questionshow long before physical media disappears?



But realistically, I think there will always be a place for physical media, especially once blu-ray burners become more affordable.


When people buy something, they want to feel they GOT something. Add to this inertia the fact that certain entities still can't seem to let go of the "make them buy the same thing for every device they own" model and physical media isn't going anywhere.


Agree w/@okham. I don't see physical media going away in the near future. Just like I don't see land lines disappearing either. Near future? My definition: Not until all of us 'oldies' die off. And remember, the 'baby boomers' are just coming into that 'oldie' age. ;-)


I have no problem with digital movies but I need an easier way to watch them on my tv. Until then, blurays for me.


DVDs/CDs will never go away. I just read that on the Sony Betamax website, so it must be true.


They won't go away as long as the digital versions cost more than the physical.


@stile99: While that is certainly true, I have to question if it will be true in the future. Will the people being born today really feel that same way as they grow up? Perhaps they will look see physical media as an inconvenience. CDs? I doubt they will use them. Bluray? Heck, I barely use them. Books? Sure, people like the way they feel, but when someone has grown up with eReaders, the way a book feels will be foreign to them.

I think we are slowly inching towards it, and I think we will all be surprised by the complete and utter lack of physical media in 15-20 years.


Not for a while yet. An average BD release contains 25-50GB of data. Very few people have that kind of bandwidth yet. Still about 20% of the US lacks any kind of terrestrial broadband, so we are a long way before physical media disappears.


remember that burned cds, dvds, and blurays do not last forever. Expect a decade or so out of burned media, if it's decent quality. Audio CDs that I burned in 1999 currently have about a 25% failure rate at being able to be read today. Burned media uses a dye that over time breaks down, whereas "pressed" media that you buy use a different method that should theoretically outlive you. ALL media storage is temporary, even printed words on paper...

Personally, I LIKE TO OWN THE HARD COPY of my music and movies, that way I always have a reliable backup to my digital copies.

I do foresee current media storage devices being replaced by something with even greater capacity, maybe something like the glass storage being developed by Hitachi. The quartz glass can withstand extremely high temps for hours on end, and the data is etched in layers INSIDE the crystals, and can be read with a microscope meaning that you technically wouldn't need a proprietary device to read the data.


Digital media makes so much sense. Nothing to get scratched, lost or stolen. All your stuff is already alphabetized and searchable. It's a matter of time (and I don't think a long time) before the television will be your "entertainment center." You'll be able to download movies, music, books and surf the Internet from your couch using your remote control.


unless someone can guarantee that I will have access 100% of the time to my media from any location on earth, at a high bandwidth, I'll keep my discs and memory cards.

@ohcheri: Your digital collection can be completely wiped out by a simple power surge or a little water...


Remember when vinyl died?


@kamikazeken: And your physical media can be wiped out by one @$$hole breaking into your house or car.

As a techno-savage I don't actually have any digital media but I can certainly see that is the direction we're headed.


In my opinion, kids being born today will generally not purchase physical media in their lifetime. In fact, I'd say the whole concept of owning entertainment content is on its way out. 10 years from now you'll pay a certain flat rate and have unlimited access to most media, sort of like Netflix/Hulu/Prime on steroids. It will be cheaper and much, much more convenient.


other than xbox - where not all titles are available for download (or at least not for a while after they come out) - physical media has pretty much disappeared from my house. I have SD cards in the cameras, but they are all eye-fi, and dump directly to my backup and my computer. I haven't watched a movie on physical media in several years. my old collection is all converted and hosted on my media server, and anything new i get is downloaded, not purchased on disc. music for me went away from disc media almost a decade ago. I'm not necessarily an early adopter - i just never had any love for disc media...


@ohcheri: But if the company that hosts your digital media goes bankrupt or decides to discontinue the service you lose your entire collection. Don't assume that Amazon/Netflix/Hulu/etc will be around forever.

Personally, my entire collection is physical media but saved on to a HTPC.


@ohcheri: In the event of a theft or disaster, insurance pays to replace physical media. If your digital host discontinues service there's no recourse.

At some point in the near future I expect to lose access to some of my digital content because the host (OnLive) is in serious financial trouble.


Technically, it never will, as you have to store it SOMEwhere. Eventually, it boils down to physical media. Be that optical or other.


Streaming is worse environmentally than actually purchasing 'hard' media.


I agree that I think that it will go away at some point, but yes, we're decades out before that will happen.
Our children being born today will not think of physical media in the same way that we do, plain and simple. Same with physical books as mentioned earlier.
I still like to buy blu-ray movies and the such because of the higher quality over what's available for streaming right now. This too will change as bandwidth continues to increase.
I also keep an online backup of my data, but that's all I use it for BACKUP. My primary is running off of my computer or NAS right now.


My one thought being is that what was the life span of records, 8-tracks, Cassettes, CD's, MP3, Video Cassettes, Laser Disk, DVD, HD DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital Movies. I think judging those time spans will help determine where we are in the lifecycle.


@kylemittskus: My new blu-ray player (part of a Samsung home theater system I bought last week) will play movies, music and other media in a variety of formats via USB. I tried MP3s and AVIs on a thumb drive and on a 2T external HD and they played fine. It also can get online wirelessly and surf the net, although disappointingly it couldn't play videos from NBC or USA's websites. But it can access and play Netflix and YouTube. It's going to be interesting to learn all the features of this device and how I can use it for various media. That said, at the same time I bought this home theater, I bought the five seasons of Buffy and the four seasons of Angel I was missing (my Whedon-verse is now complete!) and the latest season of Supernatural. I have had plenty of HD failures and troubles with DRM, I am not letting go of my physical media any time soon. (Sam's has DVD box sets of Buffy and Angel for $9.98 a season and Supernatural for $14.98 a season in case anyone's interested.)