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TechStuff Tidbits: Format Wars

2022-04-14 | 🔗

This tidbits episode rapidly got out of hand. We take a look at big format wars in history and why they are important. We also look at how format wars can cause confusion and frustration for consumers. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Welcome to textile production from I heart radio there and welcome to tax doc. I Neer host Jonathan Strickland, I'm an executive producer with a heart radio and held the Tec. Are you won't time for a text of debates be a long one, a lot of money. I get it I'm bad at being brief, but I I would talk a little bit about format wars. thought about before, but it was one of those really wanted to kind of talk about the explain. What we mean when we say format, war and what that can imply and the older you are, the more that war is, you have likely witnessed first hand, like I can think of, full that I've seen, but the course there are plenty that were way before my time. So what is a format? War?
Why can they be really bad at the Galilee for consumers and what are a few examples? That's what we're going to look at today, but first, let's to find it so a format war essentially is when you got two similar technologies. They each accomplish the same thing or at least a very similar outcome. They're both meant to provide for the same purpose, they might do it in very different ways. In fact, frequently they do approach this in extremely different ways, and typically these two different or more subtle more than just two, but these different technologies are incompatible with one another so that each meant to achieve a certain goal, but they can't work gather because they're doing it in a fundamentally different way, or sometimes a subtly different way, but, way, that's different enough, that they can't work together. So in other words,
if you buy technology a then you aren't really able to use the stuff for technology be on it that we see this very easily and stuff like councils right, we think of the consul wars where you have an xbox or a play station or an intended. Well, you can't play playstation games on an xbox. You can't play Xbox games on an agenda and so forth right. You can get the titles for those Betty killer councils, but you can't put an xbox neo disk in a play station console it won't work when you could do it? It just wouldn't work now. One way you could get around. That is, if you buy all the consoles right. So if you have a tech, a and attack be the one way you could get around being limited, as you could also by tech, be, but then your spinning way more cash, it ain't all of us got that kind of cheddar. You know what I'm saying and I am not the kind of person who could buy every format just so that way. I have access to everything
and now we really do see this today played out in other ways like the different streaming services. I would argue our kind of a format war it's more of a streaming war, because the format is pretty much the same. It's not like know if you have one type of streaming device versus another, that you're limited to specific types of stream content, but otherwise it's very similar that if you want access to everything you got to subscribe to everything which is pretty frustrating as a consumer, so The reason format wars tend to be bad, for consumers is that we are faced with really tough choices. If we want whatever the technology actually does. Then we, Nevertheless, I which option do we go? Where do we go with tax ay or do we go attack B. We do that, knowing that our choice is going,
lock us in from that point forward into that technologies, ecosystem again, unless we go crazy and buy all of them. So we do that were buying a specific, why we say all right: I've looked at both texts, detective, really. For a long time, I have ultimately decided that tech, a is the one that I like, more I'm going to go with, that do that, knowing that we're going to miss out on anything that was made explicitly and exclusively for tech me, and likewise, if we had made the other choice, we'd be facing the same situation just in reverse, so you can go with a road less traveled it will make all the difference, but different does not mean better. It doesn't mean worse either it means different, and you might feel reluctant to get on board in the first place, early on in a format war, because sometimes formats go obsolete.
in several of the examples that we'll talk about in this episode, one or more formats would ultimately fall to a different one that would survive and obviously That means that anyone who has backed a failed format is left with a piece of technology that becomes increasingly irrelevant and ultimately obsolete. Meanwhile, if you step two speed, you have to bite the bullet and by the other format in that region, wash your hands the whole thing and walk away from technology and live out in the woods which trust me. I have been tempted to do on numerous occasions now. If this happens to you once or twice. where you back a format and the format ultimately fails. You might stop being a little gun shy around emerging formats, you might then have a philosophy of this looks really cool
there are two different versions of this thing in their fighting each other. I'm just going to wait and see how this shakes out before I jump on board right. You you've been bitten too many times there, are only a doctors who who just live for this stuff and they go out no by every new thing. As it comes out, I don't know where they're getting their money from it is not the same place where I get my money from because they don't. Let me get that kind of money, so in that case, you might feel like a wait and see. Approach is better and honestly, this is sort of what I tip. If we do all, though I Duke occasionally fall victim to giving hyped because you have to press the evil feeling a foam. Oh yeah, the fear of missing out, particularly is the other folks really enjoying their technology while you just sort of sit in a kind of imagining now people playing video games, while writing jet skis and flying over waves or something now one thing that can happen with format war is that the industry as a whole sometimes will come.
