The new, unifying player is being launched by Korean company, LG Electronics - soon to be an international household name and destroyer of Sony and Toshiba?

Probably not, it’ll just make everyone else make their players universal too.

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