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Here We Go Again: Video Standards War 2010

KeyChestBetamax vs.VHS, HD DVD vs. Blu-ray and now DECE vs. Keychest. Can’t the consumer electronics industry and studios cut us a break?

Think of the words “standards war,” and unless you’re a standards wonk like m…oh, never mind…you’re likely to think of the battle between the Betamax and VHS video tape formats.  That’s because videos are consumer products that just about everyone uses, and therefore the bloodshed in that standards war was not only shed in public view, but the some of the blood that was shed was shed by the public (i.e., those that bought video players supporting Betamax, the losing, but arguably superior, format).  Fast forward (pun intended) to the present, and the trademarks “HD DVD and “Blu-ray” may ring a bell - and that’s no coincidence.

So guess what? Here we go again, but with a bit of a twist this time: it’s not the video players behind the war this time - it’s the content owners. And grappling with DRM issues is a big part of it.

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