Less around a unified standard and it is best for the consumer anyway, when this happens before products ever come to market, because at that white customers have the option to buy whichever brand of the technology they like, and they know it should work with pretty much anything else made for that specific use case. So, in other words like There are times where companies will all be developing a technology that is meant to do something similar, and the companies wall, then by in closed doors essentially meet with one another hash. It out make compromises. create a more unified technology before they come to Morrow So then, when you go to the store, you like our well there's brand, a version of this there's brand be version of this. There's brand see version of this, but they all do the a thing and the stuff that's made for them will work on the other ones. That's a deal for customers doesn't always happen that way, but we
I have seen that happen. A few times like the compact disc while it did have competitive competing formats. The compact disc was not like by itself, but the compact disc benefited, because that was it. It was the product of that kind of compromise before it came to market and that ultimately meant that consumers had fewer incompatible formats in front of them in order to to enjoy that technology. So it does happen, but often we won't see agreement in an green three on a particular standard until after different formats have already hit the market and by then, of course, it's too late at least some portion, The consumer public will be, behind. If, ultimately, everyone then agrees upon a standard.
alright. Well, let's talk about a few famous format. Wars, and there are quite a few of them. There have been dozens of them. I'm going to stick with some that aren't very obscure, like I'm, going to stick with some well known ones, just for the purposes of kind of explaining what was going on and a lot of them will relate to technology and various forms of media, because as that's one realm where, as consumers, we have seen format wars, you know it front and center, like those tend to be the most published or publicized format. Wars in the our era and and when I'm talking about medium, really talking about any content that plays upon technology, it could be media in the form of music. It could be shows movies or or whatever or it could be software. So that's kind of what I mean when I say media, but one for
that I've thought about a format were then I covered in past. Episodes also talked about this when I appeared as the quiz stir on give us history. They ve never listened too ridiculous history. You should check it out, it's a very fun show and once in a rare while I'll pop on as a ridiculous over the top villain called the quizzed her There was one episode where I showed up and talked about rail gauges as in railroad tracks, know what trains travel upon In the very early days of railroads, you had a different engineers and different. but he's that rebuilding train engines and cars, or rather like bogies or trucks- There is sometimes called these are, though, the wheeled frames that sit on the else, and then you essentially bolt cars onto these frames. Well, there were a lot of people making these and they were making them at different sizes, like
they had designed the tracks, envy the trains to run on a specific width of rails and they weren't all the same everywhere. So this is just a Randy like high political example, you could have a region within a country where one part of the region. There's a there's, a company, that's laying down tracks that are did centimetres apart, because the wheel bulls on their vehicles are one hundred cm apart, but else and that same region. You might have folks building other trains where if settled on a whit, that's one hundred and twenty centimetres apart, and so you can't have a train that was built for one run on the tracks of the. Right, because you have a train were to encounter a section of track where suddenly there was a,
when he centimeter difference in the width, apart from the rails, the trains going gonna go flying off the track. It did it deal. The wheels can't expand with it though this obviously was a limiting factor. So as people were building train tracks They eventually arrived at locations where other tracks were also being built at a different with and that meant there was no way for a train to pass from one set to another, and if you were wanted to travel long distance chances. Are you will have to change trains perhaps a few times in different towns, In fact, there was one town in Pennsylvania where this became a cornerstone of their local economy. They counted on the fact that you had different rail gauges all terminating at this one because it would mean the trains would have to stop in that town and then the locals often found employment
by doing stuff. That was related to the fact. People were stopped in the town in order to change trains, so there are people who made money as as porters who were unloaded. Trains or loading other trains yet people were making money because there were providing food or lodging or both to travellers. So When you have government saying you know, it would make way more sense for us to settle on a standard rail gauge so that you could travel seamlessly from point a to point b without having these issues. towns like this. One in Pennsylvania, really objected to the and by objective I mean like they were the got a little rowdy, they started tearing up, train tracks, that's all, at this format. War was going because they, what as their livelihood and if you were to streamline things it might be better for the passengers, but it wouldn't be better but this time so this was
format war. Where, depending upon what side you were on like what, where you were coming from, if you're coming from the perspective of a traveller or you are coming from the perspective of a towns person who is dependent upon that's for their living. You had a very different view on what was important now, ultimately, at least in most cases, His standards were arrived at and the train gauge was set to a specific with. There are still trains in countries even like the United States that have a different rail gauge, but they they tend to be curiosities. Now they're, like tourists actions and and typically are not really used that much an industry these days. So you can. You can sometimes find these in interesting places where there people have maintained the tracks and the the systems so that you can experience it, but if you're traveling coast to coast,
