History repeats itself, said Marx, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. There are two competing standards for the next generation of DVD disks. One, Blu-ray, developed by Sony, stores 25 GB on a disk. The other, HD DVD, created by a consortium led by Toshiba, stores 15 GB. Needless to say, they are incompatible.
The commercial madness of this is obvious to all concerned, but nobody wants to give way. And now, talks about a possible compromise have apparently been abandoned. Rational consumers will sit on their hands until a clear victor emerges — which could take a while. (At a time when sales of DVDs seem to be stagnating.) Sony’s Betamax was technically superior, but lost out to VHS. Blu-ray is technically superior to HD DVD….
More… And I’d forgotten about the daft DRM technologies proposed for the new formats. Fortunately, Ed Felten hasn’t.