back to article Blu-ray 0, SDHC card 1, THX Chief Scientist predicts

Blu-ray Disc will never win mass appeal - we'll all be buying out HD movies on Flash cards instead. That, at least, is the verdict of THX Chief Scientist Laurie Fincham. Fincham's comments come by way of UK magazine Home Cinema Choice, relayed by website DVD Town. Says Fincham: "I think it's too late for Blu-ray. I think …


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  1. FathomsDown

    Anyone remember MiniDisk?

    I get the impression that Sony have missed the boat with BluRay in the same way that they did with MiniDisk back in the late 90s.

    It was a good product but the world had woken up to MP3 players by the time it really got to market and so withered on the vine pretty quickly.

  2. Mike Ward
    Thumb Down

    You're kidding right?

    "By the time Blu-ray really finds a mass market, we will have 128GB cards,"

    By that time, Blu ray discs will cost the same as DVD's but the 128GB cards will be very expensive especially just to have 1 or 2 films bundled on them... I doubt this will be the case, probably in 20 years time when flash media will be cheap as chips and optical storage will be dead as a dodo...

  3. roger thomas

    So let me get this right

    Within the next year or 2 we can expect SDHC devices to

    a) Increase in size from a max of 8GBytes to 128GBytes

    b) Increase their write speed from a max of x150 to x1000+ so that

    50Gbytes can be copied in say 5mins.

    c) Become so cheap that you can store your library of HD movies on

    a large number of such cards.

    I can't wait to see this happen, it will be so nice to get away from 8GBytes devices costing £35-£50 with I/O speeds greater than the best harddisks available.

    On the other hand I may just drop a DVD drive into my PC (around £85) and get on with my life.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Dans le maison de fromage

    I wonder how they'll use the old "perceived value" argument when there is no longer any packaging or physical media. I remember the days when software companies justified enormous boxes by arguing that people wanted to pay for the case, for the slip of paper, for the experience of holding a weighty object; it's less of an issue now that hi-def cases are tiny little things, but I wonder what effect it will have on the market for those expensive prestige boxed sets - with posters, tin boxes etc - given that the film and its extras are often exactly the same. Perhaps the shops will offer super high-speed titanium-coated memory sticks that come in little boxes, sold next to the terminals that dispense the films.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Longterm and certain markets yeah

    Whilst longterm this would be the `ideal` it is a long way of. For some markets/media it is more appealing than others mearly down to the cost factors. That said the cost of some plastic compared to some dynamicly changable media in sold-state format is vast and iwll be for a very long time even for small ad-hoc runs of a single disc (ie burning one).

    What realy needs to happen is a standard based hardware form of DRM that is as transparent to the end-user as a keyboard and mouse. Idealy some RFID standard which you could just have on your keychain and would automaticly allow which media you could play and use. That wouldn;t infirnge your freedom if all your devices adopted this standard and thats the real crux of any form of dynamic storage. Protection/paranoia or whatever you call it with regards to the film/music. The whole film/music industry as a whole is completely foriegn in regards to there business practices and what they can and cant do. Hey take myspace - its for personal space and not business but how many musians are on there and isn't that promoting there music and as such there business! In summary those industries get away with alot more than others by there selective choice to adopt and inflict rules upon there customers and indeed people who do business with them.

    So for the SDHC to actualy take hold it wont be the cost factor that makes it the media of choice but the whole DRM aspect driven by the few and deep down accepted as unfair in its current state by the mass's silent sheep.

    All that said there is another solution, but i'm still a year of the patent office so i'll take the 5th on that one for now }->

  6. fon

    will never happen.... :(

    Hey I would like to support that, But there are already plenty of Bluray users..... and most are either too busy trying to keep their life going, to bother about computers, or understanding them!

    The next thing is, a format needs **support** before it gets any where.... minidisc, anyone??? - this actually appeared in shops, but where is it now??? certainly not in my local HMV, where it was a few years ago....

    After the great failure that was HDDVD, it will take a big, big, chance to try it...

  7. lasersage

    transfer rate boredom

    All well and good but 50Gb bloated movies may take some time to transfer, and presumably you'll put them on a harddrive when you get home. What happens when that hdd crashes? you lose all you movies. my video player never crashed!

    atleast with dvds you wont lose them in a hdd crash. could be frustrating watching your cherished movies dissapear before you eyes.

