Digital downloads don't threaten optical media

Digital downloads don’t threaten optical media

In a strange turn of events, many bloggers are touting iTunes as the killer of Blu-ray Disc. It seems the majority of these people were HD DVD supports in December, and the rest are Steve Jobs. Why the sudden change in tune?

iMovie isn’t anything new, video-on-demand has been around for over a decade. Time Warner was boasting last year about how big their VOD business was and one executive even declared optical media dead. Funny, DVD actually did better than expected last year.

Why are comparisons even being made with Blu-ray Disc anyway? The iTunes movies are not high-def. Some are, but they’re only available to AppleTV Take 2 owners. VOD is in high-def with cable providers. AppleTV is also a rental service. People kept buying VHS and DVD even though Blockbuster was renting movies. Online rentals have been available for a couple years as well. People buy movies to collect them, you don’t collect movies on a hard drive.

Some people point to music to support their case. They saw CD is in a slump. This is true, but some argue that there isn’t music worth buying right now. The fact that music is essentially free online also hurts the music industry, something the movie industry is fighting with all their might.

But why are so many HD DVD fans dropping their support of high-quality movies in 1080p with lossless audio to now support poor-quality video downloads? The best-quality AppleTV only movies are 720p highly-compressed video files with low-bitrate Dolby Digital audio, and most aren’t even in surround sound. Were they not thouroughly impressed with HD DVD’s quality?

What do you think? Will video downloads replace physical media, or will it supplement it?

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

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3 Comments on “Digital downloads don't threaten optical media”

  1. I agree with you. I believe that for the next decade at least, there will be a demand for physical movie products; ie Blu-ray Disc.

    A physical, tangible product has many advantages over a “virtual” downloadable product. Packaging, collectability, portability, resale value, transferability/gifting to others, etc.

    Personally, I would much rather have a physical product instead of a download.

  2. “But why are so many HD DVD fans dropping their support of high-quality movies in 1080p with lossless audio?… Were they not thouroughly impressed with HD DVD’s quality?”

    Fuuny, you sound like you have a bit of HD-DVD bias here…

  3. Oh yeah, and book sales aren’t hampered because libraries exist – and even with digital books now.

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