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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Death to the DVD Disc is Coming

No, I’m not joining those who have predicted that Sony’s Blu-ray has won over HD-DVD. What I’m suggesting is the optical disc format has reached it’s peak and will go the way of the cassette tape.

Forget about the DVD Wars

The battle between Blu-Ray and HD–DVD format hasn’t helped. Even with Warner Brothers exclusively backing the Blu-Ray Association, sales of movies on disc has been on the decline. This week at CES a lot of folks are calling Blu-Ray a winner even though the adult industry and Microsoft has backed HD-DVD.

Some have also said Microsoft wants both to fail because “They want confusion in the market until they perfect the digital downloads.” I say, “It worked!”. In fact today, Microsoft acknowledged it is backing off plans to promote HD-DVD exclusively in its xBox game console.

Advocates for both claim superior video and audio but they’re missing what consumers want. There’s a point where the average human can’t detect the differences in sound and appearance. If anything, the increases in clarity can show more flaws in productions. Why would I pay $20+ for disc when I can just download the movie to my PC or TiVo for $12 or less.

The future media is Solid State Memory or what’s commonly called Flash memory. I wrote about this a year ago, and I’ll stick by last years prediction.

Granted a Blu-ray DVD can hold 25 GB’s per layer it’s only a matter of time before we see an explosion in Flash(NAND) memory size. HD-DVD only holds 15 GB per layer. Yesterday at CES SanDisk introduced a new 12 GB microSDHD card. SanDisk calculates with 12 GB you can store a 24.5 hours of video along with 2,600 photos and 1,500 songs.

Alternates to DVD


While the size and cost of flash memory isn’t there yet it’s coming. It’s not likely I can fit a Blu-ray disc into my Phone, GPS or video camera. No moving parts or lasers means my battery will last a lot longer watching a movie from flash memory. It’s also much easier and cheaper to build a flash memory slot into a new TV or other home appliance than it is a disc player.

My new OLPC XO laptop isn’t the first laptop to choose a flash drive in place of a mechanical hard drive and DVD and it won’t be the last. No moving parts, minimal power consumption, well over 100,000 write cycles, all means my next laptop will include a solid state drive instead of a legacy hard drive. I won’t miss trying to figure out if my DVD player supports +R – R, +RW or -RW.

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20 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

Bill - love your software, and now that I've discovered your blog, I enjoy that two.

The cost of MLC NAND Flash continues to fall, though it still has a ways to go to reach parity with HDDs ($1/GB) or DVDs (et al). But I agree with you on the trend.

Thanks for your prediction.

C2

12:56 PM  
OpenID shatner said...

Bill,
You presented a very interesting article!
I agree that the flash drive innovations will be the next trend! The main characteristic is that this can become a universal storage system for many file types and utilized through the use of everyday pcs and readers, not special players. What a dramatic achievement! People don't realize yet...how powerful an innovation!

The Blu-Raid(because of cost from your wallet) will see a slow death only because there are still some serious Sony Believers! The HD-DVD will hold for many due to their lack of desire to modernize and computerize.
BUT WITH...PCs controlling our homes, the Flash Drive alternative will come in LEAPS!

Thanks, Art

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Melohawk said...

That's all well and good for those who have fast download capability. Rural people aren't even being given the HOPE of having DSL or anything else that is reliable so most are stuck with 56K dial up and at the whim of the telephone companies with that. Because of this problem, I don't think the DVD will vanish that quickly.

Wireless is popular out here but unreliable if there are severe weather conditions - which seems to be the norm at times.

AT&T is a joke when it comes to trying to get anything done regarding the internet. I think they are still upset that the internet was offered to the phone companies in the beginning and they blew it off as nothing important to the consumer and cost themselves a fortune. Now they don't want us to have fast access unless we pay through the nose and they keep trying to tell us that we are ALL too far from the HUB.

A friend proved we weren't by having a licenesed contractor install the 2 card bus box and then taking the phone company to court to force them to activate it. They won't even tell you that that little box will reach 5 miles away from the HUB.

So until we can, universally, get good quality downloads that are reliable and fast, the DVD will be the way to go. Besides what will all the movie rental places do? Convert to download centers and hope that people come in with Flashdrives? If you can download it, you can copy it and you can pass it around to your friends. Why pay for it. The DVD can be controlled and copy protected.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating, it is a truth by pattern in reality, and a point I have frustratingly tried to impress on Microsoft over their ongoing mess of leaning toward Corporate , rather than their solid user business, quick money has it's draw I guess, a (Pun) "flash" profit.
What now is needed, is for the security businesses to write "in the wild" Viruses to attack viruses as they launch. Actually not hard, once analyzed, or on-board wandering virus that launches against any program that is counter to data, not a black box setup that uses known pattens, this is a welcoming sign for the out front crackers and hacks.
Oh, the narrative is the reason I speak of preventive measures for easy data storage, is, it is just as easy to attack.
Good piece.
Kyle from Florida

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Rourke11 said...