  8. Natalie Gritpants
    Thumb Down

    Not until flash gets a lot faster.

    10GB for an HD movie plus all the other stuff that the content provider will want to force you to watch. How long will you b prepared to wait at the shop? Probably not much longer than than it takes to process your credit card.

    Maybe if BlockBuster rented you pre-filled flash cards it might work but then you've gone back to the inventory problem.

  9. jolly

    Wallet wet dreams

    "In the future I want to be able to carry four to five movies around with me in a wallet"

    And world-peace of course!

  10. Mark

    Erm.... you need a computer?

    My new TV has an SD card slot built in. I regularly use the TV to browse photos and videos taken with my camera and stored on the card. Its not that big a leap from that to putting an entire movie on a SDHC card, hell the studios would probably be quite happy because you could easily make that HDMI/HDCP protected. I can easily see some Taiwanese dudes building a cheap SDHC card reader with HDMI (or whatever) output for those without such televisions.

    That would certainly be a hell of a lot easier than fiddling around with discs, only downside is that you can't really lend the digital copy in the same way you can a physical DVD. I can't see myself letting a mate borrow my entire film library because I can't copy from card to card (which I'm certain the studios would require to be disabled in some way)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Do what now?

    "...or walk into a store and have someone copy me a movie to a USB device," Fincham forecasts. "Stores will like that idea, because it's all about having zero inventory. I don't want to take up shelf space with dozens of HD movies."

    Err...what? Why the hell would i want to 'walk' to a store to get a movie, when i can just download them?

    If god had meant us to walk anywhere, he would never have invented the internet.

  12. Jim

    50Gb downloads?

    Flash cards I can understand but why do people continue to push downloads of movies? If you want HD content then you are going to have to download huge amounts of data. It seems that today's ISPs just aren't capable of handling that amount of data at present. What ISP is going to be happy with you regularly downloading 50Gb every week or so?

    Another thought is how are the content providers going to handle DRM on flash cards? They going to produce WORM flash or are you going to be forced to use proprietary flash products?

    And whatever they do, how is it going to be more cost effective than pressing some bits of plastic?

  13. jai

    In the future I want to be able to carry four to five movies around with me

    i already carry around 4 to 5 movies with me in my pocket - they're loaded onto my iPod touch and encoded in h.264

  14. Mark

    @ Not until flash gets a lot faster

    Erm really? Surely Blockbuster would just have a few copies of the more recent films and each time one is taken out they just write the film to a blank card and put it back in the stock. So long as you can write the data faster than you can rent the whole stock then customer doesn't wait. For older films they would just write on demand, and to be honest I've stood around for more than 5 minutes whilst the idiots go looking for the disc and can't find it.

    A side benefit would be you would never get that blasted "oh we haven't got any of those left, someone has already rented it out" etc.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Cost issues aside (and boy, are there cost issues) what about environmental considerations? Production of Optical media, while not ideal, is always going to be better for the environment than producing flash memory.

    What are you going to do with the movies you buy, keep them on multiple flash media, or stick them on a HDD? If you are using a HDD it will probably be powered a fair ammount of the time, my DVDs at the moment are using approximately no energy, they don't need to be backed up in case of head crash/accidental deletion/etc (to whatever your media of choice for backup is) and blah blah blah.

    This bloke is clearly off his head, or has some shares in SanDisk that he wants to offload. ;)

  16. Joe Montana

    Pirates were here first...

    I can already download movies, using bittorrent...

    I can already take flash cards or portable hard drives to a market stall and have a guy copy movies onto them...

    Yes, this is much more convenient to carry around than physical media, I can put a stack of movies on my laptop when i'm working away from home, and i can carry a much smaller laptop with no optical drive.

    The pirates already realise this, and have already provided customers what they want. Gone are the days when pirate copies are poor quality and inferior to the legit media. Today, pirated media can be a direct digital copy at exactly the same quality, while offering other value-add features that legitimate media lacks (no drm, downloads, device portability, no commercials, no unskippable fbi warnings or commercials)

  17. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Some things take a long time to die

    As has been noted elsewhere on El Reg, DVD sales are likely to dominate for quite a few years yet. If we look at VHS it is only last year that retailers decided to stop stocking machines even though DVD have been around for over ten years. DVD provide a much better image on existing screens than VHS. Unfortunately the eye is not that interested in detail in colour - we go to the cinema for the size of the screen not the resolution of the film - which might explain why take up of HD TV's has been so sluggish, that and the prohibitive cost. So HD in any form will be of no perceivable benefit to the vast majority of the public for some time yet. It exaperates my brothers but my mum is analogue only and able to record on to VHS recorders whilst watching something else on the TV which she can't do with a single digibox. I can't imagine what'ts going to happen here and in so many other houses when analogue gets switched off.