then you're on standardized rail gauge, so that was a format work that was long in the making it took a long time to resolve and didn't go easily. Okay, we're take a quick break here, but we come back, we'll talk about some more format, wars What, if you were a trendy apparel company facing an avalanche of demand to ensure more customers can buy more sherpa light jackets? You call Ib M to automate your. I t infrastructure with AI. Now your systems monitor themselves. What used to take hours takes minutes and you have an E commerce platform designed to handle sudden spikes in overall demand, as in actual overalls, let's create ity systems that rule up their own sleeves. I Bm, let's create learn more at I bm dot com, Slash Ity, Dash automation. This podcast is brought to you by plaid. If you're, building a fintech, app or service plan is the easiest way to get start,
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or was really personified as Thomas Edison on the direct current side versus George Westinghouse. On the alternating current side, though, some people will substitute George Westinghouse, though they'll put in Nikola Tesla instead and it becomes Tesla vs Edison. That's not really. An accurate description, because Edison was really more of a business owner, as was Westinghouse and Tesla was more of an engineer, but we often see at Edison versus Tesla. Really at versus Westinghouse, and anyway, Westinghouse in an Tesla were on the alternating current side. There were numerous promotional stunts that both sides held in an effort to have their own standard adopted for the purposes of building out infrastructure throughout the United States- and this was like this was representing a true fortune in investment.
right in order to build out power plants and all the the wiring and everything that would be needed in order to transmit power to the average american citizen. It is hard to put a figure on how big a fortune that was essential fortune. So clearly the stakes were very high between DC and AC and they each had their own benefits and drawbacks, but ultimately AC would win out like they were and again there are some huge promotional battles a big one, was when Westinghouse managed to to land the contract for the world's fair to light the world's fair, by end, of course, there's
There's stories that have grown with the retelling, such as the the electrocution of an elephant named Topsy using alternating current, which was frequently at rib, at Edison in recent years. But really it was more like Edison's company that did this in the story gets really complex. It's still not a good story like hearing about doing a public execution of an animal in part to show how a a type of electricity is. Quote more dangerous than another type. You that's indefensible really, but the story is more complicated and we'll leave it at that however, ultimately AC one out, at least for the purposes of long distance, electricity, transmission and and honestly, the reason for that was largely
radical because it was way easier to use transformers which work with AC current but not DC current. And it was easy to use transformers in order to step up voltage for the purposes of long distance transmission, step down voltage when it gets to its destination and make use of it, whereas see you would have to build way more electric plants closer to the point where it's providing the electricity so just from a practical standpoint, ac, ultimately one out at least back then now right now As I record this episode, I'm also on at work on another. Really big episode about the music industry, both the technology and the business side of the music industry, because the two are extremely closely tied to like you can't really, I would argue, extract one
without the other because they inform each other, so the there I am hard at work inspires. We can be more than one episode about the music industry and technology. So this next format war- I want to talk about, plays into that in the early days of recorded media, like just win People were learning how they could take sound and record that onto a physical object and then play it back essentially reversing the process. You had companies like Thomas Edison that were Russia. to dominate the space and there were a few different form it's even in the early days now, one very early. One was wax cylinders and essentially recording audio meant that you, add a cylinder of wax mounted on a spindle, the spindle would rotate
and you would put down a stylus or needle that would carve a groove into the cylinder and if you were to speak into a device, it would either be like a horn or a microphone, then it could transmit the vibrations from the sound ultimately to the stylus, that's carving into the wax cylinder and your car, burning, a physical representation of the sound that's being presented to this recording device and a play it back take the cylinder you put it in a player and you have a different kind of stylus. There would travel through the groove that had already been cut through the recording process and essentially again You were just having the same recording process, but in reverse, and that's where you would get the sound playing back but different companies would have different ways of doing this, even as they switched from cylinders. You know to flat discs, like
the the traditional format we think of, if you think of like a vinyl record, they weren't vinyl back in those days, but it was that same shape right the flat disk shape. Well, even then, still major ways to cut the grooves that were fundamentally different, so One was that you could do sort of a vertical cut grew. So that meant that as the the disk were rotated and your recording to it, the needle you're using the stylus or using is varying in degrees of depth. So it's were putting vibrations essentially up and down along the groove and when you're play back. It would mean that the playback needle would be slow Nop or sloping away from the the surface, and that that's where Operation would be, as would be, replicated to create the sound that you hear
