Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Future of the CD and DVD

As digital distribution explodes and revenues increase from digital downloads and cd and dvd sales drop, the question remains, what happens to the physical disc - the cd and the dvd. The rise of HD players and Wii games all require a disc to hold the content. So how many years before the disc, like the audio record and laser disc before it, is no more?

The human spirit seems to be about collections, a visible reminder of the things that we acquire. We collected albums, cds, and dvds to showcase and love to go through our library and "pick out" something we want to hear or watch. So will we completely get away from these material holders of content and rely only on the virtual library on our laptop. Will we need to transfer these digital downloads to external hard drives to save our copies or will we rely on a centralized server that we access our stuff whenever or wherever we are.

We have always had something physical in our hand to play until Apple's iTunes made it not just okay, but preferable to shun the disc for the download. The slippery slope says that the dvd will go down the same path. Does something replace it? Is the flash drive the next device to use to transfer from pc to game boy? Changes in media continue to shake up the revenue model. I'm waiting for the day that every home has a centralized server with back up drives. And digital rights on each piece of content to limit its unauthorized sharing. And others trying to break the lock. with VOD and streaming, the days of dvds and cds are declining rapidly. Will the Wii and the new HD dvd players keep them alive longer? How many years from now will they be gone? It's only a matter of time.