Let’s Kiss HD DVDs Goodbye

3 09 2007

An article on today’s Reuters wire, titled “Division over next-generation DVDs deepening“, gives an overview of the present split between the HD-DVD format (of which Paramount/Dreamworks has recently signed with) and Blu-Ray (which has Sony as both a technology provider and a content developer, and Disney as a supporter). The headline says it all — the split between the camps is approaching VHS/Betamax proportions, with competing players out there that will allow the consumer confusion to continue this holiday buying season.

For me, the joke in all of this is that the VHS/Beta war analogy is off target because there is another format out there that is going to clean both Blu-ray and HD-DVD’s clock.  It’s digital downloads, and it’s going to be ready for prime time way before this HD disk war is even finished.  Or, to put it another way, it will finish the war.

No doubt, it will be necessary to have some sort of storage format so people can transfer movies from one machine to another — whether it’s at a sleepover at a friend’s house, or to move between rooms in a house.  But, with the introduction of Apple’s Apple-TV, a future path is quite clear. DVDs, if they exist in the future, will be seen as movable storage, not as film content, per se.  It won’t matter whether you download a film (probably from a studio or a “theater-type-service” – the big distributors aren’t going to go away, unless they screw up big time). It will either go on your central home video server, or onto a shared storage facility “in the sky” (think Google Docs).  Whether it’s on your machine or in the cloud, you’ll be able to move it around, depending on how much DRM the studios can get. You’ll use plastic disks, thumb drives or whatever comes next (flash memory) to move it, but those things will just be storage devices, much like a box or a container for food, to transport it in.  You’ll probably never hear the phrase “Let’s go out and get a DVD” said again, except by old farts like me or you (if you’re over the age of 13).

Of course, it is in the movie studios (translation — the conglomerates that own the studios) best interest to keep coming up with new distribution formats, so that they can keep selling you copies of BACK TO THE FUTURE and CITIZEN KANE forever and ever.  But that aspect of their greed, seems to have succumbed to the pissing match that is the HD format wars.

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One response

4 09 2007
The last hardware format « Editing organazized

[…] The last hardware format Norman Hollyn thinks that the war is over. […]

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