I agree with you Bill. The Optical Disk reader is on the way out and rightly so for all of the reasons mentioned.

Has anyone consider the next set of travail for portable video format. My prognostication is that you will see the war of the video format's and CODEC's. We already have a bit of a fracas with QuickTime, AVI, and MPEG then you have to consider what CODEC to use with your format, I won't even begin to name to hundreds or more.

What about the question of long term storage. I remember when everyone hailed the CD as the best way to store Data for a long time. Then the DVD... oh, but they forgot to mention that there is a small problem of a bacteria that likes the taste of that media and that repeated usage cause damage.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting consideration, but it won't happen anytime soon. And like you mentioned, there are no moving parts, but on the flip side how many ways can one fail or be accidentally destroyed?
If they make them work like tape did, where you can stop start erase and record over at any point, my major complaint of the optical disc, then it might be worth looking into.
Truthfully I was expecting crystal storage by this late date and a lot more of virtual reality, have those gone off the edge or is anyone still working on them?
My favorite is still the holo-deck format but that's a long way off.
Bottom line is I want something that will work the way I want it to work without problems and that will last as long as my old style record collection, which reaches back into the 1920's.

5:18 PM  
Blogger comicfan2000 said...

I can see all sides here and do feel sorry for the 56k users, unfortunately, technology waits for no one. I personally know people who WON'T move to rural areas due to lack of decent internet speeds so I feel if the ISPs provide decent internet to rural areas, people will also likely move to those areas. They simply don't want to lose a buck right off.Sad.

I think DVD will be around for a while yet until they come up with a better way to handle flash media as in "copyright issues". I think we'll see the hard drive going away as well and most disk type media. Longevity of flash will be a major plus with less heat and as mentioned, moving parts. Writing speeds are very fast, it won't scratch like a darn DVD\CD, etc... So there are many more positives to this than negatives.

I don't know about video stores going away, perhaps first they will have movies embedded so it cannot be erased unless utterly destroyed, maybe some built in copy protection, which you can then rent a movie, pop it in a small player\TV slot and off you go.No different than buying\renting a Nintendo DS game in a way.
There are many possibilities and roads this can take for sure. Bottom line, I agree with Bill, it's headed that way, no doubt about it.

Paul

12:17 AM  
OpenID waynstar said...

A great article, thank you!

Firstly may I sympathise with contributor who has to put up with 56k. In this day and age and in the modern western world, it's a disgrace! I'm rural Wales (UK) and can only get 1mb and that has plenty of frustrations, so 56k!! I can't publish the words!

Now, to my own personal thoughts on the initial subject. For me, this was always going to happen and I think it's extremely good for several reasons. No moving parts reduces production & consumer costs, which apply to devices and PCs. Shipping costs are reduced and energy consumption throughout manufacturing and from usage is greatly reduced - more environmentally sound than current systems. Some people have mentioned virus' which I agree, is a negative point but I'm certain issues relating to software will be addressed.

There are other negatives which others here have mentioned but I'm convinced for the time being, that this is the way our storage options will move in the near (but not too distant) future. As a footnote, I find it laughable that Sony, Toshiba/NEC and their supporters haven't seen this coming. I think both formats will lose out as static memory storage sneaks around and pops in thru the back door. ;-)

12:58 PM  
Blogger Bill Pytlovany said...

A couple comments have been made about copy protection. A lot of people don't realize that while SD stands for "Secure Digital" it doesn't mean that your data is more secure.

The original design of the SD chip was to provide a secure way for the music industry to copyright protection. The goal was to meet the requirements of the "Secure Digital Music Initiative".

While rarely used the SD chip can provide even more Digital Rights Management then your typical DVD.
Many SD cards include an embedded DRM scheme called "Content Protection for Recordable Media"(CPRM)

Bill

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Luvpeaceguru said...

I agree with you. Optical disks are dead. We realised that CDs were not indestructible (despite clear promises that they would last forever. DVDs are much more fragile and Blu-Rays even more so. The only present justification for optical disks is as a means of distribution. Faster internet connections and the dawning "respectability" of BitTorrent will soon change that. Flash memory and SSDs are the only alternatives.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous markokane said...

