back to article Jobs: Blu-ray wins HD format war then loses to downloads

Blu-ray Disc beat HD DVD, but who cares? Downloads, not physical media, are the future of HD content consumption. So said Apple CEO Steve Jobs this week, a comment that's a distant echo of allegations made by Transformers director Michael Bay last year. Bay grumbled that the HD format war was, in part, Microsoft's fault, the …


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  1. Alastair Dodd

    360 also supports Divx

    and a wider standard of codecs there included - PS3 only pretty much supports about 10% of Divx

    Oh and Bay is an idiot

  2. Chris Morrison
    Jobs Horns

    You are kidding me?

    Tell me Jobs didn't say

    "in the new world order"

    That man makes me physically sick!

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Eddie Edwards
    Jobs Horns

    Reality distortion for teh win

    A single-layer BD disc holds 27GB of data and can deliver it at 54Mb/s. I don't know quite when we're getting fibre-optic into every home, but this will not stream on DSL and even on an uncontended 8Mb connection it's going to take seven and a half hours to download. This is hardly competitive with driving to Blockbuster and paying a couple of squid ... unless of course you're warezing it.

  5. Steve Sutton


    Downloads didn't (and currently won't win), DRM failed. If/While downloads include DRM, they too will be issued with a voucher entitling them to claim their fail.

  6. Liam
    Thumb Down


    so, when most people cannot even stream youtube videos they expect us to be able to stream 50GB in 2 hours? (bluray quality)

    where do they think all these 10mb lines come from? i barely even hit my 2mb connection most of the time, and a lot of ISPs are trying to get bandwidth throttling! im sure they will be happy when over a weekend i download 200gb legally in renting 2 films!

    maybe in 5 years downloads MIGHT be viable but until then it physical disks we want. plus, how the hell can i take a movie round to watch at someone's house?

  7. GettinSadda

    The 'net is not yet ready for download HD

    Fact 1: If it were possible to cram HD content into less than 8GB at a quality that viewers would want, then there would be no need for HD-DVD or Blu-Ray, the content would fit on standard dual layer DVD media. (Please don't say "ah, yes, but with compression system X running at Ymbps it only takes..." because all current systems of this type still reduce the quality to lower than an upscaled SD-DVD when running at the rates people bandy about)

    Fact 2: The 'net is already struggling to cope with current levels of bandwidth usage; see

    Fact 3: Due to the lack of bandwidth available many people are currently on DSL plans that charge by the MB or GB (Mine charges £1 per GB over a very low basic allowance)

    Fact 4: A significant proportion of broadband users have 8mbps or lower connections - it may be reasonable to assume no higher than 4mbps

    So, if the 'net could cope with a huge rise in downloads without grinding to a halt then even the very lightest HD movie (8GB) would take well over 4 hours to download and would probably cost about £8 in bandwidth charges on top of the cost to buy or rent the title. and something that requires the full capacity of a dual-layer Blu-Ray would take longer than a day to download and cost an extra £50 in bandwidth!

    I think I will stick with physical media for the moment!

  8. Mister Cheese

    Which has the higher bandwidth?

    1. A domestic broadband line (max 20Mb/s if you're lucky)

    2. A post-office van full of blue-ray disks (a few thousand Tb/hour)

    Downloads have their place, but the required data for a 2 hour HD movie (20GB for decent quality? just a guess btw) will take many hours to retrieve before you can watch it. And then you'll get blasted by your broadband provider for exceeding your unlimited monthly download limit...

  9. BigTim
    Jobs Horns

    M$'s own HD-DVD add on works on Mac

    Doesn't it? Sure I've heard of people plugging them in to find them recognised (as data drives but no installed software to play the movie).

    Frankly though the 5Mbs 720p video with 5.1 of the Apple TV downloads doesn't compare to the 20Mbs (or higher) 1080p with HD sound encoding on the discs you can rent for a similar amount or buy for a few quid more.

  10. 4a$$Monkey
    Jobs Horns

    Well he would say that wouldn't he.

    "Downloads, not physical media, are the future of HD content consumption. So said Apple CEO Steve Jobs this week"

    And no doubt iTunes store will be the place to buy them.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I like the idea of downloads in theory, but I don't think the bandwidth is there to deliver HD movie downloads in a reasonable time for mass markets of the sort of size that would compare with disc sales. And I can't see much investment going into infrastructure in the near future unfortunately, at least not on the sort of scale that would be required, so unless theres some amazing future networking technology out there about to be discovered I think discs will be around for a while.

  12. Frank Bough


    "Blu-ray Disc beat HD DVD, but who cares?"

    Jobs should certainly care, because we'll be using Apple workstations to edit and produce those very same Blu-Ray discs (or we will, if Apple ever gets its corporate finger out and upgrades DVD-SP).