the other way, was lateral groups or lateral cuts where the would vary in width right the needle was vibrating, not up and down, but left and right, and as it was hoarding and thus when you're playing it back same sort of thing, but these two things were not necessarily Hannibal with one another which meant that if you bought a player that was dependent upon the vertical cut the lateral cut. Then you were limited to just those records, so this it's another early format, war that was tricky for consumers and another format that was around the same time and of the same thing. Say, media was on a all about rotational speed. When you recording and playing back sound so again. In order to get an accurate, sound out of a player, you need to play the record back at the correct speed. If you have
I tried to play a forty five album forty five refers to the number of revolutions per minute. So forty five revolutions per minute in this case, if you were that Forty five album on a record player, but you set the record player to its thirty three and a third setting, meaning its rotating thirty, three and one third times per minute, then you listen, everything sounds real stroll because the the playback is. Lower than the recording speed. So it sounds much slower a by the way. As a kid I found this endlessly entertaining either. Playing forty five on thirty three or finding thirty three albums and playing them at forty five. So everyone sounds like you, the chipmunks or whatever, I was a easily entertained as a child, and honestly I'd still have already record player this today, and it requires some careful of resistance
for me to not just indulge in that silliness even to this day. But you know there were so many different speed playback formats in the early days like it wasn't just forty five. Thirty three or even seventy eight, which would become an early standard. There were tons of different ones, typically ranging between sixty all the to like a hundred eighty now that could have caused an injury, problem right, like if all record players could were limited to playing back at a specific speed. That would be a nightmare. because it would mean that if you were shopping for a record, you had to make absolutely sure that the record was recorded at the same speed that you're. In table could play back at otherwise it would just not sound right. It would sound very wrong However, most turntables most record players that we didn't really call them that at the time, but that's what they were most of them, the
I we're actually capable of playing back at very different speeds, like you could set it to whichever speed you need to something. He had do it manually dial it in so that you know, I might mean that you're taking a little time to get the sound just right, but you had that kind of that kind of flexibility for a lot of those tables so because of that the format- wars, weren't spilling over into a negative consumer experience too much. It would actually take several decades for the music industry to gravitate word three and then really to rpm standards, so the one, as I mentioned earlier, was seventy eight rpm that was pretty close to what a lot of the old traditional records Just all of them were somewhere between the seventy and eighty opium society. It was kind of a well for a multiple reasons. It was set upon ass, a stand
those reasons also involve the fact that when people stopped using like spring loaded, playback machines and they started using gear devices, gear ratios in it up creating the necessity to stick with certain types of our. Of our p m that the combination of electric motors and gear ratios meant that there were certain rpf speeds that were easy to attain and so it was one of them, but later on there was the forty five rpm, which was the seven inch format. Primarily used for stuff. They just needed a couple of minutes of audio on each side, so it was ideal for things like record singles. You know you have a single song on side, a and a single inside b and that's all you would have. Then you also had the thirty three and a third rpm speed that one
im synonymous with a full length record albums, and you have to remember also that there were different companies pushing these different rpm formats right like it's, not that These were just two formats that were out there on records. It was that you had companies that were really pushing to make that the standard and not the other one, but it turns out. Both of them would survive. and the reason they would survive is because they filled different purposes right. You had the forty five, which was great for singles. So if you were say a teenager, who that was the market that was really into buying music. might want to save your money and just buy a single song that you really like, you're, not interested in the full album, and so that was a niche that the forty five filled. I'd, be a collector and you want an entire album and you go spend
all the more money, so you go and get the thirty three and a third album full foul album this Abe, music in ways that go well beyond this episode, I will touch on that on the music industry episodes because again, the format itself would change, the way people made music, it's a really fascinating history. When you get into it, But the important bit here is just that, because both of these had a use, they also we would both be adopted as standards and and ultimately, the at the different companies would end up adopting the other standards as well, so it stopped In something that was brand specific and just became the different formats that were available for record collectors And there are a bunch of others that we can talk about that happened over the following decades, for example:
It was an infamous battle. That was primarily between RCA and its subsidiary in BC versus CBS in the United States, and this was over the format of color television broadcast technology. Now arcy agency BS were bitter rivals in trying to establish what should be the standardized colored television broadcast format and initially CBS appeared to secure that format. In the U S, despite our thier really putting up a fuss about it. However, before CBS could really entrench itself, the Korean WAR broke out and the United States got involved and and some technical challenges on top of the shortage of materials. Sidelined color broadcast television in the US.