When I was 19 in 1982, I predicted that one day, all music and movies will be on computer chips. Look like I might be right. No moving parts is great, but what if the flash memory goes bad?? There should be a means of backing it all up.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. I shudder to think about the prospect of waiting a few hours to download the latest high definition movie. As for streaming, I don't think you will get to high definition levels for awhile.

And to make this all moot, Time Warner is considering a pay per use scheme to deter bandwith hogs. At at least 15 gigs for a single high definition movie, a few downloads a month and you will no doubt quickly become a bandwith hog.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that we are on the verge of The Great Disk Demise and Flash/Solid State seems to be the lead to follow... but just as cars started out electric and are now going back to it so is true that computers were once solid state and are now going back to such. It was the old 5-1/4" floppy disk that started the "disk fever". As far as security issues... There are always ways to secure things you want secured and the different industries involved will be at the leading edge of this issue... you can be sure of that... but just as there are always ways to secure things there will always be ways to defeat the security... for one purpose or another... and so newer, different things will come along. As for the person who has to deal with the 56k blues just remember this... "If you've never had a million dollars you'll never truly know what it's like to miss it." Don't sweat the 56k blues... I don't!... Things WILL change Soon enough.
Enjoy The Changes Everyone!,
Don S. from FT.KNOX,KY

11:33 PM  
Anonymous mr gillrod said...

amen - long over due - moving parts are so mechanical - yuck! in a ferrari or a steam engine OK but computers - nah

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
72GB, while extremely impressive, is not quite enough (is *any* amount enough?).
Is anyone working on tying a dozen or more of these SSD's together into one gigantic 700GB drive?
That would be cool.
It would be cool even if they were seen by Windows as a dozen or more separate drives.
J.

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Woods Wally said...

56k? What's that???

In my rural world I consistently connect at 28.8. Occasionally I get "teased" with 31.2

Technology seems to be about the "haves" and "have nots." Or maybe it's just all about the technology and not about the "customer." Interesting that we are called "users."

I depend on web-based applications by necessity. There are some things I simply can't do on dial up. Calls to tech support/developers are given a verbal shrug.

Technology just doesn't excite me much.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous budtillery said...

Solid crystal storage, multi-plug-in slots,raid style marriage of all slots.. yeah,boy. Wonder how long business politics will hold that back? Sure is fun to watch it all a-coming.. as predicted by SciFi back when I was born.. longggg ago (1939).
Meanwhile, I'm having a helluva time with my stuff in the "now".
Fun and informative reading on this blog. Y'all keep up the good work. Oh, I DO wish holigrams were common already, but I thought we'd all be levetating by the time I reached this age!
Bud in Jax

2:11 AM  
Anonymous Darth AkSarBen said...

Yesterday, Jan 26 2008, was the first time ever I visited www.winpatrol.com. I downloaded the free version of the ver 14 software. Now, today I take a look at the article "Death to the DVD Disc is Coming" Nearly fell off my chair!!

Right after Christmas we bought a DVD recorder for our "family" present. It upscales to 1080p and I was curious if it would read HD DVDs. After finding out that only Blue ray laser disks can read the HD DVD and Blueray disks, it got me thinking and I took the little SD card out of my Nikon D50 camera (2GB) and showed it to my family and said, "see this. They make these in 16gb models as well. Technology will address the costs and someday we will have movies on these and regular 'disks' will be as obsolete as VHS tapes."

After that I started a thread at Afterdawn expounding my idea http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/613733 That was Jan 12th of this year.

Or, remember that big platter that was the size of a 33.3 LP record called video disk?

Anyway, I firmly believe Bill in this. I remember, and not LONG ago when a 256mb disc was pretty expensive, say around 60.00 dollars. One time I ordered stuff from New egg and one of the 'perks' was a 1gb flash memory stickk FREE. Bought a 2GB USB from Target one time for 17 dollars, recently. Digital has the unique ability that once a process is nailed down and perfected, literally millions of these can be produced for mere pennies. The cost is not for the raw material which is insignificantly small, but the setup and building of the process and the re-cooping the money of the expenses of such setup.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

1:36 PM  
Anonymous John L. Galt said...

100 GB MEMS on the way - and can use existing fab centers....

http://blogs.zdnet.com/storage/?p=281

Using this they could easily ease us off of optical storage and even mechanical magnetic storage until th price of Solid State Storage becomes affordable....

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No it's not! It's just not. No way - the dvd will simply not die umm humm, no sir. As long as Wallyworld sells 5 dollar movies on dvd's then they will live forever and besides who the hell wants swordfish on blu-ray? (I don't even want it on dvd)

11:29 AM  

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