    Right now, there's nothing that downloads can do to compete with the AV excellence of a simple BD. That will change, but what do we lose by using the best tech until download tech matures?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps, but the quality isn't there yet.

    I can't comment about Apple's service but I have used the Xbox 360 video rental scheme for HD movies. The movies they offer are fairly heavily compressed (Zodiac is less than 7GB) and would fit easily onto a dual-layer DVD. They only come with a crappy stereo soundtrack too.

    This is not really the same thing as you get from either HD-DVD or BluRay. My experience with Zodiac was that the quality wasn't especially amazing until you return to SD - you have to see the two back-to-back to be impressed at all. About 5 minutes separation is all it takes for your eyes to become accustomed to either resolution.

    Perhaps consumers don't want the quality though - in which case why bother at all, let's just stick with DVDs

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don’t see it myself....

    Sure for movie rentals it’s a great idea and will probably take off some day, but only when the broadband network is up to it. And I don’t think it is yet, not for HD anyway. Aside from rentals I can’t see downloads replacing physical media any time soon, film buffs like to have a ‘collection’ in the same way that people like me still have record collections (despite owning an Ipod).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HD bitrates

    Why isn't anyone pointing out that the Apple TV can only do 5 Mbps video, when HD-DVD and Blu-ray both do up to 40 Mbps, and HD satellite signals are typically 15 Mbps+ ?

    Not that the UK broadband infrastructure could handle lots of people downloading full HD content, of course...

  16. David Haworth

    appletv and downloadable movies

    I watched they keynote and steves talk about the future of the appletv and I have to say, it looks great. I currently rent dvd's by post, but the ability to rent them online looks like a feature I could easily use (esp if the new look appletv can be hacked to accept other codecs, as the last one I beleive could.

    I could certainly see someone like my dad using this to rent movies (if I could convince him to up his internet connection), esp if the BBC go ahead with their plans to put iplayer on the appletv.

    Appletv could easily become a major source of HD material for all those HD ready tv's that people have bought but I have a concern about the quality of material. The nice thing about Bluray and HDdvd is that they can put extremely high bitrate movies on the discs easily and we benefit from the increase in quality if our tv's are sufficiently good. also we get uncompressed 5.1 audio, or lossless with the new codecs from dolby and dts.

    what will appletv give us in this regard? it's likely that the bitrate will be scaled back quite a way to make downloads faster and to use less bandwidth, which means thyat the quality will suffer. a movie on bluray can easily be 20G+, I'd be surprised if even a high def film coming into an appletv was over 2G which would be less than 10% of the filesize.

    Also, steve-o was advertising 5.1 dolby digital I think, so no lossless audio either.

    lets not forget that blurays and hddvd offer up to 1080p resolution, whereas the appletv is a 720p only device.

    appletv is undoubtedly a good idea, but it feels like we're heading into the mp3 of audio. it's more convenient, but worse in quality. probably not sifficiently worse that more people will care, but worse nevertheless.

    I worry that perhaps bluray will end up being a niche for AV nuts only and low bitrate downloads will rule the day.

    thoughts on a postcard?


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Downloads are still years away

    It's all well and good Jobs predicting HD Downloads will kill physical media but:

    1. Most people are capped on their Net usage, so large downloads are a niche for now. Even US giants like Time Warner are mooting capped downoads.

    2. It takes hours to get a single movie, and that's at the lowest HD standard, 720p. How long will a 1080p monster with lossless audio take? Even the 100mb links for Kent aren't going to be sufficient.

    3. People still like to keep a phsycial object and own movies. Box sets do well for a reason! If your hard drive goes down, or the retailer of your download goes down, DRM kills your ownership of anything.

    4. Rentals via the likes of Tescos and Amazon are far superior - for £10 a month I get unlimited movies sent to my door, that I can keep for as long as I like, and get the next batch when I return them. Downloads are expensive, and expire after 30 days unless you start watching them, in which case, they go after a day!!

    Frankly I cant see Downloads taking off for movies and TV shows in quite the same way as MP3s, and even then, MP3s have done little to 'destroy' CD sales.

    At best, Downloads are in their infancy, and at worst, will only ever be a extra, convenient way to get rentals, rather than replacing DVDs and Blu-Ray.

  18. Richard Spooner

    Come on, Movie downloads are quite the giant killer

    I think it’s a little early to claim download movie rentals will have a major impact on physical media purchases. It’s also quite dangerous to keep quoting “the movie buff” as the barometer for long term success for any format. After all HD-DVD was said to be the movie buff’s format!

    It is long term, mass consumer purchases that make the success of anything, even more so with media and movie sales. Look at how the PS3 in the living room has driven BR disc sales. Consumers have a major psychological link to handing money over and having something in their hand in return. Rentals aside I give you that what with Virgin and Sky service, but rentals alone are not going to kill physical media sales.

