Digital Media: The Race is Heating Up - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-17-2009, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A good article to get caught up on the flurry of recent activity.

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The quest to delivering digital media to consumers' TVs is the space race of the 21st century.

The competitors are Netflix, Best Buy, Amazon, Apple, TiVo, Samsung, Sony, LG, Vizio, Vudu, Yahoo!, ZeeVee and countless others.

It may be the custom electronics professional (CE pro) who ends up making sense of the joint-ventures and co-branding and ultimately helping customers land content on their TVs.

Here is a breakdown of some recent developments:

Headlines of developments... Details in link:
Quote:


  • Samsung Offers Blockbuster Digital Library
  • Blockbuster Partners with TiVo
  • Netflix Partners with TiVo
  • Best Buy Partners with TiVo
  • Amazon and TiVo Join Forces
  • Best Buy Teams with Samsung, LG Electronics
  • Amazon Reportedly Looks to Acquire Netflix
  • Sony Bravia Connected HDTVs Get Netflix
  • ZeeVee's Zinc Browser Delivers Hulu, Netflix, Much More
  • Boxee Buddies Up with Netflix, Pandora, Much More
  • Vudu Partners with Vizio

http://www.electronichouse.com/artic...is_heating_up/
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 05:57 AM
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Wow.. no wonder I had a feeling of things heating up.. I keep reading news all over about online services teaming up with CEs and retailers but this is really good sign of things to come. Competition is always good.

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post #3 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 07:12 AM
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The problem currently is that there is no one or two providers to go to for the studios.
This results in fractured content availability, lower quality and the need to have multiple "boxes" to get most of the content. The beauty of the shiny dvd disc is all discs will play on all machines and the available content is phenominal.
Will digital overcome all the above? Too early to tell. It looks as if it is trying but there is the old addage: too many cooks spoil the broth.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Of course it will overcome the challenges. The reason there are so many players is because the "winner" is going to eat from a very large pie.

Revenue for Digital Distribution is already becoming very significant. As physical media continues to decline, the studios will get together and standardize most aspects of delivery.
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by fpconvert View Post

The problem currently is that there is no one or two providers to go to for the studios.
This results in fractured content availability, lower quality and the need to have multiple "boxes" to get most of the content. The beauty of the shiny dvd disc is all discs will play on all machines and the available content is phenominal.
Will digital overcome all the above? Too early to tell. It looks as if it is trying but there is the old addage: too many cooks spoil the broth.

I can agree with that, however, I think what's going to happen actually is that you will have ALL CONTENT, everywhere, because it's in the interest of studios to do so. Then services compete based on features and integration rather then content. Right now they are still testing and analyzing but once there's no doubt that it's the next wave of content delivery I'm convinced they will blow up content. With VUDU most of them already are, however they are limiting HDX and rental availability because of Blu-ray, which is very unfortunate and another example of why their business models are bad overall.

It the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make sense to me to think that studios will limit content on one provider and not on the other. That's where competition comes in.. If one service doesn't offer certain content I will go with the one that does and so on.

To studios it's a win win, because if they offer all of their content on all networks, they will have multiple streams of revenue based on the same content, which is basically their wet dream. Encode once, sell everywhere. No packaging, no replication, nothing. Pure profit.

Also, as for quality, I can agree that content is still not at the level of highest quality of physical media (such as Blu-ray) however this will change.

Why I would definitely like for digital downloads and internet based delivery to succeed is because it doesn't have limitations such as physical optical media does. When I say this, I mean we don't have growth limitations.

As PSound says, Any stream to any screen is what online gives us and it can be really whatever you want it to be and there's no cap on the quality when the infrastructure is improved.

A simple example is what happens beyond 1080p? Blu-ray is cemented at 1080p, so if you wanted something better you would have to repurchase all your equipment. With online based delivery there's no such limitation. Software update is all you need (sometimes not even that), the pipes will deliver higher bandwith content to your already existing setup and you get much higher quality.

Just like we had with Youtube, Hulu, Vudu and others. They started off with very low quality content but as time passed (a year or two) they improved their infrastructure, competition happened and they offered HD versions of their videos and it was completely transparent to users. You can clearly see the pattern here.

Now, I'm aware we are still not there with internet speeds to serve full 1080p footage at Blu-ray quality but it will happen and I'm pretty sure much much faster then some people think. One of the major reasons I believe we will see same quality content as Blu-ray and above is because streaming technology, compression/encoding/decoding technologies are progressing rapidly offering same type of quality as Blu-ray (at least in some tests I've seen) at a fraction of the size. If algorithms and compression is advanced you can get superb quality at 8-10mbps.

