Monday, February 25, 2008

Digital downloads will not take over disks, yet

I was taken aback by CNET's declaration that Blu-ray will just be a stop gap before digital downloading takes over the movie delivery throne.

Digital downloading of movies will eventually become the norm. However, I believe it will be much further in the future than what those at CNET think.

Maybe I'm different, but I would rather keep my movies on a DVD (or Blu-ray DVD etc). Watching a movie on my computer is much less entertaining than popping a DVD in a player hooked to my television. Also, getting a media center computer to hook into a television seems like an unnecessary expense to me.

CNET's article fails to consider that many people don't have enough bandwidth to make movie downloading practical. I live less than 15 minutes away from a major metropolitan area, but there is no such thing as true high speed internet. CNET throws all these numbers out talking about how fast downloading is with Verizon's Fios, but as of right now, Fios isn't widespread.

Unfortunately for proponents of digital downloads, the United States ranks a measly 25th in broadband penetration in the world. Until this number improves greatly, digital downloading may never be as big of a business as some think it might.

Digital downloads will become more prevalent. However, with Blu-ray's victory over HD DVD, players will become standardized and cheaper. Movies will become cheaper. People will buy movies and players. It took time for a VHS to DVD switch, and now it will take time to switch from DVD to Blu-ray.

Until something like Verizon's Fios becomes standard across the country, digital downloads will never overtake real disks. For everyone's sake, hopefully broadband becomes more available and cheaper in the near future, and then CNET's prediction might ring true.

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