    Online movie rentals will give the consumer a much wider choice from where to make the popcorn purchase, but DVD, Blu-ray et al aren’t going to be killed off by them. After all, to the mass market consumer the first thing they will see is that they have to buy a dedicated set top box first and increase their broadband bandwidth each month. A ‘massive’ up front cost only to have their movie purchases vanish after a few days. That’s a BIG psychological barrier to overcome for most consumers, and Microsoft or Apple claiming the HD disc war was over before it started is bollocks. For this very reason.

    It’s like saying Blockbusters was going to kill off media sales for the high street. Which didn’t happen.

    Think about it this way, not as the IT geeks we all are reading this page who buy technology religiously, but as the every day consumer with a household to run and budget for….

    Mom or Dad are shopping and little Johnny picks up a Xbox 360. “Can we buy this so I can rent a Disney film to watch the weekend?” The parent can see the BR disc for £15-£20, DVD for £9 or pay £200+ for something that will delete the movie in 48 hours….. What would you buy if you were a mass market consumer faced with the same situation?

  19. Robert Long

    Oh, yeah?

    Let's all take lessons from a purveyor of plastic tat why don't we?

    What's the penetration of broadband that's fast enough to download HD movies "instantly"? I make it roughly 0%. Even if you're prepared to wait for a few hours to be able to watch your movie of an evening the coverage of even that level of broadband is still a tiny minority of homes.

    Steve's confused the fantasy land in his head with the real world again; come back in 10 years.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    I'm all for downloads

    While the infrastructure is not there for this to be mainstream, I can't wait for it to happen - and for individuals it's already do-able.

    Look, I use torrents for all my TV, Movies and Music. I have done for three years, and have been a user of music filesharing for a decade now. It's not about the 'free' price-tag (and shows that really do it for me get a DVD purchase, even tho I don't ever watch them and usually bin them). I do it because it's simple, the quality is DVD, the choice is more than wide, and the ocmmunity efforts of torrenters puts the customer service and foresight of any large company to shame.

    The moment networks/music industry start doing this, I'm on board and a more 'legal' consumer. But they drag their feet and do it in a restrictive/we've-got-no-clue-what-we-are-doing way that it would be laughable if it wasn't so embarassing.

  21. Ian

    I use the 360's movie download service

    But it's only 720p and it's something I have to leave downloading overnight before I can watch it the next day.

    So there is a market for download services, but 1080p on demand is still a long way off, particularly with the UK's archaic broadband network and the goverment and BT's lack of willingness to bring us into the 21st century along with the likes of Sweden, Japan, South Korea to name a few.

  22. Iain

    That's a bit unfair, Richard

    You're asking us to compare a £20 BluRay disc with a £200+ XBox 360, but not factoring in the £300+ BluRay player for some reason.

    Nobody is going to buy a 360 just to rent HD movie downloads, but they might already have one for playing games on.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Once again proving

    Steve Jobs is an idiot with no concept of what happens in the real world.

  24. Dave Goodbourn
    Thumb Up

    Lets look at the bigger picture

    For the mass majority of people who don't have a HD setup at home (TV, Sky-HD, Blu-Ray Player/HD-DVD player etc…), movie download rentals in SD is very appealing. I think what this release gives us is very interesting. We can all download video on our computers, but to watch them on our TV in the living room environment is much more interesting.

    I don’t think the ability to download films will ever kill the DVD/Blu-Ray/HD-DVD market. If I love a film and want it for my library, then I’ll but it. But if I missed it at the cinema and just want to rent the film, then being able to download it, instead of getting in my car, drive to the local blockbusters/video rental store seems a good idea to me.

    Internet speeds and usage limits is an issue but providers are going to have to adapt to the new idea that more and more people are going to be downloading more than just 1Gb per month.

    As and when broadband speeds increase, compression gets better, and devices like the AppleTV support 1080p and uncompressed audio should I then go out and spend £10k+ on a decent 1080p TV or projector with an AV receiver that is capable of handling all this information in my perfectly setup living room.

    Until then, I’m more than happy with SD on a decent CRT TV and renting films whether it is downloading using AppleTV or going to blockbusters.

    It’s all about the choice these days. If you want it, great, if not, no one is forcing you to buy it! Some people will only be happy when they can play the original film rolls in their private cinema with 10.1 DTS audio. But we can’t all fit one of those in our 2 bed flat in Camden, now can we?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares

    HD in either format is not selling well at the moment, people are happy with DVD, it's cheap and universal, DVD has no problem with getting a movie on the wrong format. It's also at premium many people don't want to pay, £20 for a HD or £5 on DVD, you need to really want the HD version to pay the difference.

    The general public are still pretty happy with VHS quality, DVD is better, HD is far better, but the rival formats are leading to people not bothering and adopting a wait and see.

