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February 2017 Retro Gaming Article


February 13, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

4K Ultra HD: Did we learn nothing from DIVX and the Blu-ray versus HD DVD formats?

4K Ultra HD DVDs
I never bothered buying a Blu-ray player; my PS3 plays the format and I rarely buy Blu-ray. DVD is fine. Now there's 4k Ultra HD.
I still own Fast Times At Ridgemont High on a Betamax tape and Laserdisc. I'm done with "new" video formats. OK, that's probably not true, but do they really have to introduce a new format just for this whole 4K thing?

I remember when Circuit City and a group of investors tried to create the pay-per-view DVD format called DIVX in 1998. The idea of a proprietary DVD player that needed a phone line to verify if it would play my DVD seemed idiotic. I recall my local Circuit City pushing the format and having separate sections for this new format. Having already gone from Betamax to VHS and then to Laserdisc, DIVX didn't stand a chance with me. Forget it.

After going from Beta to VHS to Laserdisc to DVD... forget 4K Ultra HD!
I'm not sure I see enough improvement over Blu-ray to warrant a new format and player. For music, the CD format had endured. I'm surprised they never released a higher-capacity disc standard, but it's been a constant that is shifting to a digital replacement rather than another physical medium. Still, video seems to want consumers to replace their movie collections every decade. I'm thinking a lot of people will go digital for video as well and all the physical formats will vanish.

Personally, I like owning my entertainment media from games and music to movies. There are too many control issues that can arise from having everything in the "cloud". I want to be able to touch and hold what I own or the price has to drop significantly - which it won't. Why can't I just own stuff? "The cloud" strikes me as an odd rental agreement where I'm supposed to think I own something. If it's not in my hand, it's not ownership!

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