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Can you go digital only?


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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 20 2011 - 01:50 AM

Louis Gray has an interesting article this morning:

http://blog.louisgra...im-digital.html


I've been -almost- digital only for about 2 years now.


Books:  Kindle first then iBooks if I have to.  I won't buy anywhere else.

Magazines:  I don't buy magazines, e or dead wood, any more at all.

Music:  Amazon is my first choice, iTunes if I have to.  I'm tempted to steal a copy of the entire suite of ACDC albums I dont have converted from my CDs.  I will never buy another CD.  Any CD I acquire for free gets ripped and tossed in an album as backup, the case gets tossed.

PC Games:  If it's not on Steam I don't buy it.  If retail is cheaper than Steam I only buy retail if it has the Steam key.


Movies.  Kinda stumped here.  I prefer Blu of course, but I will stream anything that's not a blockbuster event type movie.  I love me some Netflix instant.


Xbox/PS3:  I'm willing to wait 6 months for these games to go from oil eating disks to PSN/Live for all but the absolute top of the charts must have on release date games.  I am dying for these guys to have digital copies day and date, maybe on the next generation.


Mobile devices:  Digital or no sale.  Really can't wait for NGP.


How about you guys?  Still ok with old media or trying hard to go digital only?



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#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Ted Todorov

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Posted April 20 2011 - 07:17 AM

CDs are digital -- you are really talking about physical vs. virtual media.


Books -- yes, I've stopped buying physical books.  iBooks, Kindle or DRM free ePubs (Pragmatic Software, O'Reilly etc.).  Biggest problem -- iPad's uselessness as a book reader under direct sunlight.  I'm not opposed to spending $130 on a Kindle, just that I hate the idea of buying something with a chicklet keyboard (and doesn't support ePub) -- I believe that the long term future is DRM free ePub.  For now my ~1000 volume dead tree library stays for sunshine reading.


Newspapers/magazines: NY Times/The Economist -- on the iPad.  My dead tree Economist subscription runs through the end of 2011 but it goes straight into the recycling.  Will switch to digital only.  Times I would be digital only, except that getting Weekend dead tree delivery is cheaper than subscribing digital only (dumb, dumb, dumb...)  Still haven't cancelled the New Yorker, waiting for a decent iPad app (the current Adobe atrocity is a non-starter).  I may give up and cancel anyway.  NY Review of Books I read mostly via Safari/Instapaper but still subscribe dead tree, just to support them.  Will cancel dead tree once I can subscribe on the iPad.


Music: 100% of listening via iTunes or iDevices -- stored in Apple Lossless in iTunes.  New Music -- mostly still buy CDs.  1) A lot of it comes directly from bands at shows -- so they get my cash directly that way.  2) iTunes is still selling AAC vs. Apple Lossless and CDs are often same price or cheaper at Amazon, etc.  I do buy some new popular music from iTunes if the price is better there and quality is not a big concern.

Movies:  Mostly Netflix DVD rentals. Buy some Blu-rays (Criterions, Mad Men/HBO seasons).  My DSL is too slow for streaming.  I have a huge existing DVD collection, about 10% of it imported to my HT Mac for easy access via Front Row/DVDPedia.


TV: never live.  Either via EyeTV recordings on the HT Mac or iTunes downloads . .  An extra bonus for media on the HT Mac -- I can watch any media not just on our HDTV but on the ACD in the bedroom or on a MacBook anywhere in the house, or  most formats on the iPad.







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#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 20 2011 - 08:43 AM

Debatable sir.  I get your point but to me the telling difference is not just the delivery mechanism but the fact that individual components (ie tracks) are not recognizable on their own as 'files'.  You can say the same about DVDs and Blurays.  They are all physical media that contain digitized analogue waveform data that must be recognized as a format where 'true' digital media exist on their own in easily managed holistic chunks.


For example, in the case of CDs

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Compact_Disc


The logical format of an audio CD (officially Compact Disc Digital Audio or CD-DA) is described in a document produced by the format's joint creators, Sony and Philips in 1980. The document is known colloquially as the "Red Book" after the color of its cover. The format is a two-channel 16-bit PCM encoding at a 44.1 kHz sampling rate per channel. Four-channel sound is an allowable option within the Red Book format, but has never been implemented. Monaural audio has no existing standard on a Red Book CD; mono-source material is usually presented as two identical channels on a 'stereo' track.