    For all the industry bleating on about sales , I know no-one who has bought a HD player, apart from 1 person who bought a PS3, and that bluray player in that was irrelevent, he wanted the PS3 regardless of the drive it used.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Overexeggeration of the advent of digital distribution

    What Jobs failed to mention about Apple's iTunes HD movies is that they're only encoded in 720p, half the resolution of Blu-ray, which encodes all film content at 1080p (Full HD). The result is a picture which is only half as sharp, half as colorful, and half as beautiful as Blu-ray. Furthermore, only some of the iTunes HD movies have surround sound, and those that do only make use of the archaic Dolby Digital technology. Anyone who has listened to a PCM, Dolby TrueHD, or DTS-HD Master Audio track knows that there is simply nothing that can compare to a lossless/uncompressed audio track.

    I hope someone sends him a copy of 'Ratatouille' on Blu-ray soon to show him what True HD really looks like and that not all HD is created equally.

  27. jai

    @Chris Morrison

    re: You are kidding me?

    no, i don't think he did say it. that quote appears to be taken from the article by Jim Goldman, but in the article it is not as a quote but in Goldman's words

  28. Mage Silver badge

    HD Downloads

    One Blu Disk uses two months of Typical Cap. Of course SJ probabily has fibre and doesn't live in real world. The MBA is designed to be sat on under the newspaper :-) (Of course SJ doesn't beleive that either as he thinks no one reads.)

  29. Steve Medway

    Does Leopard Support Blu-ray/HD-DVD

    Hey Tony stop being so lazy. The answer is already out there.

    Try using google along with the words Leopard and xbox 360 DVD drive........ support YES - encryption = NO.

  30. Edward Noad
    Thumb Down

    General Public = General Ignorance

    I used to work as a projectionist. Many years ago, while explaining to a friend about the process of physically assembling the film from it's reels, he asked me why we didn't use DVDs. "They're digital, surely they're higher quality?" And he was a fairly techno-literate person too. These days I hear people saying how good their Freeview looks now it's Hi-Def when they've just replaced their TV. They just assume it's all Hi-Def and don't know / can't see that it isn't.

    DVDs looked excellent on CRT displays. It's what they were designed for and it hid the inherent quality problems DVDs have always had. I remember people complaining about the low quality playback PCs were capable of before anyone saw through the marketing and realised that DVDs were not the crystal-clear quality everyone assumed they were.

    Even DVD upscaling is nothing new. Any DVD software that plays back 576/480 content on your 768/1024/1200/higher monitor is at least a basic upscaler. DVD playback software has been developing more tricks over the years to squeeze the best picture from DVDs they can. We've got screens in our front rooms now that benefit from these techniques but they *still* look worse than CRTs running DVDs because DVDs were never designed to be viewed like this in the first place.

    Now we've got another standard that claims "crystal clear quality" just like the last one only it's cashing in on a technical problem that "The Advance Of Technology" itself called into existance. Seeing as how most of the public doesn't comprehend what that means, does this whole HD buzz seem to anyone else like yet another attempt to move the goalposts and force*ahem*persuade us to buy new hardware to replace our "poor" quality current kit?

    Capitalism + Marketing + Idiotic Masses = License To Print Money

    And celluloid *still* looks and sounds better than anything you can get at home.

  31. Richard Spooner

    Oh for goodness sake...

    Iain, why on earth would I be bashing the 360 just by failing to mention the cost of a Blu-Ray player? Read the bloody point I made! The point was about the up front costs REGARDLESS of platform you idiot. I mentioned standard DVD as well for crying out loud Iain! Learn to read. And for the record, my nephew tried to convince his Dad to buy him a 360 using the movie downloads argument.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jobs > you

    Even if Steve Jobs is an idiot, he's still a billionaire idiot. I'd hate to be in his shoes.

  33. Richard Lea
    Thumb Down

    Not for Me

    The problem is storing it, i recorded the transporter 2 from Sky in HD and on a box with 200GB it took up 7%.

    In the end i deleted it after i watched it, to free up the space but had the urge last weekend (2 months after it was deleted) to watch again but of course i couldn't

    As much as i like the idea of digital downloads, i would rather have the physical media that i can dig out and watch again and again while only paying once for

    So NO you can keep your digital downloads i want a case to show off to people all the movies i own

  34. Alex Rose

    @Dave Goodbourn

    I think you need to take a trip to Currys Dave, I picked up a 50" 1080p plasma TV with upscaling HDMI surround sound DVD amplifier thingumybob with a 5 year warranty thrown in for £1500. That still leaves me £8,500+ to buy a Blu-ray player by your reckoning!

  35. Anonymous Coward

    only real suitable use of HD download is...

    for pr0n. The quality would be brilliant and the movies would only need to be around 20-30 minutes

  36. David Cornes

    All the same

    "Steve Jobs is an idiot with no concept of what happens in the real world."

