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Are discs dead? - Wired article

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Mike D, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    Again, if all things were equal, I would concur. However, itunes cannot even begin to compare with a CD (and vinyl - with decent equipment - goes w/out saying), so all things are most certainly NOT equal. Given the choice between paying for and downloading a very poor quality facsimile, and driving to a B&M store and getting something much better... even if B&M was not available... Why would I buy something that sounded (or looked) like absolute crap on my equipment just because J6P is satisfied with it? I realize that J6P is, on the whole, much less descriminating (which was my original point), but the view that those who hold somewhat higher standards would buy online if that was all that was available, regardless of PQ, is not true.

    Besides, there are always choices... to buy or not to buy... Noboday is holding a gun to consumer's heads... If something sounds like crap, I will not buy it even if it is the only way it available (no, it is not better than nothing)...
     
  2. Sean Richardson

    Sean Richardson Stunt Coordinator

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    I love it when people claim that on-line distribution will automatically be able to distribute all the stuff that has "niche appeal" that wouldn't get released otherwise. (I assume that's what you mean by "selection", since otherwise I don't see how that would be an advantage over ordering a movie on-line, or going to a good store.) I laugh and laugh because I'm still waiting for Warren Zevon's "The Envoy", or several albums from the Harry Nilsson catalogue, or any other album which was not upgraded to CD.

    What's that? The studios don't want to pay the money to upgrade the masters to the point where they'd be downloadable? But-but-but, you said! Niche appeal, you said!

    Selection will not be a factor that destroys B&M stores. (If it were, Blockbuster would never have been the most popular place to rent movies from.)

    Also, Mike, you should read the responses people write to you, and even read the things you yourself write, because you're being self-contradictory and repeating things which have already been properly answered by other people. For instance, downloading 15 movies while you sleep ... as explained, that would be impossible for all sorts of reasons, unless you meant "comatose" instead of asleep.
     
  3. D. Scott MacDonald

    D. Scott MacDonald Supporting Actor

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    I always marvel at those that for some reason believe that bandwidth follows Moore's Law. We get so used to it in other areas of technology that some assume that it carries over to bandwidth as well. I had a neighbor telling me a few years ago how in a few years computers would have no hard drives because it would be easier to store everything on servers. Granted, things are getting better, but we are a real, real long way from that point and bandwidth in general is increasing much slower than most optimists believed.
     
  4. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Man this discussion has been going on & on & on around here for some time now in MANY different redundant threads....but....
     
  5. Jeff D Han

    Jeff D Han Supporting Actor

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    Good points, Kevin. Also, I agree with Marko's point
    about people like to spend time going through their
    local Best Buy, Circuit City, etc to browse and possibly
    buy something while browsing. I have a pretty large
    collection of DVDs, and some laserdiscs, and I am
    happy with the disc format. I am one of those who like
    to own a physical library, and plop the disc into the
    player without worrying about glitches, viruses, etc.
    Also I like having all the bells and whistles that are
    included with DVD. Will these extras be included with
    VOD/ pay-per-view? Maybe at a higher cost.

    Maybe disc and VOD can co-exist, but I don't think the public as a whole will let DVD die in favor of VOD/ pay-
    per-view.
     
  6. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    All this network talk reminds me of a favorite phrase of mine:

    Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon loaded with magnetic tape.

    The latency may be high, but the bandwidth is HUGE!
     
  7. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Rocket Science Department
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    I don't put much stock into articles like this. They seem more to just confuse and irritate the reader. My friend's dad refuses to buy into DVD and says he won't buy into HD-DVD either. He's waiting on movies to be released on memory sticks and is convinced by the articles he reads in tech magazines that it's going to happen within the next 3-5 years. [​IMG]
     
  8. Nick Pudar

    Nick Pudar Agent

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    Regarding the "all content always available on the network with no hard drives" concept. It reminds me of a conversation I had a few years back with Jay Forrester of MIT (he invented the original core memory used by computer). He described to me a project he worked on in the early days that used a similar concept to
    mercury tube memory devices. The plans were to build giant microwave towers in Chicago and Boston, and bounce back and forth data. All the data that was known to man. It would always be there, and could be added to as new information was developed. Jay said that they used a wide range of "growth of data factors", and found that this approach would not be constrained as far into the future as they could conceive. I'm not sure how they dealt this sustained power issues, but I'm sure it was clever. The beauty of this design was that the storage capacity was essentially infinite, and there was virtually no incremental cost as you stored more data. The distribution costs would always be falling over time. They abandoned this approach due to the enormous cost of doing it.

    What's my point? There will always be a human desire to "store everything", so I've got to believe that some day we will be buying some video content remotely. However, in the meantime, I've got to go to Best Buy to pick up a few more titles to add to my collection.

    Nick
     
  9. Jeff D Han

    Jeff D Han Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, Clinton, I agree that articles like these that
    try to warm up a crystal ball are eye candy, and can't
    really be taken seriously. Anybody can predict anything
    can happen. The public has to buy into this concept for
    it to have any legs, and at present DVD has the interest
    of the mass audience, and that won't change overnight.[​IMG]
     
  10. Mattias Stridsman

    Mattias Stridsman Stunt Coordinator

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    People born today may find downloading movies very natural 20 years from now. And I don't think they will have any trouble filling out their free time either. [​IMG]
     
  11. Steve K.H.

    Steve K.H. Supporting Actor

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    I'm sceptical of any radical changes in the short term but in the long term I am open to anything... until proven otherwise, I'll continue saying "Yep, it could happen".

