February 20 2008

Toshiba Says “No Refunds” To HD DVD Early Adopters… Good

HD DVD LogoWhile it’s not clear if anyone has actually requested a refund for buying an HD DVD player yet, Toshiba is making sure every one knows it’s not going to happen. They also said there won’t be any “sweetners” because the equipment still has an “inherent value” in that it can play CDs, DVDs, and your HD DVD collection.

Even as an owner of an HD DVD player I have to say this is the right decision on the part of Toshiba. As I said back when I wrote about why Steve Jobs was wrong to give a refund in regards to the iPhone, if you are an early adopter of technology, you have to expect things like this to happen. I knew exactly what I was getting in to with buying the HD DVD player when I did, and I didn’t expect any hand holding as I took the leap.

Steve Jobs explained it best in his open letter to iPhone whiners customers about wanting a refund when the iPhone dropped in price:

Second, being in technology for 30+ years I can attest to the fact that the technology road is bumpy. There is always change and improvement, and there is always someone who bought a product before a particular cutoff date and misses the new price or the new operating system or the new whatever. This is life in the technology lane. If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy the new improved model, you’ll never buy any technology product because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon. The good news is that if you buy products from companies that support them well, like Apple tries to do, you will receive years of useful and satisfying service from them even as newer models are introduced.

It’s all part of the technology “game”. If you want to play the “game”, then you need to expect to lose once in awhile, it can’t be helped. Sure, it feels nice to “win”, as the Blu-ray adopters did, but it’s not going to happen every time, the law of averages simply says that if you are an early adopter, you will “lose” sometimes.

I think this speaks to the current technology environment, though. There are so many innovations happening in so many fields that it is becoming more common for people to be early adopters of something or the other that never have been before.

Somewhere along the line there is a disconnect happening, a sense of entitlement that doesn’t make sense to me.  When you buy a car, do you whine when the next model comes out?  Do you whine when there’s a price drop?  No, you expect it and you deal with it.  So why do consumers feel they are owed something, or are somehow slighted, when there are changes in gadgets?  It makes no sense to me.

In short, yes, HD DVD is dead, and there will not be any new discs coming out in the format, but you still have a very nice DVD player that will upscale your standard definition DVDs to near high definition quality.  You bought into it, you knew the risks, you deal with it.  And, again, I have no clue if anyone did actually ask for refunds, but I sure hope no one did.

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