    But his world has still made him frickin richer than pretty much the rest of us put together... :'(

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Also at MacExpo

    Jobs announces Apple are to launch the SEP field. When questioned further about his idea that everyone will soon be getting all movies by download he replied 'The SEP field will solve all the problems. Bandwith issues, the billions in investment needed to lay fibre to all homes and ensure all routers on the internet are capable of MPLS, the lower quality of downloads, end user storage capacity for the hundreds of movies they will want to own all solved by the SEP field.'

    He then went on to predict that most of these issues will be mute as large screen HD TVs are a thing of the past and everyone will be watching films on their own 'Personal Multimedia Unit' with a massive 3.5inch screen and headphones to make the experience more suited to the individual. He then went on to say 'That's why we brought out the iphone, to give us a headstart in this new market and itunes will be at the leading edge of providing the content. Why would you want to watch movies with your friends and family any more, having to listen to them talking over the movie, asking stupid questions about what is happening when you can plug your headphones in and be in a world of your own'

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    RE Jobs > you

    He is very clever in one respect. He managed to make all the other idiots believe his products are worth the stupid amounts he charges for them and keep handing cash hand over fist to him everytime he wants them to.

  39. Sam
    Thumb Up

    Physical media.

    Is here to stay I believe.

    However I would happily rent/buy a movie online and download it, I don't care about 1080p, I'm happy with 480.

    And yes Blu rays are 50gb or so, but the movies aren't. Cut out all that extra crap which they could save for a 'special edition physical copy' and it slices the movies down in size a fair bit (check your local warezing outlet for the sizes of the movies and I am not talking about rips here).

    On top of that I moved from the UK to Canada about 2 1/2 years ago and the slowest speed connection I've found (with shaw cable) thats not 'lite' is 7mbps I think, atm I pay an extra 5 quid for 10mbps with a 100gig a month cap which I always pull a solid 1200KBs.

    I'd be happy to wait X hours than pay the gas to drive 45 mins down the highway to get to a decent movie theatre only to have sticky floors, children laughing/crying and that guy that sits behind you that always has comments that make you want to slap him.

  40. Joe K

    Apple are irrelevant

    The real holders of the HD cards are Sky and Telewest/Virgin.

    All this download crap is archaic compared to buying a movie off FilmFlex or Sky's HD video-on-demand service and having it stream to you without bother.

    Apple, or microsoft, nor anyone else, will be a real player compared to our usual telly providers.

  41. Iain

    Do calm down, Richard.

    I can't help the actions of your nephew (who, I rather suspect, was merely using video downloads to justify a new games console for himself). But I can say that the cost of media + player is smaller for the 360 download service than it is for BluRay rental, and that's the only point I was trying to make. For that matter, a 360 costs about the same as a Sky HD box, so you can't get your HD movies cheaper that way, either.

    DVD players are ubiquitous now, even if, since they're not HD, they're not strictly comparable to the matter at hand. But there are more 360s out there than PS3s plus standalone players (for either HD format) combined. So even if the market for downloads is restricted to those who already own the machine, it's bigger than that for any other HD delivery system.

  42. xconan
    IT Angle

    right on NO as pay for monthly rates

    Bandwidth these days are expensive and will tend to get more expensive since ISP will cap the usage rates because of p2p and find more ways to make money. Like TW that is experimenting with usage rate in Texas, broadband being experimenting with like cell phone bills on minutes (but xbits/s on isp) and telecomm regulations governing boundaries to prevent leeching; it is unlikely that users will download for free like yesterday in the coming future. If usage rate billing sticks people are going to be charged for mbits/s so people will rather stick to whats important like updating their OSes, firewall, and save the rest for browsing and watching small video clips rather than the whole movie just like reality tv. 2nd even with digital files for some reason sometimes even the dvds look better than the compressed digital files.

  43. Jason Shave

    HD is too expensive

    I do believe the internet will eventually become the delivery point for the mass majority of media, be it music or video. You'll have a deposit on-line where you pay for the bytes you consume and your stuff is stored there rather than on a shelf in you home, however at this point in time the networks cannot get 'content' to you on request instantaneously it takes too long to download so we're a way off from that type of environment.

    Many people like to own a physical products hence the huge industry set up to sell DVD's and CD's, owning the DVD means you can watch it and all the extra features anytime you please, you can transcode it for mobile devices like an iPOD for use when travelling or encode it and store it on your PC.

    So the HD war is finally over, I like many others have not been interested in paying through the nose for HD, the TV's are expensive the players are expensive, the media is expensive, the SKY box is insanely expense, the SKY HD subscription is expensive, I think you get the idea. So as an owner of several hundred DVD's, who by the way bought most of the films again after owning the VHS version. I thinks I'll just wait for my JVC DLP rear projection screen and upscaling DVD player to die and then move to a datapacket world rather than going out and getting the films all over again in HD. Well at least until the price drops significantly that is.

