Sony must be feeling like they were awarded a Golden Globe, only to find out it was made of plastic. They won the format wars against HD DVD and yet Blu-Ray still looks like it might never really get off the ground in the way that Sony hoped.
Blu-Ray is still expensive and until it becomes a consumer product, rather than something for the tech fans to wet their pants over they may never see a healthy return on their investment. The lengthy and expensive format wars mean that Sony’s reward for standing against the HD DVD consortium will be long in coming.
What makes it worse are two factors. The first is that most people either don’t really want or can’t see the point in ultra high definition pictures when DVD does a pretty good job so long as the original movie is filmed properly. And then there’s streaming video.
Streaming has come a long way since it’s first low-res, jerky and fragile beginnings. I still remember getting part way through a short clip then having to reset my PC because the Codec had locked up on the media player and crashed. Everyone can use YouTube, you can even video blog from your mobile now. And if you only want to watch a movie once or twice, why bother with the disk when you can watch it on any device anywhere without physical media?
This is particularly true of porn, where it’s very often about the next new tits and ass, not keeping a movie and treasuring it. So will online kill porn DVDs?
Not quite yet I think. While the BBC’s iPlayer has proved that streaming video and peer-to-peer architectures can work in a proper commercial environment it has also proved that ISPs are becoming less and less happy about the idea.
It costs billions to implement fast, high bandwidth Internet connections. How would you and your investors feel if the BBC or anyone else suddenly used all that extra capacity with their video service and didn’t pay you a penny?
Either the video streaming sites and services are going to have to contribute to the ISPs’ costs in some way, or the ISPs might start getting nasty and blocking them. Even if everyone comes to a nice amicable arrangement two things will happen. First, the streaming companies and therefore their users will have to pay their way. Perhaps more importantly it may become difficult to install bandwidth at a high enough rate (particularly in rural areas) to ensure sufficient increases in capacity across the country.
Until the funding and capacity problems are solved it’s unlikely that DVD will disappear as is so often predicted. So you’ll be seeing porn DVDs for a while yet.