Why Downloads WON'T Replace Blu-Ray

CNet News has an interesting article titled Digital Downloads Will be Blu-Ray's Downfall.  Erica Ogg outlines a few reasons why Blu-Ray won't enjoy the long tenure that the standard DVD has enjoyed since movies went digital.  She mentions that with the increase of the ubiquity of high sped broadband, people won't want to shell out $20-$30 for a Blu-Ray disc.  Plus, as speeds increase, one won't need to inconvenience themselves with going out to purchase them.  Somehow she thinks that digital downloads will only cost in the realm of $5.

I don't think so.

If we take the past to be an indicator of trends, we'll see that prices for entertainment content will stay about the same.  Remember VHS tapes?  A new release could easily break the $20-$25 dollar mark.  DVDs?  The same.  If you go to iTunes, a standard definition digital download of a popular new release is $15.  We know that if the studios had their way it'd be up there in the $20-$25 range as well.

But that's just price.  One of the big issues with me is that I want a physical piece of media.  I want that plastic disc.  Why?  I know that content on a hard or flash drive is subject to failure, and what do I have to show for my purchase?  To purchase 8GB DVD media is somewhat cost prohibitive right now, let alone getting media to back up a high definition movie.

Lastly, having that plastic Blu-Ray disc gives me one more advantage:  I can circumvent its copy protection in order to watch that movie on any device I want.  I'm not talking about piracy or theft here, I'm talking about being able to watch the movie I purchased on my iPod, cellphone, computer, or any other device I choose.  It would be childish to suppose that I should only be able to watch said movie on a single device, given that it is digital content.

No, I hope Blu-Ray has a long and prosperous life.  Digital downloads have a long way to go, mostly because of bandwidth limitations, but because there is some sense of security knowing that I have a plastic disc that I can cuddle up to at night.

Posted on Feb 24
Written by Wayne Hartman