    There are two sides to every equation. As an example: the author of this statement also forgot to mention that just 10 - 15 years ago, DOS OS's were still mainstream, Windows 3.1 was just being replaced by Windows 95, modems were 2200 bits per second, Hard Drives were around 40 - 60 MB, RAM was anywhere from 1 to 4 MB, etc and no one was looking at digital photos or music - you would have been laughed out of your BBS.

    If any of us can accurately predict the future we wouldn't be here. Just because it ain't available or hasn't been thought through yet, doesn't mean it won't happen.

    I predict we'll have all sorts of new ways to tune into our hobby. Disposable movie chips, OTA broadcast schemes coupled with a PDAish portable set top box, beam links to an OnStar type of device - perhaps available next to the till at the Gas Station, or huge storage devices that download 1000's of titles of your particular genre only to the point that they require a proprietary triggering mechanism, an electronic dongle if you will, to activate the title of interest.

    I'm certain anyone can dream up other sorts of weird ways to transmit films other than by means of disc storage. And it has to happen. We cannot continue running 1000's of titles on any one "media storage device flavour of the day" of the many that will be available, i.e. LDisk, Beta, VHS, DVD, UMD (Sony's proprietary PSP disc), HD-DVD, etc)
     
  12. Sean Aaron

    Sean Aaron Second Unit

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    Personally I find the notion of music downloads replacing CDs pretty comical as they come nowhere near to the sales of CDs. Why? Because they're too bloody expensive! Why the studios think people will pay the same price for a music download hobbled with DRM as they would for a CD is quite beyond me. I can see music downloads being a nice way to support hard-drive and flash mp3 player sales (a la Apple, who makes little if any revenue off of the downloads), but in its present form that's all it's going to be; the current model is not going to generate sufficient revenue to replace CDs. I figure you'd need to charge at least half what iTunes tracks currently go for to make this work and you'll need to offer more than one audio codec and dump DRM.

    Having said that, how the heck are downloads of movies going to replace the relatively inexpensive little platters people are used to picking up on a blind buy? Even if the technology was readily available, I cannot see a company having deep enough pockets to take the losses necessary to compete seriously with DVD, and even then I can only see downloads competing with rentals and not replacing purchases.

    LP - CD and VHS - DVD offered obvious tangible improvements, but changing the delivery method isn't going to do that as far as I can see. People already have the hardware. Unless hollywood is prepared to go cold turkey on DVD sales and all stop pressing them tomorrow in favour of tethered downloads, you're not going to successfully force a transition as you were able to with LPs. As long as they need the money and see it coming in they're not turning off the tap. If people stop buying DVDs and don't favour something else, then the issue is lack of interest in content; not media and then they have a much bigger problem...

    Sounds like someone at Wired really needed to get something in for deadline to me.
     
  13. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    I just think you need to consider the source: Wired.

    There's a certain myopic tendency by people within the computer spectrum to think everyone wants what they want: all of their world to stream to them from the humming box beneath their desk. It just ain't so. As folks in this thread have pointed out, there's something human about wanting to own objects we can put our grubby little paws on.

    That said, here in the HTF, we have a similar effect: since we strive for the best quality in our entertainment/art systems, we assume that makes a difference to the rest of society. That ain't so, either.

    The vast majority of people think MP3s sound just as good as CDs, that DivX movies look just as good as DVDs, and that they really are getting full spectral quality from the cute little Bose satellite speakers they've arranged around the room.

    While I don't think the disc is dead anytime soon, either (VOD is like nuclear fusion power: it's always On The Cusp Of Being Practical), we need to acknowledge that the vast majority of folks out there don't have a "cultured palate" when it comes to AV quality, and that includes the Wired editorship.

    I think most people would accept the download quality, and that studios could and would gradually phase the (higher-quality yet less-controllable!) discs out. But it will take ten years at the very least for them to make such a transition in business model and cultural change, and I am not too worried about this happening for this generation of video.

    I think a high-def disc is going to happen soon, and I think downloading, while a valid model that could work for most people, won't happen as the primary method of distribution until the mid-2010s.
     
  14. Mark Kalzer

    Mark Kalzer Second Unit

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    We also need to consider the huge economic impacts a discless society would cause.

    DVD sales have exploded like nothing before, and retailers are making huge profits off DVDs. Now Wired is forecasting a model that removes the retail store entirely. You don't think there will be pressure to prevent that from happening? Wal-Mart would certainly complain. What about your mom and pop stores? Many of them are vastly superior to the conglomerate owned stores.

    Blockbuster may switch over to VOD, but not every DVD retailer has the money or even capacity to sell it. This would rip away the entire business model for a lot of stores and businesses. There'd just be nothing to sell. Record stores in the past can convert to CD stores, but what about now?

    It's the economy stupid.
     
  15. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    Hmmm... I'm not sure that bears much weight with the studios, though. There was some mild talk here and there about kowtowing to Blockbuster and instituting "rental windows" with DVD, but when the studios realized how much cash they'd get by cutting out the middle-man, they pretty much gave Blockbuster the finger.

    Whatever else I think about the unlikelihood of VOD, I'm pretty sure the studios won't avoid it just to make sure the retailers are happy.
     
  16. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Yes they did, didn't they? And I was quite happy when they did. [​IMG]
     

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