i believe downloads are dead as soon as isp's get all the caps in place. Also, hard drives fail, authentication servers die, companys go belly up. I can still play vhs tapes i own and the very first dvd i bought 10 years ago. How easy is it to use a piece of software from 10 years ago?Shane I agree with you about the desirability of physical media -- all you have to do is look at my DVD & CD collections
Now im not against downloads. I have tons of mp3's. 90% ripped from my cds, the rest from itunes and amazon. But i am definately in the camp of liking to own physical media. I think downloads are great for rentals though.
But I think you are totally wrong about ISPs (or any other force) killing downloads. First, IMO the current administration in DC will kill via regulation or arm twisting any serious attempt at imposing bandwidth caps. They are already concerned about how far behind US end user bandwidth is compared to many Asian and European countries. Second, if current ISP somehow manage to get their way Apple/Google have more than enough cash and ability to raise more money to buy/build a national ISP that will have no caps. Probably just threatening to do it will be enough to stop the current ones from playing games.
So, the bottom line is that downloads will be the most popular way for distributing (HD) movies/tv shows. The only question is when.