I've been researching this notion of Legacy Baggage and how it often unfortunately impairs the development of new technologies. 2 aspects of video production in particular are victims of this, namely - 2/3" sensors and 29.97/23.98 time code.
The size, 2/3", standard for broadcast camera sensors, lenses, etc. comes from the fact that prior to CCD technology, video cameras used a CRT pick up tube much like the one in your television. This pick up tube was 2/3" in diameter so the video lenses of the day were designed to work with this standard size. Due to the efforts of Sony, Ikegami, and others, eventually pick up tubes were phased out in favor of new CCD sensors. Given this opportunity to introduce a new broadcast video standard, the size of these new chips could have been anything but due to the existing equipment legacy, 2/3" was chosen so that all those thousands of video lenses out there could continue to work. It's the exact same situation with time code. Time code was originally a solid 30 fps. With the advent of color television back in the 1950's, the frame rate was slowed by 0.01% to become 29.97 which could accommodate analog color sync. Years later when 24 fps video production became a reality, the frame rate of 23.98 was introduced so that the new technology could fit into existing workflows. Now here we are again in the process of adopting a new 100% digital TV standard, where there are no analog related sync issues. HDTV broadcasts could quite easily utilize a solid frame rate and we would be done with 59.94/29.97/23.98 forever but instead, it was deemed easier and safer to make the new accommodate the old. Legacy Baggage.
Within reason, newer companies like RED and Vision Research have minimal existing equipment legacies to deal with so are therefore free to design with much less limitation. Take this new RED Digital Stills in Motion Camera idea. Unlike Canon, RED doesn't already have a pro video product line that would be rendered instantly obsolete with the introduction of this one product. (They do however have a certain 4k digital cinema camera that could be jeopardized, that is if they don't continue to support and develop it in its own right.)
No legacy baggage = technological innovation
These are just some quick thoughts. It plays in with my earlier post on stills/video convergence. Just wondering where all this technology is leading us.. I'd love to hear what other people have to say about it.