Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Downloadable Movies to spell the end of Disk media?

... [in response to a post contending that downloadable media will prevail before Blu-ray takes off] Considering how long it's taking to even get 100mps bandwidth in the USA to be standard, and how DRM issues are so 'quickly and smoothly' solved in this industry, I give BDs 10 years of glory at least. If I'm a homeowner, and given the choice between buying a BD player (1 time cost), or getting 1gbit internet access (monthly cost) in order to get my HDef movies, I think you underestimate the power of laziness. Disks will win, until bandwidth is a lot cheaper. There is also the problem with local distribution, who will distribute american movies in japan/Iraq/China? It better be some company locally because if you think downloading that linux distro over the WAN took a long time, wait until the internet backbone is cluttered with movies flying everwhere. Laying new cross continental lines aint cheap, and it ain't happening in less than 5 years. Who wants to pay for that much bandwidth? (I mean the extra bandwidth over the normal amount you need for regular net access) Probably the same people who order the FULL++ cable packages from Time Warner. The idea is good, it just has too many variables, each with their own problems when multiplied together makes it unlikely that the world will abandon portable media in the too near future. What is interesting though, is drawing comparisons to other mediums which have already weathered the "electronic" storm and survived. Books are still bought, and I prefer owning a physical book than the (arguably) failed attempt of MS, Mobi and others to sell ebooks for PDAs. I subscribe to online bike magazines to get the latest reviews and updates, but I still buy print magazines. Why? Because of the ability to browse the medium.. have it around the house to pickup and casually look through. Also, its physical presence gives you a sense of ownership. Movies are different for sure. you don't bring one into the john with you. but the ability to browse casually is still an important factor. If I have to boot up my media center just to browse my movie collection, then it's less likely to happen than if I had a shelf of DVDs. Besides, having a shelf full of anything impressive is an indication of your p3nis size, so if my collection is more visually impressive than yours, then haha, you better keep your wife away from me. These kind of intangibles are things that having a physical movie collection brings. Disks are also portable, so you can bring your movies to a friends to watch. Or lend them. Having to do the same will require some serious administrative infrastructure on online accounts that just doesn't exist yet. Rentals are different. You don't necessarily want to own the movie. You just want to watch it. This is perfect for the download medium. Porn is a great example of this. Incidentally, having an impressive collection of porn on your shelf is an exception to the p3nis size rule. When it finally happens, I see HDef downloads as being stripped down without all the directors cut, commentaries, extra languages, etc etc. No need to bloat up the download. Just the movie please. If I like the movie, I will go to the neighborhood movie store, and buy the BD version with all the extra goodies that ownership brings. Quite often people in the tech industry can get so hyped up with their own ingenuity/vision that they lose sight of reality. Would you settle with owning a d/l'ed version of the Lord of the Rings? Or giving a download coupon as a Xmas gift for your kids? Or would you want the one with the commemorative box, the authentic map of Middle Earth and replica One Ring? Music is once again different. Having a shelf full of music isn't as impressive as it used to be (unless they are old vinyls, in which case, you have a MONSTER kok.) Plus, music is bought to be arranged into playlists, and then played in the background while you have people(or person) over for a party(or parTAY). You don't want to be flubbing about changing CDs. This makes it perfectly suited to be stored in a little black box somewhere unseen. Disks will live. they will weather the storm, their presence will be diminished, but they will remain... just like how VHS is still around even after 10+ years of ceding to DVD. Until interfaces get more grandma friendly, transfer rates get faster to be able to move around this much data between mediums, and we get a new R/W mass storage medium that is more portable than a fat box that requires its own power source ( something like the isolinear chips of Trek ) the portable medium will still have a place. (some will be quick to point out that you could always store your collection on mass storage, and just burn movies onto disk if you wanted portablility. I propose that if you wanted to do that, most would rather just buy the BD movie on disk to begin with -- not to mention hollywood would NEVER allow that to happen. )

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