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Even enthusiasts can't pick the winner

Erik Hanson

Despite all the predictions, polls, and prognostications from this site (and many others) on which next-generation DVD format will win this format war, even the enthusiasts aren't in agreement. CNET recently completed a survey of early adopters, and the one thread that ties all their responses together is... uncertainty. 81% of responders said they weren't sure which format would win -- despite the very vocal responses we always see in our comments -- and more than half are concerned about compatibility between current and future products. Most people are also at least somewhat cost-conscious, as 74% are concerned about the prices of hardware, and 62% aren't pleased with the costs of next-gen movies and content. In something we haven't discussed much since the formats launched but is still an ongoing concern for those of us without HDCP-protected inputs is copyright (and presumably the ICT flag): almost half of responders worried about copyright restrictions. The one thing no one really seems to care about is availability of content, with less than a third citing that as a problem; or the choice of manufacturers, as despite the vehement opposition some people have to Sony or Samsung, only 20% seemed to care about who makes the boxes.

Overall, some interesting responses, especially from the early adopter crowd. I could easily see these types of answers from your average consumer, who doesn't know much about next-gen formats, but to see this from those who are likely to keep up (and read sites like this one) sure doesn't speak well for the future of the formats. Of course, it's almost too late for consumers now, as both formats have launched and are gearing up for the holidays -- and competition beyond -- but we'd sure like to see someone do something about reconciliation or appeasement to the end consumers. Blu-ray Disc Association and DVD Forum, are you listening?

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