Video-on-Demand and Blu-Ray

UPDATE:  See my Review of VUDU here.  

Now that Blu-Ray has apparently won the latest format war…how long do you think it will be before the next greatest technology surpasses it?

Not long.

Instead of DVD’s, there will be an ever increasing use of the Internet to download programming to your HDTV. All you will need is a device (or your computer, but, a device either inside your new HDTV or separate is better, IMHO) to connect to the Internet, find the movie you want to watch, download it, and watch it in full high definition.

If your Internet bandwidth is sufficient (DSL or cable modem) the movie will start playing almost immediately per a true “streaming” solution, or it may buffer in memory for awhile then start playing (I believe that is called progressive download).

Hogwash? Mark my words.

Last year, Apple introduced Apple TV. This device works with a wireless connection to your computer allowing downloaded videos to be transferred to the Apple TV device and played on your TV. Pretty cool, but, the computer is needed. It is also not selling well if I read the newspapers correctly. I suspect it was just a bit ahead of it’s time…typical Apple. Update: I was watching Episode 1 of season 4 of “The Office” and wished I had the Apple TV device. I believe I could have sent the Episode from my computer to the Apple TV and watched the stream on our big screen TV. I fully understand, now, how interesting a product this is.

News Break: It appears as though Apple will be renting downloaded movies via iTunes. More information may be forthcoming at MacWorld next week.

Breaking News from MacWorld: Steve Jobs announced today that Apple will provide movies via iTunes and that the Apple TV device (see picture below) will be updated to allow computer free use as well as use with a computer. I, unexpectedly, hit that one on the noggin when I wrote this blog! WooHoo 🙂

This year, VUDU and TiVo have recently announced set-top boxes (the VUDU box is pictured at the front of this blog) that connect to the Internet, downloads either rented or purchased movies (in high def or standard def), stores them on the players hard drive, and plays them.

Very cool.

Someday, and maybe sooner than we think, a trip to Blockbuster will be a thing of the past.

I am glad Blu-Ray won the format war (I would have been equally as glad if HD-DVD had won), but, watch out……it may be a short life.

You may know that David Pogue from the NY Times is a favorite of mine. Here he discusses what impact VUDU (and like technology) may have on the DVD business. He also touches on some limitations of the technology (Geee, he got to test it…after all he is more famous than I am….;-)


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