Is CD Audio natively Digital Data?  Undoubtedly.  And that data can be a grand mix of sounds some of which originated as analogue recordings (voice, guitar etc) and some of which were created in the digital domain and remained digital through the whole mastering process (synths).  But it is neither purchasable or playable as data outside of the physical media on to which it is etched.  Just like the limitations of paper books & magazines, and film based movies.


Perhaps that's just being pedantic.  Let's look at it another way.  Can the contents of a typical CD Audio or DVD be taken to another delivery device without some form of transcription?  The answer to that is no, even when no copy protections exist, per your Apple lossless example.


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#4 of 13 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted April 20 2011 - 09:24 AM



Originally Posted by Sam Posten 

I've been -almost- [downloadable] only for about 2 years now.

Fixed that for you Posted Image



I've been digital in various ways between two years and 30 years :) Home movies have been digital since DVD. Music, since the CD. I've been "digital" with my video games since the start  ;) TV, I went digital in 2009 when I bought an HDTV and went OTA HD. Books, I still read dead-tree.


Downloadable, not so much. I prefer physical media. It's usually cheaper and more durable still. If I want an entire album, the CD is usually superior (cheaper, better quality, free backup); but for singles or impulse buys, Amazon MP3 typically. I might go eBooks late this year or next. Video games...it's cheaper to buy packaged games from Amazon than to download through Xbox Marketplace; almost doubly so if I account for eBay sales of the game when I'm done with it.


For computer apps, it's pretty much all download now: iOS, of course. Future Mac apps will be AppStore, probably. All my third-party utilities have been download; even bigger aps like Parallels are downloaded now. I don't see Adobe Creative Suite or Windows being downloadable for while, though.

And magazines...I've not played in a few months, but last I looked, the digital/downloadable formats were inferior in both cost and readability to delivered-to-my-mailbox version. But even if I could switch...for the occasional business trip, what do you do during the 30 minutes of takeoff and 30 minutes of landing when electronics are prohibited? I can't go all digital, nor downloadable for air travel.



#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Ted Todorov

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Posted April 20 2011 - 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam Posten 

Debatable sir.  I get your point but to me the telling difference is not just the delivery mechanism but the fact that individual components (ie tracks) are not recognizable on their own as 'files'.  You can say the same about DVDs and Blurays.  They are all physical media that contain digitized analogue waveform data that must be recognized as a format where 'true' digital media exist on their own in easily managed holistic chunks.


For example, in the case of CDs

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Compact_Disc



Is CD Audio natively Digital Data?  Undoubtedly.  And that data can be a grand mix of sounds some of which originated as analogue recordings (voice, guitar etc) and some of which were created in the digital domain and remained digital through the whole mastering process (synths).  But it is neither purchasable or playable as data outside of the physical media on to which it is etched.  Just like the limitations of paper books & magazines, and film based movies.


Perhaps that's just being pedantic.  Let's look at it another way.  Can the contents of a typical CD Audio or DVD be taken to another delivery device without some form of transcription?  The answer to that is no, even when no copy protections exist, per your Apple lossless example.

The stuff you say about CDs is simply wrong -- you can copy an individual track off a CD via the Finder and play it on its own is you wish.  The native format is AIFF, which iTunes fully supports.


DVD is a little more complicated, aside from DRM there are menus and other non-linear video extras that complicate the structure, but again, assuming no DRM, you can copy individual .VOB files and play them via VLC for instance.  Calling CDs or DVDs non-digital is a mistake, no matter how pedantic you get.

And PS, modern recordings are not analog at any point other than the sound waves on the way to the microphone or mixer -- they get recorded directly onto digital on Macs running Pro Tools or Logic.  The number of recording artists who still use analog tape is vanishingly small.



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#6 of 13 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted April 20 2011 - 11:19 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Posten 

They are all physical media that contain digitized analogue waveform data [...]

That's the very definition of "digital".



 

Debatable sir.  I get your point but to me the telling difference is not just the delivery mechanism but the fact that individual components (ie tracks) are not recognizable on their own as 'files'.  [...] 'true' digital media exist on their own in easily managed holistic chunks.

 

Being digital has nothing to do with how it appears in the Finder or if it's a known format by Windows XP.



#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 21 2011 - 01:15 AM

Originally Posted by DaveF 

I don't see Adobe Creative Suite or Windows being downloadable for while, though.


