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Friday
Aug052016

Podcast #751: The History of Format Wars

There are seven top smart home trends for 2016, but they're more fun when you combine them. Maybe. And would it be possible for Apple to start a home audio revolution, just by making one small change to the iPhone? It might be possible, but we'd need to take a look major format wars through the years and analyze Sony's sneaky involvement in each. The two may be unrelated, but we can tackle them both in the same episode.

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The History of Format Wars

There are seven top smart home trends for 2016, but they're more fun when you combine them. Maybe. And would it be possible for Apple to start a home audio revolution, just by making one small change to the iPhone? It might be possible, but we'd need to take a look major format wars through the years and analyze Sony's sneaky involvement in each. The two may be unrelated, but we can tackle them both in the same episode.

Stephen Clark wrote a great article a Paste Magazine called The History of Format Wars and How Sony Finally Won... For Now. In it he walks us through multiple format wars, chronicaling the two sides, deciding on a winner and looking at Sony's role in the whole thing. The walk though history allowed Ara and Braden to meander down memory lane a bit as well.  Here are some excepts from the excellent article:

"Media format wars are about as old as recorded sound. The latter half of the 19th century saw the invention of the microphone, and shortly after that came inventions to record the signals generated from sound; Thomas Edison with the wax cylinder and Emile Berliner with his discs. This all took place decades before Sony appeared. Still, to understand why Sony struggled to win the format wars to come, we must first see understand why an innovation giant like Thomas Edison failed."

"When you mention “Format War”, most will remember the battle between Sony’s Betamax videotapes and JVC’s VHS. Like the audio battle mentioned above, both sides of this war had aggressive marketing campaigns. While both technologies had their pros and cons, the fight over which format was “better” expanded beyond their creators and came down to the device owners."

"Following four decades of failures and not-quite-successes, Sony finally dominated a format war. Once again they had a technically superior format, but that’s not what won them the day. They employed cutthroat exclusive content deals like Edison, but that didn’t work either. In the end it came down to cost."

Download Episode #751

Reader Comments (12)

I hate to say this, but I cannot direct-download the file nor get the podcast download from iTunes. Might want to check the settings for the file you uploaded.

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSacto1654

I also am having problems downloading from itunes!

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Rau

Sorry for the download issues. They should be fixed now.

Thanks,
Ara

August 5, 2016 | Registered CommenterHT Guys

Im having download issues on my android. And starting to go through withdrawl! Haha!

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

I concur, there appears to be a problem with this episode. I am trying to download it via Downcast on my iPhone and it repeatedly get's an error.

First time I can ever remember this happening.

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I was still unable to receive the episode via my app (Downcast) as of 8/5/16 ~3:15PM ET via its normal/schedule sync process. Not sure if it will help, but the Downcast app error message states, "File not found, please contact the publisher. URL: http://traffic.libsyn.com/hdtvpodcast/HDTV-2016-08-05.mp3"

FWIW, I was able to retrieve the episode manually using the direct URL (http://traffic.libsyn.com/hdtvpodcast/HDTV-2016-08-04.mp3), In Downcast, do More | Tools | Import Media Files | URL.

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBret

Bret,

Having exact same error message. Happens every few minutes (what ever refresh time is). Thanks for the info on the "more/tools" method. That seemed to work. I notice that the tow URLs have different dates. That must have been the issue.

Thanks for the help. Have to have my Ara and Braden fix ;-)

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Still broken here.
This issue was NOT fixed.

August 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPHugger

I have one comment about removing the headphone jack from future smart phones. The key point to me revolves around digital to analog conversion. I trust the quality of the DAC in a $500-$800 iPhone much more than I do in any headphone or accessory. A prime example is the Apple genuine Lightning to 30-pin adapter. Most 3rd party adapters don't even pass analog audio, they just pass through the USB, so the Apple one is just about the only choice. I had installed an iPod interface in one of my cars that used the analog pins on the 30-pin iPod/iPhone to go into the disc changer input on my factory stereo. This was a high quality direct connection into the factory premium audio system and it sounded good with my iPod Classic (120GB HDD) and later, my iPhone 4. When using my iPhone 6 with Lightning connector and the Apple adapter, it sounded like crap. Literally intolerably bad for music. I pulled my iPod classic out of the drawer and kept it in that car just so I would have an analog capable device to listen to my music library. Apple may charge $35 for that adapter, but the DAC was still crap.

August 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMike I.

To Mike I. : the iphone is known, in audiophile circles, to have pretty bad audio DACs. The $800 you pay for an iphone is mostly profit for them, not at all an investment in cutting edge audio quality.

I'm pretty sure Apple also won't give a crap about releasing headphones with DACs. They'll probably either push bluetooth headphones or some "proprietary" variation of bluetooth that will be overpriced, like most of their products.

August 16, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjaydee

Guys: I love the podcast. I feel like I'm listening to friends, sitting on the backseat, talking about the geeky stuff we all love.

But maybe, just maybe, you should start doing a little bit more research and fact-checking when you write your topics.

Getting technical terms right doesn't seem to be a big priority, for example.

HDR10 is the name of that other HDR format. Not "HD10" or "HR10".

A few months ago, Ara called (in the same "topic") UHD Blu-ray "Ultra Blu-ray" and "Ultra 4K Blu-ray" or whatever "wrong" variation on the name. In fact, if I recall, he never called it the same thing twice.

What else...

The Blu-ray vs HD DVD ended at CES 2008 when Warner, believed to be joining the Toshiba HD DVD camp, decided instead to go with Sony and Blu-ray.

A simple thing to fact check before starting to "live speculate" while recording the podcast.

When in doubt: press "pause" on whatever buggy/glitchy software you're using to record and use Google.

That way, the "correction" emails and comments will diminish and maybe you'll get more contributors.

At the very least, I'll roll my eyes fewer times !

I may be harsh, but the more I listen, the more I feel like your "winging it".

August 16, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjaydee

Comment about Jaydee's post. I also am a stickler for detail and using the correct nomenclature. It can change the meaning or infer the inappropriate context for things. In my business it is very important, however, I don't expect Ara and Braden to invest dozens of hours in vetting every term and every topic. I understand the nature of the podcast and very much appreciate their volunteered time and effort. I have learned over the years to listen with a critical ear and take what is said in the context it's meant. We will not all always agree but let's keep it fun and enjoyable for all, especially the guys that are donating all the effort.

September 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMule

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