  18. Ben Bufton

    And I predict...

    ... that in 2 years time, computers will be twice as powerful, 10,000 times bigger and so expensive that only the 3 richest kings of Europe will be able to afford them...

  19. Andy Worth

    Missing an important point....

    Blu-ray's are shiny, flash cards are not - and people like shiny things.

    Seriously though, I don't think flash-stored movies will ever be anything other than a niche. I think people have it the wrong way round - it's not BR that will be the "next minidisc" but movies on Flash. It's going to be a couple of years before the technology is there to affordably store HD on a flash card (notice the "affordable" word) by which time Blu-Ray, now the lone physical HD media format, will have built up a good strong user base and a massive library of titles.

    People like the physical media of DVD/Blu-Ray, the fancy packaging and such. Flash cards just don't have the same "presence" and I don't think they'll be in a position to complete unless they can offer something major that BR/DVD cannot. BR writers and players will, by then, be significantly cheaper in price (as well as the media probably) and I just don't see flash offering anything significantly "better".

    Of course, it's just my opinion and I might be wrong.

  20. Lyndon Barry

    Nice idea

    But instead of playing about with flash cards, run it like a library.

    For instance, you walk into HMV (or somewhere cheaper) armed with your xgb passport drive or Xgb pen drive. (or even your laptop). You buy perhaps Spider-man 20, HMV records the sale on your account, you plug your driive into a slot on the counter which transfers the correct film onto it. You then unlock the file with your password/license key, and bobs your uncle. If it at a later date, you lose the file, you simply go back to HMV, and transfer the file back on FOC (After all, it's already recorded in your account that you purchased the film.

    There are a few issues with this, one is quality control (after all, would you trust HMV not to download a virus to your PC, plus the connotation of having "an account with your details that keeps track of whether you bought X-Men 40 or Debbie Does Doncaster last month.

  21. Lee Dowling Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    Well, just about a year ago I bought a boat-load of 2Gb SD cards for £3 each from Amazon, so I can easily see this being true. They are tiny, convenient, pretty reliable, fairly indestructable, supported by lots of different peripherals, easy to work (i.e. physically manage, eject etc.), cheap.

    If I move music about, it's on an SD card. I have a £50 CD/MP3/SD/Radio player in my kitchen that plays straight off SD. My wife has a Palm, that can play the same music off the same SD card or run the Satnav off another SD card. I have a GP2X, that can play the same music off the same SD card, and run games and movies off SD card. There's a little problem with video formats between the two but that's far from a problem if this picks up motion. We have an SD card camera, that saves JPEG's we can all view. At my parent's house, it's pretty much the same story and we are always swapping SD cards for various things. People's phones use SD or mini-SD. The Wii saves on SD cards (I've seen idiots pay £30 for "Wii memory cards" when in the next aisle are SD cards of identical size/make/speed for £5).

    SD really is an under-appreciated storage format and I would love for it to become more "mainstream" in this way.

    The readers are dirt cheap. The interface electronics can be absolutely trivial (they are often used as a hobbyist ROM storage because they can be run in a simple 2-pin mode, slow but they work). The software interface can be incredibly simple. They are incredibly fast considering their size and low number of pins. The SDHC version can easily address 100's of GB's in something as big as a large postage stamp. The only "problem" with SD is devices that don't support SDHC (4Gb + cards) properly (software-only update needed) and the write-protect tabs that aren't - the tabs hit a switch in the device that the software reads and refuses writes - there is no "physical" way to stop someone writing to an SD card, it can be bypassed in software by bugs, bad programming, or in hardware by faulty switches or mis-fitting cards.

    But yes. I'd buy it. Please. Try not to put copy-protection on it or change the physical/electrical format to allow it but this is a brilliant idea.

    Imagine the possibilities - you buy a movie, play it on PC with an adaptor/media bay, play it on a laptop, play it on a set top box, play it on a PSP or other handheld device, all from the same physical object. Fantastic idea. Stuff the HD, I'm really not interested in that - start doing this NOW. I'd gladly pop an SD card into HMV and pay for a shed-load of old movies on SD card if I can walk out in under half hour or so.