Also. At the same time, our rca was determined to sandbag. Cbs is operations Only selling black and white sets RCA would not sell color sets and CBS Color broadcast format was such that wasn't compatible with the older black and white set. So if you had a black that you weren't able to watch those color broadcasts, so RCA had a vested interest in in this, because the executives wanted to establish Rch tech as the standard, but there was also a practical. Federation that whatever color broadcast standard was being used should be and that would be viewable, even if you still only had a black and white set, so you'd still be able to watch the broadcast. You just wouldn't have color, obviously by the time, the. U S was ready to really get back into color broadcast CBS had given up they gave up. In fact, I think he,
like a week before, or maybe even a day before the Eu S announced that it was ready to look at color broadcast entered and CBS had already put, The plug at that point in our ca was in a position to really pick it back up. Its technology would provide the foundation for the. National Television System Committee or anti see format. Now, with colored tv, I would say that these actions, while motivated primarily by a desire to dominate the market, would end up having an enormous benefit to the average US consumer and audience member, because But you didn't have to worry about your tell him only being able to receive a subset of all available broadcasts color broadcasts could come through. in your old black and white sets. Just you wouldn't see color, but you would get the the broadcast Your color sets would also be able to pick up older black and white transmissions. And meanwhile broadcast stations could rush to get up to speed
So that was an example where again, that happened behind the scenes didn't really impact. Most summers, there weren't very many color televisions that were available before the korean WAR really sidelined everything, so that ended up being a hiccup in technological progress that ultimately benefited the consumer. When we come back we'll cover a few more examples before we wrap up, but first, let's take this quick break.
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it's the not food. Get everything delivered from groceries to alcohol does so much more ubereats get anything, don't always eats it. Not literally anything item availability varies by market alcohol in select cities only must be twenty one and older to purchase c app for details. Okay, let's get back to music, another big format. War happened between cassette tapes, which were all age. When I was a kid and mix tapes, yeah yeah, those are kind of backing in style largely because guardians of the galaxy and, of course people have been making things like playlists and you know, burn cds and stuff forever too, but the Ap Mixtapes is what we call the back. When I was a kid, but you know there was this format war before the cassette tape really established itself, where it was the cassette tape, vs eight tracks, vs four track. Tapes, Belfort track tapes didn't get a whole lot of love outside of audiophile circles
they didn't really take off big time in the consumer. Space eight did a little bit better. Some car manufacturers would incorporate eight track players into vehicles, so these were also cassettes of a type but track. Tapes had some pretty big drawbacks at one of the major ones was that you could not rewind and eight track tape. So let's say that you put an ape back of an album in your in your jeep, I ignore our oh, no. I like the first song in the side, but this is like the third song. You'd have to end up flipping it over to the second: I'd, go all the way to the end of that, like either and or or whatever, and then ultimately you Put it back over and listen to the first song on side a it was not convenient cuz that takes we're smaller then eight tracks and you could rewind them. You could also tape over them event. So over time. They won out in the fall
Matt WAR. They had enough advantages that they became much more popular, an essentially attracts kind of faded into obscurity. Now. when I think the actual phrase, format, ward, there's one specific one. That leads to my mind because it was pulling down. When I was a kid right, though, not this was the most important format, war or anything like that, it's just the way like. If I hear that phrase, this is what I think of, and that was the video cassette format war. Primarily I'm talking about Vhs, which was championed by the company Jvc. And, on the other side, you had Betamax, which was a Sony product, now there were other home media contenders to those were not the only two, but they were the two big big players in the space you had like laser disc. You also had c e systems which I could go off on a rabbit trail on those I have one in this office. They were not
