The future of DVDs & Blu-rays in HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-10-2012, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I am sure many of you have seen the spate of recent articles about Microsoft dropping DVD/BD playback from *all* versions of Windows 8, including the Media Center Edition -- if not here is a good article. You will also note that Win MCE itself is being back-burnered in a big way, being only available as a paid add on for Windows 8 Pro.

As for Apple, hopefully DVDPlayer is still part of Mountain Lion, but at this point all hope has been given up for any future enhancements like BD playback. Anyone running the Mountain Lion developer preview feel free to chime in.

Meanwhile Apple's low bit rate 1080P material looks surprisingly good at least on my less than deluxe 1080P HDTV. The main complaint at this point is selection/price rather than quality or convenience. The redownload your purchases at any future time option surpasses even spinning disks in longevity. In other words I am judging Apple less likely to change the policy in the medium future than a DVD to be lost, damaged or laser-rotted.

At the same the DVD/BD industry seems absolutely determined to machine gun itself in the feet: DVDs and Blu-rays will now carry two unskippable government warnings

My prediction is that that spinning media will soon be relegated mainly to people like me (us) who have a large existing collection. The next generation will stick to streaming and downloads.
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-11-2012, 01:03 AM
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I find it very annoying that this the push to streaming seems to be leading to the decline and/or death of physical media.

There is no doubt that streaming is a wonderful way to access video content. I love the ability to easily stream a movie or a TV show or my own video productions. But streaming has limitations. Bandwidth restrictions and ISP surcharges, limited content availability and quality issues (NetFlix selections and audio limitations come to mind). My biggest gripe about the march to eliminate physical media is that there is an arrogance on the part of Microsoft and Apple that they know what is best for us.

There are times that a DVD or BR disk are the only way to present video content. For example, I produce a lot of video programs that are used in meetings. Streaming is a great way to let people access that content but not always available in a meeting room or in areas where there is poor or no access to the Web. What are these people thinking?

If DVD/BR playback becomes limited or goes away from a computer's OS, then our ability to determine the best means of distributing video content will go away. I know that I am not alone with this thought. As imperfect and prone to playback issues that a DVD or BR can be, I know that I will continue to need physical media in addition to streaming.

Is it too much to ask that our options are expanded rather than contracted?
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-11-2012, 05:52 AM
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I am afraid this trend has little to do with technology or customer convenience, and much more to do with the target economic model for the major content providers and controlling intermediaries in the supply chain.

With physical media, you pay ONCE and can view/hear it an unlimited time (as long as the hardware player does not break down, or the format is obsoleted ala HD-DVD).
With streaming, you first get used to pay for something you may not freely copy or exchange with anybody else, and then some time in the future you will get a notice that your "property rights" have got a limited validity date...

Every odd years, somebody comes with this "great idea" that instead of buying something, you could just "lend it"... for 60% of the buy value, or even better, for a yearly "maintenance" fee. That was the IBM mainframe economic model 40 years ago, that is still the current economic model for "enterprise software" such as SAP or Oracle : every 5-6 years, you pay your software a second time ! Mostly for the privilege of reporting bugs which should never have been there to the editor (and sometimes getting them corrected... in the next paid upgrade !).

What you learn early in economy classes is that paying in full once is always cheaper on the long term than borrowing/lending continuously, unless you have not the initial capital... or somebody forbids you the option of outright buying.

The trend for developing ever more "milking cows" worries me... as a cow
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-12-2012, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geeji View Post

I am afraid this trend has little to do with technology or customer convenience, and much more to do with the target economic model for the major content providers and controlling intermediaries in the supply chain.

With physical media, you pay ONCE and can view/hear it an unlimited time (as long as the hardware player does not break down, or the format is obsoleted ala HD-DVD).
With streaming, you first get used to pay for something you may not freely copy or exchange with anybody else, and then some time in the future you will get a notice that your "property rights" have got a limited validity date...
...

While I agree with your sentiment, you and many others conflate streaming with downloads, which are two totally different beasts. And in the case of Apple that's unfair, as they don't offer streaming, just downloads. Buying a download from Apple/iTunes is no different than buying a DVD -- it is yours permanently. It is encrypted, but so is the DVD -- and in both cases the encryption has been broken if it makes you feel more secure to have an unfettered copy.

Many of the quality issues are also associated with streaming rather than downloads. I am not claiming that Apple's 1080P video is as good as Blu-ray, but it certainly better than DVD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by btokars View Post

There are times that a DVD or BR disk are the only way to present video content. For example, I produce a lot of video programs that are used in meetings. Streaming is a great way to let people access that content but not always available in a meeting room or in areas where there is poor or no access to the Web. What are these people thinking?

I am not following you at all -- how does the elimination of DVD/BR force you to stream at meetings -- is copying the video to a reusable USB Flash drive harder than burning a DVD? Or copying to it to an iPhone/iPad and connecting either via Air Play or HDMI cable to the projector?

I haven't used my DVD-R blanks in years -- I'm amazed anyone does anymore.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-12-2012, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov View Post

...how does the elimination of DVD/BR force you to stream at meetings -- is copying the video to a reusable USB Flash drive harder than burning a DVD? Or copying to it to an iPhone/iPad and connecting either via Air Play or HDMI cable to the projector?

I haven't used my DVD-R blanks in years -- I'm amazed anyone does anymore.

When meetings are populated with people who have no clue how to get the video content onto the screen, that's a problem. They may be able to get the PowerPoint presentation up and running but playing a video throws them into a tizzy. I've seen these over and over again. That's why I always provide a presenter with a playable DVD, a .mov or .avi version to put onto their hard drive, and sometimes a flash drive. But that is when I am present and able to offer my services to assist. You would be amazed how little people know about these matters. They may know how to put a DVD into a DVD player at home, but put them in a meeting room with a need to make presentations to a bunch of people and they get very nervous. So nervous that in more than a few instances they opt to just forgo playing the video. I am always amazed that so many professional, educated people are just not capable of handling some simple A/V equipment. On the other hand, let me put my own experience out there for you. I was invited to attend a meeting at a major business in downtown San Francisco and was asked to bring a video program to show. I brought the DVD as mentioned above and got to the conference room 90-minutes before the start of the meeting. The receptionist opened the conference room for me and showed me the closet that had the A/V stuff. A very nice 80-inch LCD screen, BR player, and assorted remotes. But no one there had a clue about how to use the system. Finally, an IT guy came in and helped me. They had, in addition to the remotes that came with each piece of gear, a proprietary A/V system that integrated all the components and PCs. But even the IT guy admitted that he did not really know which buttons did what. I eventually figured it out but by the time I did, meeting participants were wandering in. I'm not saying this is rocket science but there is something to be said about keeping it simple. Streaming might have been an option for the video I brought because it is online at Vimeo and YouTube. But guess what? They didn't have a way to get audio out of the PC into the A/V system. So no matter if the video was on a DVD inserted into the PC, streaming, or on a Flash drive there still would have been a problem.

I still burn lots of playable DVDs. I have to in order to be able to provide content to target audiences. It's true that I burn a lot fewer of them these days because of streaming but there is still a big demand for physical media.
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