Are audio format wars good or bad for audiophiles in the long run?

Are audio format wars good or bad for audiophiles in the long run?
Good, may the best format win
24% (58 votes)
Bad, creates confusion and waste
64% (151 votes)
No opinion
2% (4 votes)
10% (24 votes)
Total votes: 237

Are format wars, such as the battle between DVD-Audio and SACD, worth all the trouble? Some would argue that they let the consumer decide what is best, while others feel that these battles should have been fought in the boardroom and standards committee meetings. What do you think?

Vance C.'s picture

It's bad for everyone alike. Can't the 2 sides work it out amongst themselves and, together, they give the public ONE FORMAT?

Haim Ronen's picture

Never heard of a good war. A bit of competition never hurts, but a war creates losers and casualties that are stuck with obsolete hardware and software.

Drew's picture

like Beta and VHS, we all get stuck with music or tapes that we can't enjoy anymore

artie's picture

just makes me appreciate my vinyl more.

eaglebeak of Vallejo's picture

To hell with inter-corp format digital battles!! I will sit back and enjoy my vinyl albums and watch everyone else go crazy! I am not doing anything digital until the smoke clears!

Jon Strongman's picture

What kind of product would emerge if the great minds of DVD Audio and SACD got together? mmm.

yurko's picture

Unfortunately, we consumers pay not only for the winning standards but also for those that lose. All these battles between manufactures are financed from our pockets.

psjulian's picture

it was created to force un - wanted multi - channel systems upon us. just more gear to buy, more sales for the big guys.

Nimbus Storm's picture

Remember BetaMax? Much better then VHS but look at what we are stuck with. Vote with your dollars. Don't pay for DVD-A.

Stephen Curling's picture

Both. Although the innovation may be created by corporations, the battle begins in marketing which feels like an election campain @ times. But not all creations are good ones. The end user shold decide what they're going to pay not a company.

Mike Dicks's picture

They're great, if you pick the winning format. Otherwise you've just bought an often expensive boat anchor.'s picture

Sometimes a format war can result in the inferior format winning the battle, EXAMPLE: VHS verses BETAMAX. The 'Boardroom Committee thing' could be the answer, but then again its nice to have a choice.

Aris's picture

The industry just hurts itself -- paralysis through analysis. I'll just keep buying better DACs to enjoy my CDs.

Frank Davis's picture

The cheapest format will win as it always has, regardless of market. It's the nature of people to accept something less than the best to save a few bucks. To wit: Wal-Mart is the nation's largest grocery chain after a mere 4 years in competition. The old beta/VHS war should tell Sony something about the promise of their new SACD system.

Mike Vallely's picture

What ever format is best sounding should be the winner.But that does not always happen.

Greg Mitchell's picture

The consumer should have the option of one or the other, unless the battle is for 4 or 5 standards, which should be first fought in the boardrooms. There should always be some competition, at least at first, so that the best product for the consumer wins out (or 2 standards that serve both sides)

Rick C's picture

rushing the players to the store shelves with very little software is such a waste of the consumers time.

Po-Cheng Yang's picture

The winner should be determined in standard commitee meeting.

liu bing's picture
Tony R.  Harrison Sr.'s picture

I suppose it's a good thing, thereby allowing the consumer to vote via his or her pocket. But honestly, I couldn't care less and I have zero interest in this so called war or format battle. Analog still rules, in my opinion and I have absolutely no plans to purchase either of the two competing formats.

hans's picture

The problem is not the best formats wins see V2000, Beta and VHS

Geordy Duncan.'s picture

Let's get CD right first said Akira Taguchi in the August 1998 issue of Stereophile. He could not have been more correct. I think that, arguably, CD has surpassed vinyl in a lot of ways and has gotten so good in the past five years, we really don't need the new formats.If the new formats must exist, then let's bring them out when it makes sense. Think of it this way, DVD-A only exists because the DVD consortium figured they could lure the home theater crowd into DVD-A by piggybacking it on the heels of the already successful DVD-V. SACD exists because Sony said "Hey, we can't let the DVD people corner the market on audiophile recordings, let's get a competing format out there".As I've said before, it's not that the new formats can't succeed -- they can. But only with universal machines and tons of affordable software on both fronts will it happen. Will we see that? Doubtful. Where the hell was SACD ten years ago when we actually needed it? Writers and audiophiles alike complained endlessly about "perfect sound forever" but nobody listened. To bring out SACD and DVD-A now is absurd. Only after we have exhausted all efforts on the CD format will it be necessary for the new ones.It's like Sam Tellig said, "Pick up a copy of Miles Davis' KIND OF BLUE on the Columbia Legacy label (CK64935) and you'll see why I don't give a shit about the new formats". Well, I did buy a copy. I can now see (and hear) what Sam is talking about. Well said Sam.

Fred Darmstadt's picture

Allows time for the "watermarking" daemons, nefarious lawyers, and big business interests (who don't care about music, merely removing money from our collective purses) to muck up what should be pristine pure.

Mike Malinowski's picture

What is best for the average consumer might not be best for audiophiles. In a consumer-based format war the best product often does not win. Superior marketing does. When the war is over and a format selected, the results for the average consumer are generally good -

Steve's picture

The only problem is that the introduction proceeded the release so much, that probably most of us have lost interest.

Robin Banks's picture

Tell the average consumer about the story of SACD and DVD-Audio and see what happens. NOTHING! Their first reply is "What's wrong with CDs?" If the scenario was to tell the average consumer about ONE high resolution format that would make CD audio obsolete and was priced the same as the average CD, then folks would listen. To the industry: ONE FORMAT = LOTS OF MONEY!

robert holman's picture

remember vhs and beta ? Or "perfect sound forever?" The product with the best format as far as quality is concerned doesnt always win. In fact the product with the best marketing usually prevails.

Nuerotic Audiophile's picture

Come on. . . I mean, really. . . They are never going to improve on the warmth, presence and dynamics of really good vinyl on a top analogue system. Are they? Naaaaaa, didn't think so. :-)

Bob Hoshall's picture

My initial reaction is format wars are bad, until the secondary issues began to emerge. I so clearly remember Macrovision, which could never be detected. Simply going from a VCR into a monitor you could clearly see the image getting darker and lighter. No, they can claim what they will, but if, through watermarking, these companies try to throw a little toxic slug into the mix, I as a consumer can throw a little wrench in the works and choose a more suitable format. If this is going to plague the DVD-A format, we do have the power to carefully step back and say "NO."

Mike Miller's picture

Most will wait til what ever "wins" is out on the market for awhile and more "proven".I use Sony's mini-disc for a small walkman to have tunes on my motoecycles.Not actually great sound but small and affordable for the aplication.Years back I laughed at the mini-disc as a Hi-Fi medium,(definately no more hi-fi than a cassette)just smaller and trasportable.I won't buy dvd-a or sacd til the software(Recordings)become stable and more available as far as artist choices.