Analog Angle Article

Why Blu-ray won

Pundits, especially those who specialize in retrospective brilliance (aka hindsight) are explaining why the Blu-ray video disk format won out over HD DVD after a bitter multiyear battle. Thousands of words have been written comparing specifications, costs, marketing plans and partners, and many other tangible and intangible factors, as part of the analysis.

I have my own very simple theory on why Blu-ray won out: it had a much better name. HD DVD is such an awkward mouthful of semi-meaningless letters (did we ever finally decide what “DVD” stood for?). But “”blue” and “ray” just roll off the tongue into the listener's mind; .it has such a nice flow to its sound, it is comprised of two easily recognizable sounds strung together, instead of five harsh syllables. The word “blue” is instantly recognized (even if the photonic reason for the word's use here is not understood) and the word “ray” has always been a winner: think “ray gun”. I can't find out with certainty who cam up with the Blu-ray name (I am sure many will now take credit) but it's a winner, absolutely

This is not the first time that a product with a better name has triumphed. Think back to those early days of the VCR and the Betamax versus VHS battle. I knew from the start that Betamax would lose out, as soon as I heard it. After all, who wants a product that proudly proclaims it is a “beta” version” of anything? No thanks.

Shakespeare wrote, “What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But he was never much of a high-tech marketer, although he did deal with mass markets. Our marketers have a tougher problem, trying to describe product to millions of prospects who aren't sure what it is or if they want it. Names do matter, despite what some say.

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