Sep 7, 2015

The Format Wars

Those of us over a “certain age” have seen format wars come and go: VHS vs. Betamax; 8-track vs. cassette; Apple Mac vs. IBM DOS; Blue-Ray vs. High-Definition video. Each of these technologies served the consumer in a similar way. Each format required compatible hardware in order to make its “software” work; Betamax tapes couldn’t be played on a VHS player, and vice-versa. Eventually, in each case, one format won out over the other, leaving some consumers with obsolete technology and eBay sellers with another collectible to hawk.

The above format wars pale in comparison to the first media format war, the grand-daddy of all format wars: the contest between disc and cylinder recordings. As with other competing formats, product compatibility was required in order for a format to operate. The first format war foreshadowed those to come, and the story is instructive to both collectors and technology buffs. >>>Read More

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