  44. Roberto Villegas

    So it's over?

    So all the studio's have turned coat and backed bluray?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HD Content

    30 minutes of HD 1080i content compressed with ACC and H264 takes up about 200meg when ripped from TV.

    Course that's anime so fewer colours so double it.

    Sure it's not an iso but hey - who cares?

  46. David Garon
    Jobs Halo


    I couldn't believe most of the comments on this issue until I remembered this was a UK site. Is it possible that you don't have Cable Internet service there? Is it possible that no one picked up on Jobs saying that with the new AppleTV your movies are streamed directly to the TV and start playing (regardless of how high the resolution is) in 30 seconds or less.

    Secondly, why do so many people find it necessary to vilify someone like Steve Jobs? Yes, he's aggressive, demanding, profit driven, and inspirational - to me, all the attributes that have made him successful, and a major hero in many people's minds. To the people in this thread who downright hate him, all I can say is GET OVER IT. Your negativity will come back to bite you in the ass!

  47. Herby

    It is all about bandwidth

    Just remember...Netflix has delivered quite a bit of it using the postal service, and it works out quite well.

    Or as Carl Sagan said "Billions and billions".

    Downloads can't compete with physical media. The physical media is getting better (9 track tapes to BluRay discs) than non physical media (300 bps modems to DSL speeds). A 767 (like the one that just crashed at LHR) loaded to the gills with BluRay discs is so far ahead it isn't pitiful. Latency is another problem, but for most movies that isn't a problem.

  48. LaeMi Qian

    As was said when this "downloads will replace media" thing came up for DVD...

    ...a rental-shop delivery guy/girl on a bike with a stack of disks in the basket has considerably higher bandwidth than most people have access to today.

    I believe something was also said about home-delivery fast-food services and disk rental shops combining delivery sources - I see "order a family pizza pack, get a delivered movie from Such-such for $XX.xx" leaflets in my mail box fairly often. (I prefer to walk across town to the rental shop myself as I need the exercise, though :-)

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, it's 1995...

    ...and someone says, "Downloads are the future of music!"

    Well, obviously this is bullshit. The data rates are ridiculous - a single CD is as big as most hard drives and there's no way in hell you can encode it and have it decode in real time!

    Plus, who the hell would ever think of downloading 40 *MEGABYTES* of stuff? Christ, are you nuts? Even if you have the best connection available it'll take a week!

    Obviously this talk of downloaded songs is crap. And it's pretty clear that physical media give you everything you'd want anyway. Case closed, people! Digital music is dead!

  50. Mr Pedantic

    proof by hat?

    You say "hat's prove sufficient" - since when do belonging to hat prove sufficient for anything?

    I thought english-speaking journalists were supposed to have a good knowledge of grammar?

  51. Sean Baggaley

    HD is pointless for movies.

    The human eye is optimised for edge-detection, NOT detail! 90% of what we _think_ we see is just interpolated by our brains. The eye simply cannot process 1920 x 1080p HDTV images at 60Hz+ at anything like the detail the HD-pimps like to suggest it can.

    The Hollywood fad for jump-cut, hand-held cameras, whip-pans, crash-zooms, etc. in their action flicks are the worst use for HD ever conceived. The vast majority of the public will simply not see much difference in image quality between an SD version and its HD counterpart.

    HD works best when the camera moves slowly and lingers on subjects long enough for the eye to pick up on the detail. In other words: some sports, documentaries, slow-paced movies and certain news / factual content formats, like "The Weather Channel".

    (And don't forget that 99% of the world's media companies' archived content is going to be in the older SD format. HD is going to be an expensive move and this makes the risk-averse producers less likely to go out on a limb. Don't be surprised if the BBC spends most of the next few years remaking all their 'classic' period dramas.)

  52. Richard Spooner

    Missed my point

    Iain, I agree entirely with you about the wider user base of the 360 and that it is a very viable base for HD movies rentals for Microsoft and box’ owners. But you did entirely miss my point. The installed 360 user base you seem fixated on because you thought I was 360 bashing, is nothing to do with Steve Jobs and the nonsense of streaming movies rental killing disc media any time soon. Oh and yes, my nephew was indeed trying to manipulate a new console, and despite the fact that he was probably onto something in terms of cost effectiveness, the big price tag is what put his dad off. That was obvious in what I said, so forgive my wry smile at your patronising pat on my head dear boy.

