Chips or Pits! How do you like your content?
by Ken Wood on Feb 23, 2010
Chips or Pits – How do you like your content?
I thought I’d change the theme of my blogs a bit and discuss movies and consumer technology. Movies in regards to both content delivery medium such as movies and shows on DVD and/or Blu-ray, and storylines that attempt to predict the future. Of course my favorite is still Star-Trek, the shows and the movies, but I will limit my infatuation of the Star-Trek universe to Star-Trek the original series and Star-Trek the next Generation, both TV shows and associated movies.
I’m sure many of you other trekkies have compared the original tricorder to today’s iPod Touch, iPhone, the upcoming iPad, and other handheld portable gadgets that go way beyond the capabilities of a telephone or music player. These capabilities will continue to increase as software and feature enhancements evolve and improve, and as more devices get integrated into the bundle. One futuristic prop that I want to draw attention to is the “data card”. In many futuristic movies or shows, there always seems to be a small card-like device or other small package that can be inserted into a “reader” or an interface and an image or video is displayed of something or someone, sometimes as a 3D holographic video AND interacting with the viewer. I’m reminded of these flashes of insight when I view my latest Fry’s advertisement.
A recent ad for a 2GB USB flash drive also comes with Michael Jackson’s movie “This Is It” pre-loaded for $24.99. So $24.99 for a 2GB flash drive is a bit high today, but with this movie already loaded on it makes you think. Granted, this version isn’t going to be a High Def formatted movie, but other movies could be. Recently, when I buy a new movie release, I pay the few extra dollars for the “digital copy” if it’s available. This allows me to copy the movie to an iPod, computer, PSP or other player. If you put the digital copy of the video on a USB flash drive, versus playing the movie from a DVD or Blu-ray disc player, or from the hard disk in your laptop, you might extend the battery life of your laptop or netbook.
So why am I talking about movies released on flash drives? Bill Gates was quoted as saying that “…this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything’s going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk…” about HD-DVD and/or Blu-ray discs. While there may be some validity to this statement. Hitachi announced in 2007 a 100GB Blu-ray disc capacity using 4 layers with only a firmware change on existing Blu-ray drives. There are plans to announce a 200GB capacity 8-layer version soon. So while this may be the last physical format that content will need as a delivery medium for quite a while, I think that I might also start carrying my movies on a flash drive when I travel as well.
Also, many consumers are wondering …”what they would need a 200GB Blu-ray disc for?” Who needs to watch a movie at higher than the current High Def definition? Well, besides a lot of bonus material with your movie or extra video game content, new image formats in the medical industry could start taxing this type of portable capacity with just a few images and high resolution MRI video clips. However, one of the first things I thought of was physical size. If 200GB of capacity fits on a standard 80mm disc, then couldn’t an entire Blu-ray movie fit on about 20mm?
Anyway, while I’ve tended toward discounting optical storage for large enterprise archives, at least for now, I can’t help wondering if a “quantum leap” or a “warp jump” is in the development pipe that might propel this technology to “on par” with its magnetic peers at some point in the near future, with the holographic promise still beyond the horizon.