For those of you who’ve forgotten the boons of standardisation, remember when video tapes came in two formats, VHS and Betamax? Each time a cousin sent you a video tape from abroad, you crossed your fingers hoping it would work here. But it’s only this week that another breakthrough has been made in standardisation that should warm the cockles of every consumer’s heart.
In the battle of ‘next generation’ DVDs (better, crisper, spacier) Blu-ray technology as used by the likes of Sony have won against the forces of HD DVD used by the likes of Toshiba. Apart from the tech aspect of things, economics has played a nifty part in this battle, with Hollywood companies as well as US retailers opting for the Blu-ray format. Funnily enough, both the winning and losing side find their share prices upping with the destruction of multiple formats. It will take a bit longer for things here to settle down to Blu-ray, not to mention non-pirated films etc in the victorious format. But consumers, not to mention DVD manufacturers will smile.
Not so cutting edge and yet perhaps more influential is the other happy news from the Reserve Bank of India about customers from a bank being able to use ATMs of other banks free of fees from April 1, 2009. That takes care of us not having to walk distances to spot our elusive bank’s ATM. Now the last hurdle of standardisation remains: the silly business of flat-pin versus round-pin plugs that we have to deal with when we go abroad.