Saturday, October 10, 2009

DVD has two years left to live?

So according to Netflix's Big Kahuna, Reed Hastings. DVD has two years left to live as a viable format, and he thinks it will be replaced by streaming?

Really, Reed. Kinda living up to your last name there, aren't ya? Mind you, I have always believed that DVD would be replaced by some kind of on-demand viewing, but THAT soon? I really find that hard to swallow when your own streaming service, well - sucks, sometimes.

More often than not, when I try to watch a streaming movie on Netflix, I see a message that says something like "Your Internet connection has slowed. We are adjusting your playback to avoid further interruption."

Then, of course, I am interrupted about every 10 minutes with that message. It's more than a LITTLE annoying. When I was trying to watch The Ghost and Mrs. Muir this way, I was half-convinced a real spirit was messing with me. The interruptions got so bad when I was trying to watch the 1941 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I gave up and rented the good ol' DVD. So don't go round claiming streaming is it till ya get yers fixed, K?

(And it ain't a matter of my equipment bein' slow, Reed. I've seen many a complaint round the 'Net.)

But let me pose a question to my readers: Do you think DVD will be dead that quickly? And what about Blu-Ray? I have never been convinced that will break out the way DVD did, because the quality jump from DVD to Blu-Ray isn't even CLOSE to the quality jump of VHS to DVD. And frankly, given all the stories I've heard about botched transfers (Patton, Gladiator et al) I'm even less convinced.

Am I wrong?


Allison Dickson said...

I agree with you on all counts. I give streaming another 5 years to become more commonplace, but that will only depend on cable companies getting broadband out to rural and less-developed areas. Until then, DVDs ain't going anywhere.

I should note that Netflix seems to stream fine through out TIVO most of the time, but I think the real problem is in the variance in screen formats. You sometimes don't know what you're going to get--wide or full. And full just sucks. As for Blu-Ray, I can't help but snicker at people who are shelling all of this money on a technology that I think will probably be dead in a couple of years.

Oh yeah -- I noticed this in your last paragraph:

"because the quality jump from DVD to Blu-Ray isn't even CLOSE to the quality jump of DVD vs. Blu-Ray."

Did you mean DVD vs VHS in the last part?

Sir Critic said...

Ooops! Yes, I fixed that, Allie. And that's a VERY good point about the aspect ratios of the streaming movies often being wrong. More than twice, I have run into movies there that are supposed to be 2.35 but are shown at 1.85. UNACCEPTABLE.

kEnny said...

I can't quantitatively prove that you or Allie are wrong, of course, but I think that the increasing penetration of devices that can receive internet-streamed content (we use an XBOX 360 and TiVo, and have a home theater PC at the ready, but there are SO MANY others) to display on a big screen is a very telling indicator of things to come. Televisions are adding similar functionality, as well. Many dual play providers (TV programming and broadband) also have streaming content available as an extension of their VOD selections.

I believe I heard earlier this week that Walmart was cutting back on the space used for DVD sales. I don't think this is coincedence. DVD might not be dead in the next two years, but I'm betting it will be suffering from a recession.

Allison Dickson said...

You make good points, Ken. But I do wonder still about people having access to the high speed internet capabilities. A lot of people are stuck on crappy slow DSL lines that can't handle that kind of bandwidth. I definitely think it will be a boon to those who already have broadband, DVRs, and other capable home theater appliances.

How many people have DVRs now, anyway? I know the numbers are increasing, but will it be enough to make people start streaming? I personally look forward to when that technology is totally mainstream. The space savings alone will be worth it.

kEnny said...

From what I've read, DVRs are not the game changer many of us thought they were going to be, -because- of streaming content's growth. Individual DVRs are too dependent on a single hard drive and limited by interoperability problems or software capabilities, where content streamed from whichever provider you are choosing, be it Amazon, Comcast, Netflix, Hulu, VUDU, etc., is coming from fault tolerant server farms.

I agree that content quality can't always be trusted, but our problem here is that there aren't enough people who care about it. This is very similar to the revolution in digital music. The accessibility opportunities end up blinding people to the crappy quality.

Don't forget that DSL technology is getting better, faster, and for those who are lucky, replaced by fiber. It will take a while for this stuff to make it the last mile into rural areas, but that's where we'll be seeing WiMax and other wireless technologies stepping up more. It is already a big threat to wired broadband where it is currently available.

Anonymous said...

I do think DVD will die soon, and I think the Kindle is proof of books going away too. Here's my issue: I have a huuuuge DVD collection and it looks nice in my living room, blanketing both sides of my flat screen on large DVD shelves. With no more DVDs and no more books, what will I fill my space with? =)

Allison Dickson said...

eh... I think it will take a LOT longer to digitize books and reduce the price of content enough to make books go the way of CDs and DVDs. It's a whole other medium. It'll be another decade or so before we see a really major sea change in publishing, but I do agree that it is currently trending that way. But it's still in its infancy compared to other types of media. I would love a Kindle if it were about $200 cheaper and the books were no more than $2 a download and weren't subject to any DRM issues. :)