    The best bit about SD? When I take my GP2X out and about, I can take a pocketful of cards and be a storage king. 2Gb of games, 2Gb of Music, 2Gb of Movies, 2Gb of text, 2Gb of files from my PC for troubleshooting. It cost me about £15 for them a year ago, they all fit into something the size of a couple of AA batteries and hold everything I can ever see a need for, even on a long trip.

    Give it a couple more years and 16/32 Gb cards will be in the same position. In five years, you'll get 128Gb for peanuts. But the format is viable TODAY. A Wii software update could make the format work on the most popular console NOW. Most handheld devices take SD in some form and it's only software that stops them turning into mobile movie players. If you can get the Wii on top of this, you could easily get SD cards in every set-top-box in a year or two, where the MPEG decoder is already built-in.

    Stop jabbering about it and DO IT. Get Blockbusters onboard now.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps in Korea, Japan but not in the UK

    "The infrastructure's there". Not in the UK it isn't.

    In 20 years (when I'm retired) perhaps we'll have HD movies downloaded in 5 mins to the home (or even your local Blockbuster, though I can't see why I'd want to go there). Right now, my 8Mbit/s ADSL with contention is giving me less than 1 Mbit/s actual throughput.

  23. rd232


    "In the future I want to be able to carry four to five movies around with me in a wallet" ... on a flashcard...


  24. Chris Phillips
    Thumb Down

    Breaking the link between media and medium

    Bit of a stupid report if it predicts half of the future and ignores the other half. As above, inventory free = shop free, how could you possibly justify a long term model of shops with nothing actually in them?? daft.

    people will never buy films on solid state media, unless it's some noddy tie in to promote one or the other. The physical device should strive to have nothing whatsoever to do with the media on it, the two should be totally unrelated to each other. You might have a period where you physically go somewhere with an SDHC card, but it's surely never going to also give you a 1/4 postage stamp sized version of the artwork to stick on the front of it.

    The alternative would be junk, sorry, high quality integrated products, like the MP3 Classic, one of our favorites when we watch the shopping channels... bit of class.

  25. Aram
    Thumb Up

    And another thing...

    Just spotted this elsewhere on Reg:

    Good job on the timing!

  26. Aram

    @Lyndon Barry

    You've mentioned a couple of fine, fine sequels but neglected:

    "Die Hardest of All 65: Free bus pass"

  27. Eric Van Haesendonck
    Thumb Up

    To some extent this is already happening

    When I look at the DVD players in the store near me, I can already notice that a lot of them have SD or USB slots to allow the user to read their vacation photos (or actually downloaded DIVX movies) without having to burn them to CD. As someone pointed out, the way of consuming media described here matches what a lot of people are already doing when they download from bittorent.

    The big idea here is to allow users to fill in their SDHC cards and USB drives from an HDD at the store instead of having to donwload 5 to 10 GB for and HD movie on their ADSL connection (that are often capped at 20 GB months here in Belgium). The SDHC media would be just used to transfer the movie from the store to the player/TV, or to the customer's HDD for archiving.

    They could easily sell me a 10 GB HD movie for 10€ that way, as the cost of bandwith alone would make the difference between this and bittorent quite small. If we speak about "full HD" movies that are even bigger it may actually be cheaper that way than downloading.

  28. TeeCee Gold badge

    Perfectly feasible real soon now.

    128Gb cards. Not needed. Your HD film, even loaded with additional cruft, is rattling around like a pea in a submarine on a BD. 16 and 32Gb should be enough to start with, just drop the "extras".

    Download speeds are a non-issue. Just sell a read only card in a little box. Something about the size and shape of a DS cartridge box springs to mind. If people want to chew bandwidth and time downloading HD films, let 'em, just cater to the pick-it-up-in-Woolworths mass market as well.

    As for playback devices, there are plenty of things out there now to do this. It just requires the tits that make the content to see sense and not try to reinvent the wheel by coming up with yet another bloody format.

    All could be done this year, never mind in two year's time. It'd be worth it to see the faces of the Sony execs as they begin to understand the term "Pyhrric victory".......

  29. alistair millington
    Jobs Horns

    come on people....

