Press Play - Stand Back

What happens when Microsoft is involved in your product demo?

One of the big centrepiece attractions at CES is the firing of the opening salvo in the hi-def DVD wars. If you haven't been following along, there are two emerging standards in hi-def DVD, meaning that we are on the verge of another "VHS .vs. Beta" format war. And, must like those days of yore we have a demonstrably superior product (Blu-Ray) that costs more, and a ghetto product (HD DVD) that has crappy quality but costs a lot less.

Now the smart money (given the state of North American consumer mores) would bet on the loser format winning out - just as VHS did despite looking like vomit on your screen - simply because of the price difference. But there is a big wild card this time around ... the announced adoption of the Blu-Ray system by Sony for the Playstation 3. The marketing inertia that can be brought to bear by the PS3 juggernaut is far from trivial.

Countering this, of course, is the fact that Microsoft has jumped on with the HD DVD crowd - a natural fit, considering the fact that it is a second-rate product. Of course, being in bed with Microsoft has it's own set of catches and caveats, not the least of which is the potential of the Microsoft DRM software failing and leaving you with a dead box in the biggest possible live demonstration of your shiny new product.

You may have to excuse me while I laugh uproariously at this point in time.

Posted: Mon - January 9, 2006 at 08:54 AM