Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Final Sign of the Apocalypse

...Bill Gates and I actually agree on something. Holy crap:
Daily Princetonian: There has been a lot of debate about the next generation Blu-ray and HD DVD technologies in recent weeks. It seems more and more companies are backing the Blu-ray standard. The current debate seems to harken back to the Betamax vs. VHS format war in the 1970s and 80s, where Betamax was ostensibly the superior technology yet it did not gain wide acceptance. Why is Microsoft not backing Blu-ray today — a technology that many consider to be superior?

Gates: Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [movie] studios got too much protection at the expense consumers and it won't work well on PCs. You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.

It's not the physical format that we have the issue with, it's that the protection scheme on Blu is very anti-consumer. If [the Blu-ray group] would fix that one thing, you know, that'd be fine.

For us it's not the physical format. Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything's going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it's even unclear how much this one counts.
Okay, when Bill "the license agreement says I own you" Gates says you're too consumer-hostile, be afraid.

That said, he's exactly right on his last point - this will be the last physical media, and I'm more and more convinced that people won't use it for much. Most data is more easily available off the net, anyway. If we can make flash drives a bit bigger and faster, they'll be able to eclipse DVDs entirely. (You can already find a very few 8 GB flash drives.) Once flash (or some analagous technology) can hold data up to or past 50GB, we simply won't need these HD-DVDs. Of course, the latest iPods already hold more than 50GB, so we're not that far off.

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