Blu-ray and HD DVD: We hardly knew thee
Let's start off the week with an article on Slate about why both Blu-ray and HD DVD are already dead: Downloads, hard drives, and the cost of equipment make up a few reasons why some are saying next-gen DVD is already done before it's even gone mainstream. We're not so sure though, and here are some counterpoints to the article:
  • The Internet: Alright, so you can already download movies and HD content online. But it takes forever (think 30 to 50 gigs, or more layers aplenty), and is usually bundled with more annoying DRM than AACS provides. Want to move it between devices? Sorry. Want to play it eight, or ten, or 100 days after you bought it? Perhaps not.
  • On Demand: The studios would love it if everything you consumed was on-demand. Then you'd never own anything, and they could control when and where you watch it. Oh, but what about in your car on a road trip, or on the train in your video player? And there are plenty of consumers -- count us in on that! -- who like owning physical media, being able to look at album art and boxes and liner notes. Even if distribution is figured out, there's something about having a physical copy of your content that's reassuring.
  • Equipment: We can see the argument against buying yet another piece of hardware that may or may not work out of the box, or have firmware issues, or upscale your standard-def media well, but with existing DVD players at less than $50, and next-gen players sure to hit that mark eventually, it's not exactly preventing anyone from buying in the long run. Media should similarly drop as time goes by, with Blu-ray and HD DVD discs selling for minor margins above standard DVDs. Finally, people are paying thousands for PS3s and Wiis these days, why not pay $199 for an HD DVD add-on for the Xbox 360?
  • Hard Drives: Sure, hard drives are cheap and hold a lot of data, but with dual-layer discs holding 30 to 50 gigs, and up to 100 or more planned, they aren't exactly slacking. Also, discs are more portable, and more resistant to drops and shocks.
So, what does everyone else think? Is the next-gen media done before its time? Or is it ahead of its time? Will media stick around for a while longer, or are you ready for the on-demand, downloadable-only future?

[ Via Slashdot ]