Physical media as we know it today (DVD’s, Blu-Ray and dare I say it, tapes) will all be long gone in the very foreseeable, near future. Digital media delivery systems like Netflix and tablet PC’s (iPad and Blackberry’s soon to be released, Playbook) have just killed the need for physical formats. It was only a matter of time. I read an article a couple of years ago that discussed this very topic, but the author was still hopeful for HD DVD’s winning out over Blu-Ray. Even with Sony’s triumph with the Blu-Ray media, the victory will, unfortunately, be short-lived. Why buy physical discs anymore? Eventually every movie and TV show ever produced will be available via Netflix (and/or a similar service not quite invented, but surely on the horizon). Anyone with an internet connection, a Wii, PS3 or Xbox and a $9/month subscription to Netflix already has access (almost instantly) to just about anything their heart desires.
In our video production world, we rarely have clients asking for DVD duplication anymore. Web video (in case you hadn’t heard) consumes nearly 50% of visitors’ time while browsing the net. Perhaps that statistic is slightly skewed due to a particular genre of video widely available on the web, but regardless, it just goes to show, people are craving and consuming mass amounts of digital video via the interwebs. It’s instant gratification. Web video plays directly into the hands of those of us that grew up always needing to be stimulated.
One issue that digital media brings with it is storage. Those classy, faux oak media library shelves from K-Mart just aren’t going to do the trick anymore. Take this for example. A feature length film in hi-res HD saved as an .mp4 or H.264 file can be upwards of 1-2 gigs. Imagine loading every episode of Days of Our Lives to your home computer hard drive. Now your drive is full of E.J. and Sammy on again, off again romances and you haven’t saved room for the extended cut of Titanic. Gonna need another 2TB internal SATA drive to hold the rest of your movie, music and photo library.
It’s sad to say, but needs saying…DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are slipping into the same dusty, dark archival resting grounds that CDs, cassettes and VHS tapes have been wasting away in for years. But hey, who knows…vinyl is making a comeback. Maybe someday 40 years from now I’ll begin to tire of my virtual reality film library implants and wish we still had tasks that require some sort of manual labor to operate. When that day comes, I’ll invite you all over to relish in the beauty and splendor of The Big Lebowski played from a Standard Def DVD.