Sure there will always be those who want "uncompressed" or 50mbps bit rate cause nothing else can do it. But we both know that this type of attitude is minority and really without any relevant logical support. Even today we can see that compressed audio streams and video streams look identical to master (TrueHD, DTS-MA, VC1, AVC), so it's completely realistic to expect improvements and take it one step further.

At the pace things are developing with online delivery I'm very optimistic we are on the right track and within few years all content we watch through online sources and services will look and sound identical to Blu-ray and offer catalogs at our fingertips and continue moving forward to bring us 4K HD and so on without rebuying stuff except maybe TVs.

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post #6 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PSound View Post

Of course it will overcome the challenges. The reason there are so many players is because the "winner" is going to eat from a very large pie.

Revenue for Digital Distribution is already becoming very significant. As physical media continues to decline, the studios will get together and standardize most aspects of delivery.

You are most likely right in that the studios will get together...and cut out the middleman like roku, vudu, etc. This will leave consumers w/ lots of useless boxes like hd dvd did. Well they aren't useless but w/o future releases the thing is no better than an 8 track.

W/o mergers/buyouts no one is going to be willing to give up their small piece of the pie. That is why I have questions as to wether they are able to overcome. Once they do that, they will face the additional challenge of making it easy enough for mom and dad to operate. That I consider an even bigger hurdle.
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 09:33 AM
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You are most likely right in that the studios will get together...and cut out the middleman like roku, vudu, etc.

Why would they? Why would they worry about infrastructure and other things running a business like this when there are already established and integrated services that do that. Not sure I follow your reasoning. Netflix will be everywere as it already becoming like that (TVs, players, PCs, consoles etc etc), Vudu has their own boxes and offers the most comprehensive content on any platform.

The point is that studios license movies to all of these services, kick back and get money. Others deal with customer support, infrastructure and so on.

Second thing is, since most of them are going subscription route, I don't see what you lose. It's not like you'll accumulate thousands of dollars of stuff like you would on Blu-ray or any physical media and then not be able to use it. That's the beauty of cloud content and subscriptions. You don't lose anything, you just switch.

Even if you are right, and they do somehow kill Netflix, Vudu and others and offer one other unified service, you'll still just switch and use that and it will be supported by everyone. Either way consumer might lose much less then with optical media/players.

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post #8 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Bozster View Post

I can agree with that, however, I think what's going to happen actually is that you will have ALL CONTENT, everywhere, because it's in the interest of studios to do so. Then services compete based on features and integration rather then content. Right now they are still testing and analyzing but once there's no doubt that it's the next wave of content delivery I'm convinced they will blow up content. With VUDU most of them already are, however they are limiting HDX and rental availability because of Blu-ray, which is very unfortunate and another example of why their business models are bad overall.

It the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make sense to me to think that studios will limit content on one provider and not on the other. That's where competition comes in.. If one service doesn't offer certain content I will go with the one that does and so on.

To studios it's a win win, because if they offer all of their content on all networks, they will have multiple streams of revenue based on the same content, which is basically their wet dream. Encode once, sell everywhere. No packaging, no replication, nothing. Pure profit.

Also, as for quality, I can agree that content is still not at the level of highest quality of physical media (such as Blu-ray) however this will change.

Why I would definitely like for digital downloads and internet based delivery to succeed is because it doesn't have limitations such as physical optical media does. When I say this, I mean we don't have growth limitations.

As PSound says, Any stream to any screen is what online gives us and it can be really whatever you want it to be and there's no cap on the quality when the infrastructure is improved.

A simple example is what happens beyond 1080p? Blu-ray is cemented at 1080p, so if you wanted something better you would have to repurchase all your equipment. With online based delivery there's no such limitation. Software update is all you need (sometimes not even that), the pipes will deliver higher bandwith content to your already existing setup and you get much higher quality.

Just like we had with Youtube, Hulu, Vudu and others. They started off with very low quality content but as time passed (a year or two) they improved their infrastructure, competition happened and they offered HD versions of their videos and it was completely transparent to users. You can clearly see the pattern here.

Now, I'm aware we are still not there with internet speeds to serve full 1080p footage at Blu-ray quality but it will happen and I'm pretty sure much much faster then some people think. One of the major reasons I believe we will see same quality content as Blu-ray and above is because streaming technology, compression/encoding/decoding technologies are progressing rapidly offering same type of quality as Blu-ray (at least in some tests I've seen) at a fraction of the size. If algorithms and compression is advanced you can get superb quality at 8-10mbps.

Sure there will always be those who want "uncompressed" or 50mbps bit rate cause nothing else can do it. But we both know that this type of attitude is minority and really without any relevant logical support. Even today we can see that compressed audio streams and video streams look identical to master (TrueHD, DTS-MA, VC1, AVC), so it's completely realistic to expect improvements and take it one step further.

