Consumers prefer iTunes movies to Blu-ray and HD DVD?
By the end of 2007, Blu-ray has apparently sold 6 million movies since its launch in June 06, while HD DVD has sold 2.5 million movies since April 06.
iTunes Movie sales came out in September 06, but have clocked up 7 million sales in a shorter timeframe than either high-def disc. That’s pretty impressive – and it was ‘only’ standard definition content.
Of course, sales of regular DVDs still dwarf sales of downloads or high-def discs by an enormous margin. But high-def is the way of the future, whether delivered on disc or by download, and with the requirement for a new HD TV, it’s no surprise that regular DVD is still so popular.
Downloads are getting much more popular, both legally and illegally. Besides Apple and iTunes, Microsoft offers downloads of TV shows and movies in SD and HD on the Xbox 360 in the US, Amazon has the Unbox service that connects with a PC or with a TiVo to download movies to your PC or TV, and there are movie download services and accessible via regular Windows PCs and those equipped with Windows Media Center on XP and Vista, among others.
All of those download services, and the one that is coming for Sony’s PS3, are all having an impact on sales of DVDs and its successors.
But optical discs aren’t about to disappear anytime soon. Although iTunes makes buying and downloading movies as easy as buying music, video files take up a lot of space. SD video takes up a lot of space – HD video takes up even more.
HD video offered by Apple, Microsoft and most others is also only offered at 720p in a file that is highly compressed so as to make it smaller to download.
While 720p is nice, it's not the 1080p delivered by high-def discs and perfect for 1080p HDTVs. But if we can fit a high-def movie into a download as Microsoft and now Apple are doing, what do we need high-def discs for? Please read onto page 2...
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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.