    The point I made, and everyone else here, is that Joe public, the weekend supermarket warrior with family in tow, will see that they can pay £200+ for an Apple box, Xbox or PS3, or WHATEVER isn’t a Sky or Virgin box, to rent movie downloads. Or they can pay £7 for the DVD which is for keeps. Probably less than that. That immediate price difference is a massive psychological barrier that Steve Jobs just cannot comprehend. The up front costs to the average consumer of the Apple, Xbox, PS3 or BT HD movies services is high and unjustifiable for them. Regardless of the cost effectiveness that is clear to you and I, and most reading Reg no doubt.

    If people already have HD source boxes installed then it's yet another option for them, but let us be honest with one another regardless of the tit for tat, they are Sky and Virgin boxes by and large and these will continue to corner the streaming movie rental market for many years. It doesn't matter that a Sky box costs £200, the same as an Apple box, 360 starter pack, or second hand PS3, to Joe they are luxuries. Sky or cable boxes are more tangible and acceptable because they get standard TV services as well.

    Put that next to the ever falling costs of DVD's that can be held in the hand and cherished forever (why did you think I was inferring DVD players weren’t ubiquitous?!), and Steve is dreaming if he thinks online HD movie rental, from Apple at least, will be the holy grail over physical media. And that is totally down to the standard consumer, the love of the physical media and that three figured sum they will have to fork out right away if they want the “new Apple TV thing”. Or “BT thing”. Or “360 movie thing”. Or “PS3 TV box thing”.

    Granted, the mention of BR disc was premature in my original point without a doubt as the players are still as pricey, but included to illustrate the point that even the price of discs are dropping at rate enough for people to want to buy more and think “I’m not spending over £200 just to rent the HD movie when I can own it for this much”.

    That was the point! I could swear at you. But that’s just childish, so I will be far more mature and content myself with sticking my tongue out at the screen….

  53. J

    @David Garon

    "I couldn't believe most of the comments on this issue until I remembered this was a UK site. Is it possible that you don't have Cable Internet service there?"

    Well, I wonder where you do live. I live in the US, and do have cable (supposedly 8 M). So, all the comments still apply, no? Oh, and that's because I'm back in the city. Six months ago I was 30 miles away, like so many people here, and all you get there is the telephone line.

    Re: So, it's 1995...

    Yep. Wait until 2018 to watch you movies then... Were you trying to be funny or just missed the point of the many comments above? We might have such bandwidth broadly available some day, but what matters is that we do not have it NOW, or in the near future as far as we can see.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Whatever Jobs is smokin' . . .

    . . . I want some! Wow. I'd have to say this guy is dreaming in technicolour for frickin' sure.

    All these pie-in-the-sky dillusions of his -- does he honestly think we are all made of money and are ALL on hold -- WAITING -- for his next BIG thing?

    Makes me somewhat embarrassed to say I use a Mac for my work.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iTunes HD in 720p? not 1080p like blu

    Majority of the cheap LCD tv's in the US are only capable of displaying in 720p or 1080i unless people opt in for 1080p capable telly. Consumers in the US are very frugal when it comes to disposable income products that cost a lot instead of incremental costs.

  56. soaklord


    Just curious... How many people that have commented here own a SACD player... OR DVD-A player for that matter. Who won that format war? No really, who won? I can remember, I just know they were the future of audio... Now that I think about it... I can not remember the last time I saw either format available as a media.

  57. Greg
    Jobs Horns

    Dont bother comparing music to movies

    Downloading music files less than 10mb is one thing, but downloading Hi-Def movies is another. Job's is clearly out of his mind if he thinks quality movie downloading is a reality at the present time. A prime example of Job's "Reality distortion field"

  58. Josh
    Paris Hilton

    If Steve Jobs said the sky was blue

    El Reg would be full of haters vehemently denying it. I'm beginning to think the reality distortion field is more a case of projection.

  59. Frank Albu


    Its perfect job for me after a couple of years.... so try on job hosting

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    your all sticking your heads in the sand

    How many of you actually have HD tv's or services to supply HD content?

    In the UK Sky are the only broadcaster actually supplying a choice of HD content which is 1080i Virgin only have 1 HD channel. No one anywhere is broadcasting 1080p due to the bandwidth and other technical issues.

    just to set the facts: appletv is capable of delivering 720p/1080i at 60hz ( 720p shows more detail per hz than 1080i, 1080i requires less bandwidth than 720p (transmission hence why sky and others broadcast this), most tv's less than 50 inches have to scale any input to their native resolution, so showing a 1080p source on a less than 50 inch panel defeats the point of all that extra detail as it is digitally smudged in the scaling, 1080p movies play at 24 fps.

    I have an appletv with a few additions from and happily watch movies and shows. The picture quality is superior to the rubbish that i got from Virgin media and on a par to sky HD movies and i never have to go hunting for the disk someone borrowed without asking. It's like an ipod for films. btw my 8Mbs adsl from sky costs £5 per month for 40GB usage (about 10-15 HD downloads) or i can upgrade to unlimited for £10.