At the pace things are developing with online delivery I'm very optimistic we are on the right track and within few years all content we watch through online sources and services will look and sound identical to Blu-ray and offer catalogs at our fingertips and continue moving forward to bring us 4K HD and so on without rebuying stuff except maybe TVs.

First of all, I think the studios are letting the multiple services test the water and fail before they take it over completely. With dvds, you need the disc and the distribution. W/ digital, you don't need anyone but the servers and the internet.

Your point about 1080p is not correct. While some content boxes might only need a firmware fix my gues is you will have to replace "storage" boxes. If you want above 1080p you will need a new display device and considering that 1080p doesn't even enjoy 50% of tv ownership, you are looking at an arguement that is 20 years in the future. More than 1080p on a 2" screen???

The whole point is that we live in the here and now. I want quality picture and sound now, not a promise in 5 years. The other thing is my first display device was a 13" b & w tv. I have no interest in reverting back to a 2" screen just because it's portable after seeing the sight of a 98" screen that I can have in my home.
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Bozster View Post

Why would they? Why would they worry about infrastructure and other things running a business like this when there are already established and integrated services that do that. Not sure I follow your reasoning. Netflix will be everywere as it already becoming like that (TVs, players, PCs, consoles etc etc), Vudu has their own boxes and offers the most comprehensive content on any platform.

The point is that studios license movies to all of these services, kick back and get money. Others deal with customer support, infrastructure and so on.

Second thing is, since most of them are going subscription route, I don't see what you lose. It's not like you'll accumulate thousands of dollars of stuff like you would on Blu-ray or any physical media and then not be able to use it. That's the beauty of cloud content and subscriptions. You don't lose anything, you just switch.

Even if you are right, and they do somehow kill Netflix, Vudu and others and offer one other unified service, you'll still just switch and use that and it will be supported by everyone. Either way consumer might lose much less then with optical media/players.

Why would they? For the same reason NF is moving to streaming---they cut out the dvd purchase, the mailer and the USPO, ie, the middlemen.
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by fpconvert View Post

First of all, I think the studios are letting the multiple services test the water and fail before they take it over completely. With dvds, you need the disc and the distribution. W/ digital, you don't need anyone but the servers and the internet.

Exactly.. so? It's a good thing. Less expenses, easire and faster availability and so on. But someone has to manage that, and any reasonable business person knows that it's better to have competition and have other companies manage their services with your content then 10 studio heads deciding what happens. Btw, I don't think that would happen because having one company that deals with all content would be considered monopoly and would be illegal. So in order to avoid all the mentioned problems, it's easier for studios to not even get into that and just outsource service itself to different companies. I mean do you have any idea how much money would take studios to shell out to reach Netflix influence they have now, little less where they'll be 5 years from now. My guess, a crap load and I don't see them really being excited by that.

Hulu is managed by NBC, Disney and I think Universal. And they are already seeing the troubles. Other studios are watching. THe best part for them is, seed content to all services, who survives survives, if they fail, well studios didn't lose anything. They have others. That's the advantage they are looking at.

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Your point about 1080p is not correct. While some content boxes might only need a firmware fix my gues is you will have to replace "storage" boxes. If you want above 1080p you will need a new display device and considering that 1080p doesn't even enjoy 50% of tv ownership, you are looking at an arguement that is 20 years in the future. More than 1080p on a 2" screen???

What's not correct? I"m just saying, if tomorrow we have 100mbps cable standard (which I don't think is that far away to be honest) we can get 4K HD. The point I was making is that with Blu-ray you are unable to get anything like that without repurchasing players, discs. With online delivery you can.

I noted that you would need a new display, that's true, but the best part is that those who don't have those TVs will watch content from the same service that's available for their needs but those who do have 4K TVs for example, will have content available as well without need to buy new equipment (displays aside).

You disagree with that?

Quote:


The whole point is that we live in the here and now. I want quality picture and sound now, not a promise in 5 years. The other thing is my first display device was a 13" b & w tv. I have no interest in reverting back to a 2" screen just because it's portable after seeing the sight of a 98" screen that I can have in my home.

Not sure how supporting growth to online delivery will limit you to 2" screen. I watch 1080p movies now through Vudu on my 106" screen and I'm having really hard time noticing the difference between that and Blu-ray movies I watch. I certainly don't feel I'm watching it on 2" screen.

Second, you say you want to live in here and now. That's great, but why is it a bad thing to support something that's coming and gives us greater convenience. Did you have the same reasoning 4 years ago when Blu-ray was announced and promised things that came in years later?

I don't see people having issues with that?

