Murdoch, Iger, Parsons: execs argue over high definition, disregarding the consumer

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The rhetoric surrounding Blu-ray and HD DVD has continued, with various media executives weighing in with their opinions of each other, and even the consumer.

Firstly, Rupert Murdoch commented on Paramount’s decision to exclusively support HD DVD, first declaring that only God knew why they had decided to “switch out”, but then adding that it was because they were offered $150m to choose HD DVD.

Richard Parsons, CEO of Time Warner, probably gives the best consumer-friendly answer, by saying that “The consumer doesn’t care about the format,” and that his company is simply interested in reaching customers.

Unfortunately, Disney’s CEO, Robert Iger, doesn’t seem quite as clued in on what most consumers currently think about high definition.

“We haven’t taken any money (to choose Blu-ray) because we think it’s far and away the best business. The public is going to want Blu-ray. The public can tell the difference.”

OK, so this would be the public that believes that simply buying a high definition TV gets you high definition content, or that plugging a standard DVD player into a high-def set somehow makes it “high definition”, and who don’t realise when they’re watching standard definition content on their HD telly?

I suggest that most consumers only care about content and simplicity, which is why the number of people owning high definition disc players of either format is minuscule, and why they simply continue to buy DVDs.

It’s the early adopters who spend time comparing HD DVD and Blu-ray’s differing specifications, title to title, and then discussing it in detail at online forums. They are not indicative of the “average consumer”, and neither are most studio executives, it seems.

This exchange of words does nothing to improve the high definition mess for the consumer. And it’s us that are supposed to matter, right?

(Via Afterdawn)

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Andy Merrett