popular, but I still own one. I don't know if it works, but I've got one anyway, let's get back to the cassette. So if vcr, sums had only allowed for play back if a vcr betamax could only play back recorded material that was sold like you would go out and buy a copy of a a video, and that's the only thing you could do with them, then it's very possible that Betamax could have won out because Betamax quality was marginally better than Vhs, although both formats did of all over time. It's not like they. They emerged with one quality and never changed, but the thing that really gave the ages a big advantage in the long run is that you could use these to record material from say a television
to tape, so you can watch it again later. That was something that the industry was not in favor of, but it ultimately happened, and this is where Vhs really was superior. You could fit more content onto a single vhs tape. Then you could with Betamax, and this ultimately contribute did largely to Vhs winning out but it took years it was not like this was an overnight thing. Does this took place over years and years and it was a vicious fight? It wasn't a guarantee, he was going to win, but by the the nineteen eighties Betamax, was kind of treated like a punchline. It became the you know the the the big example of a technology that failed to secure relevance at least around that time period, next I skip over a whole bunch of other stuff in order to get to a similar story that played out in the two thousands like mid to late two, thousands, so yeah it was the nineteen seventys. When we had the Vhs vs Betamax war and three AIDS later, we would get
a brand new home video format, war, which would pit Blu Ray verses, HD, you all know how that turned out, because we don't talk about hd dvd anymore, and we still get a Blu ray. If we really want one and some of you might too young to even remember this format. War, the back in the the mid to late two thousands. This was a really big deal. I both formats vying to become the next big thing after the dvd, like this was supposed to be the step into hd. A and dvd was somewhat limited in that. So you have Blu Ray, which was backed by Sony and she
I was behind HD dvd, and these two companies rushed to form partnerships both with other technology companies, so that you know there be other companies producing players. They could play Blu Ray or HD dvd, but they also rushed out to form partnerships with media companies by the companies are actually making the content in order to secure exclusion, deals which meant that consumers were faced with this problem, that you know the movies and shows they really liked. They might only be available on a single format that meant that You wanted those movies you had to buy into that format, the beginning, the very beginning it looked like hd dvd might have a bit of an edge up. First of all, it came out
a little bit earlier than Blu Ray by a few months. Secondly, early on a deed, DVD attracted some major studios onto its side, but Sony would turn around and play some pretty brilliant strokes of its. One and it didn't hurt the Blu Ray- also had some technical advantages. On top of that, a big one being that it could hold more information than an hd dvd does could so you could put more onto a blu ray for another. Blu Ray could support more advanced piracy prevention. technologies than hd dvd could hd dvd had an advantage in that it was not quite as expensive. So that was a big boost, but Sony Really brilliant move was that they built a Blu ray player into a playstation three. That meant that you could have a game station a games console they could also serve as a media player, which, obviously, today that's pretty common thing. But back then it was pretty new
Plus those additional protections that privacy protection was really attracted to studios right, they were terror. Eight of the thought of losing out on revenue due to piracy. So anything that could cut that down was a big bonus, them, and one by one studios began to side with Sony. Until by two thousand eight, it was pretty clear that hd dvd was dead in the water like one or others left hd dvd and at that point all the major studios had had had jumped ship, in fact I remember attending C s one year where just a couple of weeks before the show HD dvd pulled out of c s. So there was this big empty spot. On the show floor where there were supposed to be an hd dvd booth, but there was nothing because again, a couple of weeks before the show happened they decided to They didn't have any Good news to share and they didn't want to have to face the music at that point,
it wasn't long after that that HD dvd was, for all intents and purposes dead, so Blu Ray one that Format WAR and it meant that all those people who got hd dvd players and a library of desks were stuck with a technology that ultimately went obsolete like once those players stop working and there is not an easy way to repair them. Those disks are, you know, paper waits. Now we still have format wars going on today. Some of them have settled into different lines of products that can coexist, So like in the early days of personal computers, we had several different styles of computers. Right you had Deal Commodore sixty four, I you would have the app bull. You would have Sinclair machines, yet all these different computer systems and over time. They mostly shook out to pcs, which really was just shorthand to describe any computer that was built upon.
