Wired just published a very good article about the new hi-def formats that are the standard candidates for tomorrow’s DVD players: Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. The article argues that these formats will never fly, since we most probably will download our movies rather than shipping them on pieces of plastic.
Of course Wired are totally right. In case you have any doubts after reading the article, consider this:
The Compact Disc was launched in 1979, and had a capacity of 650 MB of data. The DVD arrived in 1997, being capable of holding 8.5 GB. You’ll see the first HD-DVDs this year, maxing out at 30 GBs of data.
Summary: In 25 years, the data capacity of “pieces of plastic” has increased 46 times.
The first groundbreaking modem for phone lines was the 300 bps Hayes Smartmodem, in 1981. There has been a lot of development since then ;) Last year, ADSL2+ was widely available, giving the end user 24 Mbps.
Summary: In 23 years, the data capacity of consumer WAN networking has increased 80.000 times.
Of course our DVD players will end up supporting at least one of the new formats, but it will not matter. As a commercial phenomenon for carrying movies to our living rooms, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are definitely DOA.