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Tuesday, 18 July 2006 15:21

High definition video debate arouses passions

I used to think that there was no one more passionate about their high-tech toys than Apple Mac users or Linux geeks. I may be wrong. Judging from the number of irate emails I received in response to an article concerning Blu-ray and HD DVD, I would say video player buffs get the gong for being the most frenzied lot right now.

Many of the emails I received were from angry readers in response to an error I made in the article. I incorrectly attributed quotes to the wrong source. I have since corrected the error and made the necessary retraction and apologies.

However, it is not so much readers pointing out my error that I found interesting. There are always readers who will hold journalists accountable for everything from a minor typo to – well – wrongly attributing a source of information.

What is interesting is the passion that readers feel for or against a particular technology.

Take this: “Obviously, some fellow BluRry "fanboy" sent him the article claiming it was written by Microsoft, and Mr Beer did not even check the facts before rushing to pen his story. VERY sad, VERY sad. Perhaps if Mr. Beer were to read all the reviews and user comment online, he would realize HOW BAD the bluray releases REALLY ARE in comparison to HD DVD.  And it's NOT Microsoft that says so - it's all OF US buyers and users, as well as the best reviewers around!! Shame on you Mr Beer, and SHAME on ITWIRE for not retracting this story immediately!”

Now there’s an HD DVD fan! One would think that this was a fan talking about a favorite football team rather than a technology.

What about this: “I have NO IDEA how Stan could have gotten this SO WRONG, but the article he has written displays a huge amount of bias and is completely incorrect.”

Notice the select use of capitals to emphasize points – same as the previous writer. Gosh, the writer above even claims to have reported me to Microsoft!

And of course this:  “You seem to have taken a stance against HD-DVD simply because it is supported by Microsoft, you should do more research before writing this FUD.”

What do the above three emails all have in common?  Well it would seem to me from their content that the authors are uniformly BIASED toward HD DVD.

As for me, I can say unequivocally that I am NOT biased toward one technology or the other. Why would I be? I don’t have a stake in being chummy with either camp. In fact, at the beginning of my article, I actually defended Toshiba against claims that it was selling its HD DVD players at a loss.

As I say at the end of my article (and these are purely my words folks): “…the best thing for consumers to do is give both highly over priced technologies a wide berth until there is an excuse to buy a high definition player.” That’s my unbiased opinion.

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Stan Beer

Stan Beer assists with Digital Advertising installation and monitoring of advert performance. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications. Any previous news story submissions should be director to and advertising enquires to

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