    "Carry 4 or 5 movies round with me in my wallet. "

    You can now, average movie on DVD is when cracked around 700 meg a CD/DVD if you are good at it, and free software and guides are out there. So a 4GB SDHC card can hold five films and my asus eee has one of them in it. cracking is easy with free to use software and some patience.

    Or for about a fiver you can get a 1 GB flash pen and then anything with windows will play it as a plug and play. No previous knowledge needed if it has autorun enabled. (MS DRM riddled media player not withstanding)

    A 16gb SDHC card is now 40 quid and so that is another huge catalog of films to carry round.

    The main problem with this is the infrastructire. BT can't hack it on their 21CN network, virgin media throttle it and tell you off if you do. add in stupid laws about downloading illegal stuff and you won't be able to download legally either pretty soon. So download of movies won't catch up or when it does it will be slow, annoying and take three days to get the one movie so a night in with a movie becomes a pre-planned operation.

    Imagine a blu-ray download, 50GB at 15KB/s throttled speeds. A week download per film and a 50GB on BT's antiquiated 40GB a month quota. Get real. Steve jobs and others like him that think TV and film downloads or streaming are the way forward need to think a bit more in the real world.

    Flash drives are the way forward as it allows the user to reuse older stuff without the constant production and much needed resources but short term it won't take off, blu-ray will be around for a while me thinks. the idea of swapping flash drives at the strore, or going in and paying for the guy behind the desk to copy the file over make so much sense.

    Until the UK's broadband and petty laws catch up with the rest of the modern world disks will be the way forward. Although the monopoly film giants will try and get their brand of SDHC cards to be the one, DRM ing them to be slow, cumbersome and not worth putting into machines which will ruin the format should it ever take off.

    And to think the French president said Britain was something to look upto... Geez.

    My only problem would be the shelf library of films you end up with will become a magnifying glasses event and not good for those of bad eye sight. Imagine 300 flash drives stacked up and you are trying to find 300 or gladiator.

    Steve jobs icon because he is trying to pioneer what will either kill the internet in the UK or leave us with DRM fiddled junk to download.

  30. David Evans

    Window of opportunity

    This could work, but only until the point where we have decent fibre networks. I don't see it replacing DVD/BD sales quickly but a kiosk-based hole in the wall type operation makes sense (think of those Blockbuster 24/7 kiosks). Retailers could install these in low population density areas where they wouldn't want to carry the overheads of a complete shop, hell they're already doing it for DVD rental, and my PS3 and my telly can both read video off SD cards/memory sticks right now. There are a lot of security issues and DRM would no doubt rear its ugly head, but nothing insurmountable.

    Of course once we have ubiqitous fibre, then the need for this would go away, but how long is that going to take?

  31. andy gibson
    Thumb Up

    Reducing waste

    I'm all for it. Not only would it reduce the amount of plastic and packaging needed for a DVD, it would mean far less clutter in my home. Already I have a few hundred DVD movies boxed up in the loft because I've DivXed them and stuck them on my XBOX.

    To be able to take in my own device to a store, copy a movie to it and then upload it to my media centre would suit me fine, even if the cost was close to an actual physical product.

    I'm not a fan of downloading, either legally or illegally. The internet is already slow enough with a small number of torrenters, what will it be like in a few years time with many more, yet no upgrade to the broadband infrastructure? Like today's roads, and there will be measures in place to cap the heavy users, just like the Government is doing with road tax and petrol pricing.

    However, we need faster and more reliable flash media. I've lost count of the number of times I've put something onto a pen drive from work and got home and found it's corrupted. I've already had nine pen drives brought to me since September because they've suddenly stopped working.

  32. Rob Davis
    Thumb Up

    Ideal for increasing no. of dwellers in uncluttered tiny flats constantly on the move

    I couldn't care less about packaging and artwork because as the cliche goes: life is about collecting experiences - not things. To quote the late Michael Hutchence in an early 80s INXS song: "everything is nothing when you're dead"

    I don't want to *collect* things that I might only watch once. I've never seen the point of cluttering my place by building up a movie collection. It's too much visual noise to look at in my home. I must admit I'm not a huge movie fan. But I'd pay a similar amount to just watch it at the cinema.

    I want to be nimble, to move around, chase the work and the fun. So I don't want baggage to concern with. It also means travelling on trains so the SDHC solution is ideal for watching on a mobile meanwhile. That way lost minutes traveling are made useful again.