    Downloading movies is definitely the legal way forward and, judging by how peers and seeds there are for popular torrents, hundreds of thousands of people globally are already downloading the latest movies or tv shows in HD.

    HD downloads are already here, just no one has succeeded in commercializing it!!

  61. Thomas Hedberg

    Movie downloads is nice, but..

    For rental is would be nice - when bandwidth and simular is sorted out in 5-10 years.

    But DRM is an issue - Fortuently the music business is slowly learning it now and have started to sell music without DRM, but the problem will be the same with movies. I dont think Hollywood get this yet, since it is implementing even stronger DRM now.

    Who would buy a movie you could not take with you or is locked to a limited number of devices? I doubt Hollywood will allow non-restricted files, but I would not consider buying any files I cant play on all devices.

    Rental is fine - for owning a movie I want a industry standard media I can bring along.

  62. John H Woods Silver badge

    @Alex Rose: 1080p 50" plasma for 1500?

    Hi Alex,

    You have bought a plasma which can accept a 1080p signal but which only has 768 lines (and therefore can only display 720p natively). I think. Or your Currys is different from everybody elses? Do tell.

  63. chris

    I'll stick to 700Mb .avi files thanks

    Given that I'm only going to watch most things once on a laptop using some 15 quid head phones, I don't need high def/surround sound. I can download HD/blueray stuff, but they've effectively made it copy protected already, I don't need a 28gig version of the film!

  64. John H Woods Silver badge

    @Alex Rose

    Nope you're right. Bloke in Currys told me you couldn't get a FULL hd plasma for less than 5k and the LG (ok it's LG, but ...) 50" is on their website for 1500. Why do we even talk to the blokes in these shops?

    Nevertheless, one still can't download a BD quality film to play on such a beast in reasonable time on uk broadband.

  65. Trevor
    Paris Hilton

    Try this for size and quality

    Try this for size and quality, don't believe me. Comment after you view it.

    Divx HD hi resolution encoding at 0.5Mb/Second, 30Mb per minute, making for a 90 minute movie at 2.7Gb, a lot lower than the sizes mentioned above. Download cost to me would be NZ$2.70 to download (I pay exactly NZ$1.024 per 1024 Mb)

    # 1920 x 816Resolution

    # 63 mbFile size

    Personally I am a fan of H264/aac .MP4 format as being better than Divx, but that's only my opinion.

  66. Dan
    Jobs Halo

    Other parallels to 1995...

    Actually this whole format war reminds me of a similar escapade in the first half of the nineties. Sensing the need for something else other than CD to deliver music – ideally something more portable, and that allowed recording, but at similar quality to CD – Sony developed MiniDisc and Phillips developed Digital Compact Cassette. Huge amounts of R&D investment, huge marketing budgets, huge hype.

    MiniDisc won the battle, with the vanquished DCC disappearing in 1996. But it lost the war.

    In 1998 the first mp3 player appeared. In 2001 the iPod appeared and killed MD for good. So perhaps Jobs, love him or hate him, has some form on this type of question.

    The pertinent question is whether people want the level of HD associated with HD-DVD, or just want something that looks good on their 42” TV. It’s not about downloading the entire Blu-ray disc, it’s about downloading something the consumer is happy to watch in their lounge. And perhaps that’s coming earlier than 2018…

  67. Luca
    Thumb Down

    Downloads NOT GOING to substiture Blue-Ray

    Jobs should know better. Even after all this time download of music from iTunes and similar service is a minority of sales when compared to actual CDs sold.

    Not only the bandwidth is not there for HD download but:

    1) HD download is not the same quality of a BD disc. No studio is going to put a 40GB file to download, they'll be compressed to something like 4GB, at that point why inventing BD and HD-DVD at all since that could fit a regular DVD?

    2) People like to collect movies. I own over 500 DVDs and I'm not the only one

    3) Can you imagine the nightmare of your hard drive crashing and having to re-download the whole HD content? What if the downloading service has closed down or you don't have the file with the license anymore (their downloads would be protected for sure).

    Just today I downloaded a 45 minutes TV show from Amazon Unbox, I have broadband and yet it took 11.5 hours to download. That's bullcrap! Imagine a 2.5 hours High-Def movie... Much faster to go to my local video store and buy/rent the Blue Ray.

  68. Harris Upham

    one last spin

    I think network bandwidth constraints will allow blu-ray at least modest success in the entertainment market, but I think it's likely to be the last physical format in widespread use. By the time we see blu-ray as old and busted, the combined forces of network speed-ups and more advanced compression will make electronic delivery a compelling offer.

    Moving forward, I think the trick to successful blu-ray consumption is in getting a low cost player and never buying a disc- stick to the rentals. There isn't likely to be a good resale market as there was with VHS and DVD, and most people who are in the market for home HD playback already know this.

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