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What Is in a Name?

14 Aug, 2006 By: Stephanie Prange

Pioneer has opened a branded store in South Coast Plaza, a mall here in Orange County. The Blu-ray Disc logo is prominently displayed around the store, which sells software from various Blu-ray-supporting studios and home theater equipment from Pioneer. It's very similar to the Sony Style store, which is also in South Coast Plaza, as well as other locations.

What is remarkably different is the way the salesman at the Pioneer store conflated Blu-ray and DVD. A patron talking to him would think Blu-ray IS a DVD. In fact, the sign above the Blu-ray software display had the Blu-ray logo right next to the DVD logo.

One of the major stumbling blocks in the high-definition arena for Blu-ray Disc is its name. Supporters of rival HD DVD have said as much at various functions, pointing out that HD DVD has DVD right in the name and links itself through that name to a technology with which the consumer is already familiar.

The name problem is already cropping up with the consumer, as evidenced by the Pioneer store. Consumers are used to calling little shiny discs that play movies DVDs, and they are not likely to change on that front anytime soon. As far as the end result for the consumer, both Blu-ray and HD DVD are merely HD versions of DVD, and trying to convince them otherwise will be difficult.

Not so long ago, folks were talking about a high-def disc compromise between the two formats. The name of Toshiba's product, HD DVD, is perhaps its greatest asset. How much would Toshiba want for letting the Blu-ray Disc group take the HD DVD name?

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