Optical disks, soon to be obsolete?

I will make a prediction. Optical disks, such as DVDs, HD-DVDs, Blu-Rays, and so on, will not matter in five years. And no, tape will not replace them.

I see only one viable storage technology in five years: fast volatile memory hooked up to a super-fast network.

Why will it happen? One word: youtube. Unavoidably, video-on-the-Web will get better resolution, you will have longer streams, and it will only get more popular.

How are we going to make this happen? Fiber in every house?

Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft are fighting over which format will dominate the market (HD-DVD or Blu-Ray). I say neither.

5 thoughts on “Optical disks, soon to be obsolete?”

  1. My wife and I have a bunch of DVDs only because that’s the way to get them. If I had the means (that includes time) to transfer them to a hard drive and use the network to access them from my television or some other viewing mechanism, I would gladly do so.

    I do not care about HD-DVD or Blu-Ray at all and do not intend to ever buy them. Many people I talk to feel the same way.

    I too wonder why so much time and effort are being invested in physical consumer formats.

  2. “I too wonder why so much time and effort are being invested in physical consumer formats.”

    Keep in mind that may (most?) people still have VCRs blinking 12:00 in their living rooms. This is also why people buy TVs with built-in DVDs (despite the fact that it increases the probability of equipment failure). The virtue of DVDs is their simple user interface: pop it in and press “play”. Until web distribution gets that simple (in terms of both setup and use), these formats will be ascendant.

    That, and people feel better about spending money to buy tangible objects than non-tangible ones.

  3. I think you’re right Daniel. Many moons ago when I was at Nortel and (some) people thought that the future of computer communications was ATM to the desktop (circa 1993?), Bill Williams (of Heapsort fame) mused that sometime in the not-too-distant future, the optical networks themselves would be the data-storage device; i.e. the data-pipes would be so big there wouldn’t be any need for disks of any sort (optical or otherwise.)

  4. Je m’exprime en français, car je m’y sens plus à l’aise et votre blog se trouve dans le Canada francophone.
    Vous avez raison Daniel, cart la possibilité de “télécharger” et de regarder une vidéo (film, concert, documentaire en HD) est déjà une réalité en France, grâce à une petite société Iliad, qui a été la première à proposer l’accès à la télévision sur ligne ADSL, puis à la vidéo à la demande (http://adsl.free.fr/tv/vod/).
    Ce système ne fonctionne pas comme votre PPV, il permet vraiment de choisir sur plusieurs catalogues contenants des centaines de documents vidéo, un film que vous pouvez regarder immédiatement et que vous pouvez contrôler avec votre télécommande. Le film peut être regardé autant de fois que vous le voulez pendant 24h00. Le prix de location pour 24h00 varie de gratuit à 4 euros.
    Ce système de VOD tue à la fois tout ce qui est lecteur de DVD/HD/Blu-Ray et les magasins de location de vidéo.
    Maintenant Iliad et les autres FAI français sont en train de câbler les particuliers avec de la fibre optique.
    Il reste quand même une partie de la population rurale, qui n’a pas accès au débit réseau suffisant (5 Mbits/s pour la télévision standard) pour avoir la télévision sur sa ligne ADSL, mais cela devrait se résorber avec la généralisation d’ici 2 à 3 ans du WiMax.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](http://example.com)

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax