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Digital and Disc Can Play Nice

12 Jan, 2010 By: Stephanie Prange

I don’t subscribe to the false assumption that each digital delivery milestone means the death of disc. Digital content is certainly making inroads with consumers and, in the mobile world where picture quality isn’t terribly important, it serves a growing need.
Over the holidays, my 11-year-old daughter put digital copies (that came packaged with the discs) of some of her favorite films on her new iPod Touch. As we traveled from store to store, she enjoyed watching Coraline in the car. In the waiting room at the doctor’s office, she took a look at Horton Hears a Who!

But over the holidays, she and her sister also watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on our big-screen in Blu-ray quality. Many other families must have been gathering around the TV to view a disc this holiday season, judging by the record rentals at Redbox. For a communal, home entertainment experience, you just can’t beat Blu-ray on the big screen.
My 11-year-old — who is supposedly part of the generation that will shift the entertainment paradigm — doesn’t see digital and disc as an either-or proposition. She uses both — often while e-mailing her friends at the same time.

At this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we began to see how digital and disc can play nice together.

Announcements of cloud-content management, such as Disney’s KeyChest initiative, shared the headlines with the promise of 3D on Blu-ray Disc. Blu-ray is the best way to replicate the theatrical experience in the home, and it can bring the 3D phenomenon setting records in theatrical revenue home, too.

I like the idea of having high-quality copies of movies for the big screen, but on the road, I’d like to have a digital copy, too, rather than lugging around a cadre of discs. The combination of digital and disc has made Netflix a very successful retailer. The studios have put digital copies in their packaging because consumers value it.

Theaters, Blu-ray and digital delivery serve different needs, and they can and will coexist.

On another note, I was sorry to hear that Video Business, our worthy and vigorous competitor for nearly 30 years, printed its last issue Jan. 4. The editors and reporters at VB kept us on our toes, and we will miss their contributions.


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