Downloadable movies are no threat to physical media…yet

Funny, most of the podcast’s I listen to feature younger people – and a couple of folks my age – who tout the death of physical media and television itself.  They wonder aloud if anyone STILL buys DVD’s or watch television.  These people get their programming through mechanisms like iTunes, bitTorrent or some other Internet delivered channel.  They act as though buying a DVD is a crime and that watching television is sooo 20th century. Well, they are wrong.  They obviously do not walk with feet planted in reality.  And I wonder where they get their Internet access. 

Thing is, MOST people in America do NOT get programming from the Internet, expect for music that is.  iTunes recently became the largest music retailer in the United States-a fact that blows my mind.  The quality of tracks is marginal at best, the DRM is stifling, the choice of DRM-less tracks is underwhelming and you are tethered to Apple and the iPod (as opposed to Microsoft and the Zune, not much difference, but it is my choice.)  Anyway, I know few, if any, people who get Lost or Desperate Housewives via iTunes or even DVD.  No, most watch television.  DVR use is more popular, but it is still television. 

Even with the increase in broadband usage, downloadable television and theatrical programming still has a way to go before it replaces physical media or television. There are still quite a few hurdles like awareness, cost, DRM, etc.  But, in my opinion, the biggest hurdle (aside from Hollywood) would be the ISP’s themselves.  Companies like Comcast and Verizon need to make it very clear to consumers that there is a bandwidth cap and they need to tell them what that cap is as well as provide a method for monitoring that usage.

Until the bandwidth issue is resolved, DVD and television have nothing to worry about.

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