Monday, January 5, 2009

Blu-Ray Struggles With Uncertain Prospects

The Consumer Electronics Show is here for another year with glimpses of future technology promises. And in the world of DVD players, Blu-Ray came out the winner over HD DVD, but will it be a long lasting victory or a mere blip in an ever changing entertainment landscape. Is the pace of change so fast that streaming media will replace Blu-Ray even before it gets to enjoy its victory?

As a pack rat, I have a habit of collecting and holding on to things. But recently, I have come to realize that I can download music and "own" it without buying the CD. I very rarely buy one, with the last one being as a gift for my daughter. As I get into this habit of downloading, I can see myself moving in that direction with DVDs. As a family, we tend to check out first what is on VOD before going into our DVD selection. As the internet opens up to potentially a larger selection, how we search for movies and what content is "recommended" to us, has appeal. At the same time, should I decide to buy it, I want the ability to download the best quality movie to burn on my own DVD. And as flash drives become more commonplace to capture this content and share it on other devices - a portable dvd player, PC, cellphone, or my car's dvd system, I will prefer the advantage of the flash drive's smaller size to that of the DVD. That, in addition to being less likely to be scratched or damaged with repeated play, appeals to me.

"One reason is that discs of all kinds may become obsolete as a new wave of digital media services starts to flow into the living room. On Monday, for example, the Korean television maker LG Electronics plans to announce a new line of high-definition televisions that connect directly to the Internet with no set-top box required. The televisions will be able to play movies and television shows from online video-on-demand services, including Netflix." While it sounds great that LG is coming up with TVs that connect directly to the web, it is more important that this feature also allows for download as well. Until then, other devices like Blu-ray DVDs, XBox, PS3, Roku and others may have the leg up, especially if they allow me to save and share my purchases.

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