The point is, online delivery is here and it will continue growing and most likely overcome physical media completely in terms of user preference. We've seen it happen with music and it will happen with movies IMO. Physical media might be still present like DVDs and Blu-rays will be but as time passes by people simply won't have the desire to go back to dealing with discs and going out to get them. It's the future and I'm glad that everyone is starting to support it more and more. At least IMO.

It's actually very reminiscent of Blu-ray start and when companies started supporting it. I can see that happening right now as well.

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post #11 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 05:07 PM
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[quote=Bozster;16846909] Btw, I don't think that would happen because having one company that deals with all content would be considered monopoly and would be illegal.

So are you trying to tell me that ABC streaming its own content is illegal because it is a monopoly. I guess you don't understand what a monopoly is.

I mean do you have any idea how much money would take studios to shell out to reach Netflix influence they have now, little less where they'll be 5 years from now. My guess, a crap load and I don't see them really being excited by that.

All a studio has to do is order NF to cease streaming its product an the game is over

Hulu is managed by NBC, Disney and I think Universal. And they are already seeing the troubles. Other studios are watching. THe best part for them is, seed content to all services, who survives survives, if they fail, well studios didn't lose anything. They have others. That's the advantage they are looking at.

I think I already told you this.

What's not correct? I"m just saying, if tomorrow we have 100mbps cable standard (which I don't think is that far away to be honest) we can get 4K HD. The point I was making is that with Blu-ray you are unable to get anything like that without repurchasing players, discs. With online delivery you can.

BD disc are capable of larger storage capacity then they now hold.

I noted that you would need a new display, that's true, but the best part is that those who don't have those TVs will watch content from the same service that's available for their needs but those who do have 4K TVs for example, will have content available as well without need to buy new equipment (displays aside).

You disagree with that?

Again, 4k content is a decade or more away. Over 50 % are still watching 480i

Not sure how supporting growth to online delivery will limit you to 2" screen. I watch 1080p movies now through Vudu on my 106" screen and I'm having really hard time noticing the difference between that and Blu-ray movies I watch.

But you do notice.

Second, you say you want to live in here and now. That's great, but why is it a bad thing to support something that's coming and gives us greater convenience. Did you have the same reasoning 4 years ago when Blu-ray was announced and promised things that came in years later?

I didn't say i want to, I said I do.

The point is, online delivery is here and it will continue growing...

Yes I agree but right now it is a mess.
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-18-2009, 10:25 PM
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So are you trying to tell me that ABC streaming its own content is illegal because it is a monopoly. I guess you don't understand what a monopoly is.

Nope.. I do understand.. I was just referring to your comment about all studios standing behind one service. That's what you said no? You mentioned they will let others fail and open a service where they will all offer content. Maybe I misunderstood. But if that's the case, then yes, it most likely wouldn't be allowed because it would be a monopoly over services. There are other things happening now in other industries where they want to do services where major providers want to unite and they are most likely won't be allowed to do so.

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All a studio has to do is order NF to cease streaming its product an the game is over

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BD disc are capable of larger storage capacity then they now hold.

Yeah.. but the Pioneer prototype that claimed could've been used on existing players is pretty much vaporware. Nobody has heard anything about it anymore after the format war. So unless they actually show in practice that larger capacity Blu-ray discs will play in existing players, I remain very sceptical. It is most likely that you will have to buy new players to read those additional layers, not to mention a whole new revamp again in replication and people repurchasing discs. None of these issues are present with online content delivery.

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Again, 4k content is a decade or more away. Over 50 % are still watching 480i

Well that's the key. It wouldn't be a decade away if online content delivery continues growing at a pace it is now. Even though it might be smaller percentage per se on yearly basis, the sheer amount of people using it is much larger, so when there's demand, I'm pretty sure we would see it sooner then on Blu-ray and even if it is a decade away, I don't want to follow the old model of having to repurchase everything once higher resolution content appears. That's the whole point of ditching optical media.

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But you do notice.

Barely. I mean in blind test I don't think I would, when I really compare meaning I put in Blu-ray and then watch the same movie on HDX, if I really look, I would notice that some movies are just a tiny bit softer, but if that's today, next year I'm pretty sure this difference will be nonexistent, but my convenience still remains the same.

Quote:
Yes I agree but right now it is a mess.

Right, but just like it was with Blu-ray and within 3 years it got a lot better. Same will happen with online delivery. Problem is that the market players are still being defined and my bet is on Netflix and Amazon along with Xbox Live and Playstation store being full blown content providers with all content available. Netflix and Amazon as subscription based models and PSN and XBL as VOD/Pay-Per-View sources. I still don't know where Vudu will go, but I'm sure they'll be 3rd provider. The only question is if they can match the financial power that Sony and Microsoft have.

So it will all clear out in not distant future IMO.

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