Um, dude?  I bought both of those in download format three years ago.  Adobe's student licensing makes it even more attractive to do so.
http://www.adobe.com...html#trial-info

http://www.microsoft...m=cpc&WT.srch=1



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#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 21 2011 - 01:34 AM

Originally Posted by Ted Todorov 

Quote:

The stuff you say about CDs is simply wrong -- you can copy an individual track off a CD via the Finder and play it on its own is you wish.  The native format is AIFF, which iTunes fully supports.


DVD is a little more complicated, aside from DRM there are menus and other non-linear video extras that complicate the structure, but again, assuming no DRM, you can copy individual .VOB files and play them via VLC for instance.  Calling CDs or DVDs non-digital is a mistake, no matter how pedantic you get.

And PS, modern recordings are not analog at any point other than the sound waves on the way to the microphone or mixer -- they get recorded directly onto digital on Macs running Pro Tools or Logic.  The number of recording artists who still use analog tape is vanishingly small.

Huh, interesting.  Will have to try that with the CDs.  Thanks for correcting me!

I knew you could play individual unprotected vob files through VLC of course but this seems like a very special case.  The number of those floating around compared to factory manufactured and copy protected films  is, as you say, vanishingly small.  Most people interested in taking that data off the physical media will have 'ripped' and re-compressed in more consumer friendly formats...


I wasn't talking about tape at all but the analog mic recordings you bring up.


Again, I concede the point, yes media is independent of format.  These disks are unique in that they contain digital data whereas books, magazines and film do not (exception:  the digital audio track embedded on many movies).  That doesn't make them any less likely to go the way of the dodo in the very near future for all but very large chunks of that data (ie, blockbuster bluray movies).


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#9 of 13 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted April 21 2011 - 03:27 AM



Originally Posted by Sam Posten 


These disks are unique in that they contain digital data whereas books, magazines and film do not (exception:  the digital audio track embedded on many movies).  That doesn't make them any less likely to go the way of the dodo in the very near future for all but very large chunks of that data (ie, blockbuster bluray movies).

No one's saying otherwise, because we're talking about whether we're moving from buying and owning physical media to downloaded content (and not about "digital" per se, which we all we've moved to years, even decades, ago for everything except perhaps books. :)



Originally Posted by Sam Posten 


Um, dude?  I bought both of those in download format three years ago.  Adobe's student licensing makes it even more attractive to do so.
http://www.adobe.com...html#trial-info

http://www.microsoft...m=cpc&WT.srch=1



Interesting. Ah well, we're not students (when my wife last priced, it was cheaper to buy the physical copy than download). And it's often still more expensive to buy bits by download ($149 Win 7 Family @ MS) than bits by mail ($119 Win 7 Family @ NewEgg). See also Intuit: cheaper to buy packaged Quicken, shipped free from Amazon, than to buy the "e" version.


If the downloaded version is cheaper and/or more convenient, as was Parallels, I'll do that.



#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted April 21 2011 - 03:28 AM

Yes I'm trying. Books I have a Sony Reader so that does epub format so I buy from a multitude of Places, magazines I have a digital sub to a few on the Ipad. Music I Download from the Zune Marketplace. Movies, well I still buy some but I've slacked back on alot of Purchases, the ones I do buy DVD or Blu get ripped to a Plex Server I've set up. I still buy quite a few TV series, they mostly get ripped to the Server and then the disks put away.


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#11 of 13 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted April 21 2011 - 03:43 AM

On the matter of eBooks: I've got a number of (physical) books to read from last Christmas, but I think I'm going to get them done this year! With that, I'm considering the switch to eBooks for future reading.


I admit, I still enjoy actual books. Each one has a different feel, weight, font, layout, etc. Is that all lost when you go to an eBook? Do the books lose their personality? What about history books that have photographs in the middle? How does that transfer to eBooks? (My impression is that eInk like the Kindle does text well but is garbage for images.)


I like to borrow and lend books with family and friends. Do I give that up with eBooks?


I find the convenience and possible cost savings appealing. But I still like the actual artifact of a book. I enjoy the books shelves filling my "library". It seems a hard thing to give up.



#12 of 13 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 21 2011 - 06:54 AM

I gave away over 300 books when I boxed up my house to move.  It hurt but it was the right thing for me to do at the time.  I kept only those that were personalized as gifts.




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#13 of 13 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted April 21 2011 - 07:28 AM

Ugh. We're decluttering, and it was hard enough to extract about 20 books to eliminate :)