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The Best Format for Media is the One You Can Use

December 7, 2007

A common photography aphorism is that the best camera is one that you actually have with you. In other world a digital SLR that is bulky to take out of the house on most occasions is not as good a pocket sized point and shoot that you get in the habit of taking with you everywhere.

A post of the Audiophiliac about DVD-A and SACD mad me realize that this is true of media when it comes to methods of playback generally. People have so many more locations in which they consume/enjoy both audio and video media (multiple rooms of the house, the car, while walking or running, etc.) that they want formats that will work everywhere. For audio this is MP3, although car audio lags in this area. For video, the closest thing to the least common denominator is DVD, although this arguably true of MPEG2 as well. For photos this is JPEG. A similar point is made by a commenter.

This explains the limited adoption of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray and the ubiquity of digital cameras where almost any home device can now display JPEG format photos.

I suspect that the ability to access personal media over the Internet will eventually become a necessary feature of successful formats as well. Not only do people want to enjoy their media everywhere, they don’t want the hassle of having to take it with them.

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