Children of the Sun > Rise of the Machines

The Death of DVD

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Well, okay, not quite.  But now that we've lived through the insane whirlwind of format changes, it's worth paying attention to these early rumblings of change:

--- Quote ---    Sales of Blu-Ray HD more than doubled in the first quarter, while digital downloads were up 19 percent, according to a report from the Digital Entertainment Group. Both formats are still a small piece of the overall pie—DVD sales were $2.9 billion in the quarter versus $230 million for Blu-Ray and $487 million for digital downloads. But Blu-Ray’s sales were up 400 percent last year, for a total of $750 million, and companies like Netflix and Blockbuster continue to make inroads against traditional DVD sales with digital delivery of home movies.

    DVD sales dropped 14 percent for the quarter.
--- End quote ---

Though I think we all could have guessed that... It's interesting to see the figures.

My armchair opinion is that none of it will matter in 10 or 15 years because I think flash memory will evolve to the point where any type of spinning disc or storage that requires moving mechanisms and motors will be obsolete.

I could be talking out of my ass though, I dunno.

I'm really far behind when it comes to technology.  You mean like flash drives?  Wouldn't that sort of go hand in hand with that growing download/streaming market?

Download/streaming is where most folks in the movie biz think things are heading.

The technological barrier becomes one of bandwidth. How do you deliver streaming HD content in a way that's fast and yet retains the quality that people with their increasingly high resolution TV screens will expect? If everybody is downloading HD movies, you're going to get huge traffic backup. (Think about how long it takes to download a movie.)

The other barrier is more one of social and economic theory. If I'm just streaming 1s and 0s, how do I "own" a copy of the movie? I'm expected to pay a fee to watch it, but is it unlimited? You're seeing a lot of this play out in the music industry, but no one has one industry standard of rules should download become the ONLY avenue for getting media content.

AND there's simple biology to deal with. The 1080i HD TVs everybody now owns is about the limit of resolution the human eye can process. I'm sure the technology exists to increase screen resolution, but the human eye isn't going to be able to process it. In essence, until we start beaming images directly to the cerebral cortex, as far as high definition resolution in concerned we've gone about as far as we can go.

All that's interesting theory to talk about if you're stoned, but not much use practically.

Eventually, I think you'll see some sort of internet/TV hybrid in which you order a movie which can then be stored on a (likely proprietary) hard drive. Personally, I'd like to see some sort of industry standard, but if the video and audio recording technology industry is any indication, everybody's shit will be proprietary so you have to buy a Paramount/Apple hard drive to watch a Paramount/Apple movie. (Kind of like PS3, Nintendo, Xbox, etc.)

Reginald McGraw:
I think we're going to see a phase out similar to what happened with:


movie theater->VCR->DVD->Blu-Ray/online

We're getting really close to that now.  There are just a few technical problems to solve.  Bandwidth is one, storage is another, but both issues are constantly improving.


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