Remember the format wars? Ars looks back at the heated battles between VHS and Betamax as well as HD DVD and Blu-ray, wondering if, now that the dust has settled, the end of the format wars is nigh. I have this love/hate relationship with format wars.
No, it's not reality television versus talk shows, or Top 40 radio against "the best of the '80s—and more!" The wars I'm thinking about pit technologies against one another, usually in a battle to the death of one or more of the contestants. It's One format to rule them all every time, and the streets are littered with the remains of the losers.
These wars are loathsome because we consumers have to pick a side or else lose out on something awesome, and then the ones who picked the wrong one have to pay up again for the winning technology. But format wars also keep the carousel of progress spinning and fan the flames of innovation. Join me for a brief look back at the format wars of yesteryear, and a look ahead at what will replace them....
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