    I think Blu-ray still has appeal though - for long term data storage and backup with the convenience of exceeding the DVD 4.7/8Gb limit. Precious data on a SDHC card is unnervingly ephemeral and transient.

    What I want to know is when are Digital TV/DTT/DVB-T/Freeview set-top box makers going to bring out a Freeview PVR video recorder that uses removable SDHC cards instead of a hard disc? (sure there SanDisk's Vmate but this is analogue video input not digital TV reception)

    That way you can watch programmes recorded on your mobile during your commute. There is a market window opportunity for this right now - while its early days for iPlayer/Kangeroo on mobile due to data rates, cost and widespread handset capability. See my thread on this here:

  33. Nigel Rook

    Flash drives for movies? Crazy talk

    Well, If i'm generous and assume that someone provides a nice little set-top box into which i can plug a 64Gb flash drive with a movie on it and just watch the thing, buying a HD movie on a flash stick goes something like:

    1)Choose Movie

    2)Go to download station, select movie again, plug in drive, pay

    3)Scratch my arse for 15 minutes* while it transfers, since i'm not leaving my £100 flash stick unguarded

    4)Once home, scratch my arse for 15 minutes* while movie transfers to some other medium so I can use my £100 flash stick again

    5)Watch movie \o/

    * 15 minutes assumes remarkable advances in getting flash drive write speeds as high as USB 2.0 transport speeds. As things stand, it's more like an hour.

    As opposed to the blu-ray option, which is basically the same, except without the half an hour of arse scratching. Oh, and i can grab a blu-ray disc from a bargain bin in a petrol station on the spur of the moment, and I can buy more than one at once...

    Flash is expensive, optical media isn't. By the time this nonsense becomes practical, the HD movie downloads of the (distant) future will be a reality.

  34. Tom

    So Laurie bought an HD DVD...

    This sounds just like the stuff posted by HD DVD fanboys in the online forms.

    Once they got past "HD DVD is not dead, if we buy enough $10 movies they will see their error and bring it back..." they moved onto "if HD DVD didn't win then Blu Ray can't win so it's going to be something else".

  35. Xpositor

    Whatever the media...

    ...I'll be able to play it on my PS3 (now, where did I put my redundant XBOX360...?)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Well done Laurie

    I had the pleasure of working at the same firm as Laurie Fincham, when he was Technical Director at KEF Electronics in Kent, England - where they developed computer based Fast Fourier Transform measuring systems, based on huge ex-US Navy HP 5451 machines: the results of which were used to "pair match" drive units for the Reference Series speakers. (You might also recall that before KEF he worked for Celestion and designed their Ditton 15's and after KEF went bust in 1992, he worked for Infinity, USA before joining THX).

    "LRF" has always been very astute and level headed about stuff....although he knew his onions and would put up strong arguments with anyone who opposed his views....IIRC, mostly he got his way...!

    Good to see him looking ahead as ever....well done Laurie...!

  37. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Makes sense to me

    Millions of people downloading films at the same time is not going to work outside Japan for decades. A flash device big enough for transporting a film is a tolerable price now. I have had DVD's wear out, but I have never lost data on a hard-disk. If it was legal, I could copy my DVD collection onto a pair of 1TB disks - more convenient and smaller.

    Desktop hard-disk life is limited by spin-up/spin-down cycles (use a laptop disk if you are going to spin it on demand). My OS runs well out of flash now. If there were 1TB disks designed to spin-up a few times per day, they would be ideal for films.

    I will not tolerate DRM. I would prefer to buy a film with an explicit license to keep it on a 1 home device + back up device + 1 mobile device of my choice.

    Going to a shop to get a copy of a film on my flash key suits me, but this can only happen if it suits other people too.

  38. Lachlan Hunt

    What really needs to happen...

    What really needs to happen is for the movie studios to follow the lead of the music industry and drop DRM. Some independents already have, it's only a matter of time before the majors follow. Then they need to start selling blu-ray-quality HD movies that can be downloaded, or purchased in a store and loaded onto any flash media or USB storage device, which can then be transferred anywhere the user likes. I'd much rather have all my movies stored on a couple of 1TB hard drives connected to my computer and/or home media centre. (I'm not a huge fan of AppleTV, though, since the rentals from there are a much lower bit rate, and thus lower quality, than you get on a blu-ray disc.)

