PC Magazine, last week, announced that it’s last printed issue of the magazine would be the January ‘09 issue and, there after, would be a web only publication. Since then, a number of podcasters either lamented the passing or celebrated it. Some, like Alex Lindsay, wonder why there are still so many magazines and newspapers STILL on paper. (He also said he reads the New York Times on his iPhone…I have to wonder how he can still see, but that’s another story.) Mr. Lindsay, like many of his colleagues also wonder why in the world DVD’s are still around and why don’t people just get everything on the Web. For awhile, I thought this to be West Coast thing, but I’ve also heard it from some East Coasters as well. I think age is more appropriate, though. Most of the podcasters that I listen to are pretty young. However, some of my own co-workers (also younger than I) feel sort of the same. These are people who read just about everything online, watch TV shows on Hulu or from iTunes. (if this sounds familiar, I have posted about this in the past…I just find it fascinating.)
Personally, I am very reluctant to buy movies on line (unless it is a DVD) because of my ISP, which is Comcast. Comcast has a 250gb limit. If you break that limit, you could face loss of service. For me, that is not much of an option since Comcast is pretty much the only game in town for my neighborhood. I live in a neighborhood that is simply ‘not wired’ right. FiOS is in the area, but my neighborhood does not yet support it. Ditto DSL. So, Comcast it is. I’m not going to bash them. I do have pretty good service from them and the 250gb cap is actually pretty generous compared to other American ISP’s. I am cognizant of that cap though. I don’t have problem with one or two movies a month, but I don’t watch Hulu and don’t purchase many TV shows from iTunes or the Zune Marketplace. The quality, for one, of the shows on those services seem to vary and it is probably not the fault of either service. I blame Hollywood for that. (iTunes does seem to be a bit better in that department, but Zune really just started with downloadable TV shows.)
Alex Lindsay and company claim they get all of their television-or a significant portion-online. But, I think what they fail to realize is that television entertainment is still a broadcast medium and supported by commercials. If enough people are getting that entertainment mostly from downloads, then the ratings go down and, poof, the show is canned.
I don’t know, maybe I am just old but I like holding a nice glossy issue of PC Magazine or Electronic Gaming Monthly-rumored to be the next casualty-or buying that DVD to put in my collection, knowing that I can safely play that DVD and not worry some service going belly up and taking my purchased content with it.