the beta wars

14 03 2008

Thank you Beta – your sacrifice has been remembered.  Okay, it’s more like “I remember a similar idea a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away – the galaxy of my youth).   There was this emerging idea of having home recordings of movies, so you could own them and watch them at your leisure instead of waiting for them to come out on TV (and hope you don’t miss the night).  What a wonderful idea…

There were three main formats that came out.  (What?  THREE????)  VHS, which we knew and loved – and many still own; Beta the strong competitor of VHS, which my buddy swore was going to outlast VHS – I hope he doesn’t do any other gambling; and … (drum roll)… Laser Disc -oooohhhhh!!!!

Laser Disc was impressive to look at.  Lots of space on them for cool cover art.  They were more for the “upper crust” of society.  Apparently there wasn’t enough upper crust in society to afford these overpriced units and limited movie selections.  As we all know, VHS won the war – even when Laser Disc tried to make a second attempt a few years later.  I think that might’ve been to try to appease those rich, unhappy people who bought them.

When HD-DVD and Blue-Ray came out together I thought hmmm… like most new technology, let’s watch what happens with it.  Any new tech usually comes out with fanfare and if there are some products that come out around the same time that are similar, then it’s usually a good idea to sit back and wait for a while.   During that time you see what’s going to last and what will fade into memory.  The other bonus is that usually the prices will drop somewhat too!

This is a lesson that I learned from our dear departed Beta.  So thank-you Beta.  For your sacrifice and for showing us how to react to new tech.  And I hope that the developers were not the ones behind HD-DVD…




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