    At roughly 20-25GB per movie on a blu-ray disc, a 1TB drive should be able to store rougly 40 movies, which is a lot more compact and easier to handle than 40 blu-ray discs. I can barely handle my existing DVD collection, and am in the process of ripping all the disks. So having a way to bypass that annoying ripping process would be awesome.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's comming...

    32gig SD cards were announced in August 2007, and they don't have to be that fast to play back a movie; the only speed problem is putting it on. All they need to do is bring the price down - it wasn't that long ago that 8gig cards cost a fortune. 8gig cards are £35 and dropping.

    That leaves overnight downloads at home, or preloaded read only cards.

    I don't think this is very far away at all.

  40. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    Why not download the movie? Flying my car to the video store for a flash card update sounds like such a pain.

    Oh, I forgot. I'm still using telco wiring from 1945, flash memory is slow and expensive, and my car drinks half a gallon of gas just rolling to the video store. I was thinking of the far future. The year 2000 when... Oh, wait...

  41. Danny

    Right place this time

    Meant to post this here, put it under the article about the hd-dvd group dissolving instead!

    Optical media will always be my choice while it is available

    Personally, I don't want to have to be reliant on my ISP working as it should, every route between me and hollywoods servers being super efficient and not being cut off should a ship accidentally cut the transatlantic cable so I will never go download only. I would take a flash based system for rental only, but I like having a disk that will still be the same in 10 years time without worrying about having to back it up, transfer it to a new faster memory type as my old one gets made obsolete, doesn't require me to delete things from it because it ran out of space, will never suddenly die on me with no warning, does not have a limited lifespan of read/writes as it will never be written to, I can drop it in a big pool of water without damaging it, will still play with some scratches even though it may stutter in places. Try dropping flash memory in water and see how robust it is or put a big scratch on the contact pins and watch as it is never recognised as a device again. If I buy a film it is because I want a physical product, mine to keep and watch whenever I like, take to a friends, give to someone else if I choose, not to restrict the number of times I can watch it, how long I can keep it, what brand device I can watch it on. Somebody above said about HMV allowing you to put the film back on if you lose it, what if they go out of business, who do I get my legitmately purchased film from then? What if I cannot prove I bought it unless you are happy with retailers keeping your personal shopping list for your entire life. Flash takes away far more than it gives

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Isn't there a new high speed internet researchers have? When do I get that?

    Once that new high speed internet it out, we'll download HD movies no problem.

    Where's Al Gore when you need him? Lay some cable Al!

  43. Timbo
    Thumb Up

    Another way ??

    Current talk is that the BBC iPlayer might make UK broadband ISP's lose loadsa money, due to the number of people "watching online" - so, one option is for the BBC (and others I guess) to install "proxy" servers, so that specific "programs" can be dumped onto ISP's local networks just the once, and then users stream from the local ISP "server"...

    Taking this to the next level, one would assume that each ADSL-enabled telephone exchange could have multiple "industrial strength media servers" which act as "repositories" for all the BBC (and other TV channels) "watch again" content. This would further reduce the problem of high bandwidth "streaming" from a limited number of source servers...

    They could then act as "storage space" for other, they'd be no need for any users to buy any "media", coz it could all be streamed directly to your home from these "caches".....

    Thinking about this...doesn't Google now have hundreds of server farms dotted around the globe???? Maybe they can be used for media as well as indexes ??

  44. chris Silver badge

    Downloads are the future

    i really don't understand why people are so download negative.

    The internet became a massive success when people where using dial up.

    Broadband spawned multimedia services such as youtube & itunes because end users now had sufficient bandwidth to view the content without waiting an eternity.

    Just look at the huge me too investments by MS, Amazon & Walmart for online music and video sales/rentals for proof that the internet as a delivery medium is viable. You have to accept that services delivered over the internet will continue to evolve and meet or change peoples expectations of product/service delivery. in the days of dial up, downloading music from the internet was mainly for pirates and enthusiasts, in today's broadband era its now a multi billion dollar industry! Again pirates and enthusiasts are leading the way with downloading tv shows & movies in both standard and high definition formats, but now the likes of apple, MS and others are providing those services too. When they solve the complexity of showing that downloaded movie on the TV to be as simple and familiar as putting a disk/tape in the dvd/video player, the days of physical media will be over.

  45. Caff


    Dont think sony would mind too much, as long as its on memory stick pro duo or something they can flog, a lot of those Ps3's they sold can take flash and play straight off it. I'm sure a patch for some DRM would be right up their alley too.

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