An architecture that I become first offered as a personal computer and then on the other side, you had apple and we continue to have that to this day I mean there are other ones as well, but those are like the two primary ones, can coexist. They serve different functions, so That was a format war that ultimately can a settled into two different lines of products. In other cases, however, we've got ongoing format, wars that can still cause trouble for consumers, including me. So, for example, there is hdr which is high, dynamic range, and this applies to displays. merely things like televisions, but not only televisions. Also computer displays tablets all that kind of stuff. They can have hd our technology in them, but here's the tricky thing hd are does not refer to a specific technology. You don't have
Just one thing that is HDR Hdr is more like a desired outcome. High dynamic range is a goal: not a technology, unto itself and the outcome is all about creating a large range of color, intensities and brightness, But you can have a really rich lush and accurate color representation on screen. You can have everything from a dim dark purple to a virus, vibrant, yellow and every other color right, but the idea that HDR gives you incredibly vibrant pictures. That's the goal. The problem is, there are different ways to get to that goal. There's not just one technological. Pathway to lead to hdr, and there are actually several different formats that all aim to do this, the big
funds are age, algae, there's, Dolby, vision, there's hd our ten, that's the most common of the formats and there's hd art. Plus so Dolby Vision, has really incredible capabilities like it. It is technic play one of the most advanced of the HDR formats, However, Dolby Vision is also proprietary. Now means that anyone who wants to make use of Dolby Vision, whether weather a television manufacturer right. It's someone, it's someone, that's eating televisions that are capable of showing Dolby Vision or it's a format like a like, a when his creating media and they want the media to be an Dhabi vision, no matter what, if you want. the use of double vision. You have to pay, you had to pay a licensing fee and companies typically don't like having to pay.
Syncing fees, if they can find a way around it like. If they've got a free option, they would much prefer to do that because they keep more of the money themselves. So HDR ten is an open standard. That's why it's the most common cause you can use it for free, like you, can make use of that. open standard, but it's not as advanced as Dolby vision. So you get your hdr output, but it's not as good as if you were to use I'll be vision. Now all of this is on the back and write like you. Have all these companies that are making deals about whether or not their gonna pay a licensing v and you something like Dolby Vision or their guns, with an open standard, or maybe they will support multiple ones, but on the consumer side it gets really messy and really confusing. not all hdr televisions, support all hdr formats, that's what I find really frustrating about format. Wars like this cause you can
while by an hd our cable tv, but if it only supports, say hd our ten, then it doesn't necessarily support something like Dolby Vision, and you might think. Oh I've gotta watch this age hdr, but Levinson. It's an hdr uses, Dolby vision. You won't be able to experience the hdr so This is really upsetting because it means that you actually have to do. what more homework before you go out and buy something right. You can just oldest these on sale, any the new tv I wanna buy it, and then I can watch all the stuff. Maybe at least maybe with the hdr, but you might not be able to if the television doesn't support the format that are available on the media you have
this gets even more complicated. When you start talking about things, you connect to your tv because let's say that you have like a streaming device, let's say the televisions, not its own smart tv. It doesn't have native access to streaming apps and you have. It to a streaming device. Will the stream device also needs to have the same compatibility is so anywhere in the chain. If you are lacking a compatibility, then you miss out on that that particular feature. and this is really the downside for me for format. Wars, that's why I think standardization is so important because it removes that confusion and ambiguity and it improves the customer experience. It doesn't sincerely mean we get the absolute best version of whatever that technology is, we might make some compromises, but what it does mean is that
can you buy technology a you know? It can play everything that was made for technology, right or whatever the play is too limiting, because this goes well beyond media. But that is that's the argument for standardization. Is that doesn't mean that you get the absolute best, and of everything, but that you can be confident that the version you do get is something you can use. That's the big benefit of standardization. Now maybe one day you and me but he s listening to this wall be like super wealthy and we won't care like we won't care if, if one format not compatible with the other cars just buy all of them, but no but y'all. I do not appear to be on that track anytime soon. So for the meantime, I'm going to continue being my grouchy old man self and argue for standardization hope you enjoy,
what was going to be a text up tidbits, but I'm looking at the public. Looking at my recording right now and it's as long as a normal episode, very typical you go ahead. get your Alexa now I deserve them. If you want Do try to be on twitter for being a chatty. Cathy, the handle is text of age S, w We reach out. If you have any suggestions for topics, you'd love for me to cover, in future episodes of tech stuff, whether it's a technology, a trend in tech, a company or an important person in tech. Any of those things, let me know or like a guest, you would love for me to have on the show. I really enjoyed having guests on recently it some It's always a challenge to schedule those kind of things, but I think they bring a lot of value to the show, and I know you folks really and appreciate getting to listen to someone besides just me. So if there's anyone out there that you think would be an excellent guest for what
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Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.