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?