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Blu-Ray Discs Versus Streaming – Who Will Win?

/ Jan 4th, 2013 No Comments

Blu-Ray versus Streaming - Who Will Win?

Blu-Ray versus Streaming - Who Will Win?

Blu-Ray versus Streaming – Who Will Win?

For 2013, one of the major technological battles is shaping up between “Discs and Clouds”. At stake is the multi-billion dollar home entertainment market. The winner will likely be decided this year; although neither will score a knockout punch… both will be available for years to come. But the battle itself will be very interesting. Here’s why the negatives will likely drive the outcome.

While “Cloud Storage” of your video library certainly creates a virtual library, the Cloud version of a movie does not include all the extra features which comes on a Blu-Ray Disc. If consumers simply want to watch a movie, fine – but if those same people enjoy the “Making of” and additional features, they are out of luck. The “LOST” series is one example where the added features were just as enjoyable as the episodes. On the Cloud, you don’t get to know how JJ Abrams and BAD ROBOT created the masterpiece, nor see the footage of the San Diego Comic-Con where the crew was interviewed, and forget about bloopers.

“Cloud Storage” also assumes that your Internet connection is infallible. Suppose you are at home because of a blizzard (weather not the Company) – if your internet fails but your power is still on, you now have nothing (zero) to watch.

“Cloud Storage” also comes with a catch – did you ever read the “fine print” associated with iTunes? Who actually owns the electronic rights to the “Cloud” copy of the movie? If you die, can your Will grant your “Cloud copy” to your children? An “Urban Legend” was that Bruce Willis was going to sue Apple over music, but that is not the case. So the question remains, a Blu-Ray Disc can be physically bequeathed but what happens to the 100+ movies in your Cloud Collection?

Blu-Ray discs are not without their problems. First is that Blu-Ray technology is not stable. Yes, the latest Blu-Ray players offer “firmware and software” upgrades over the Internet, but doesn’t that indicate that something important is changing? For example, six months ago I watched the Blu-Ray disk version of LOST. Last night I stuck it in and it now takes 4-5 minutes to load (yes, I have the “latest firmware”)! The only difference was that I uploaded a firmware update for my SONY S790 – now the player works worse than before the firmware update.

Second is the initial price gouge for Blu-Ray disks. Let’s face it; the disc itself costs less than a dollar to produce. “Cloud” movies typically cost 50% of the disk; unless you wait for the specials. A current (January 2, 2013) example is the beloved GHOSTBUSTERS: buy it at iTunes in HD for $17.99; or buy the Blu-Ray at Amazon for $9.99. Yes, immediate releases more expensive for disks – but within a short time, the prices drop and reverse the price advantage.

So for our prognostication – we believe that having a “hard copy” library that you can touch and add to at competitive prices, will win out over Cloud storage. However, if Blu-Ray technology does not stabilize soon and permanently, the player manufacturers will force the consumer to the Cloud.

Greg Gibson

Greg Gibson

Lead Reviewer / Editorial Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg Gibson’s resume spans over 40 years in the world of nuclear engineering and technology, having received a Masters Degree in e-commerce in 1998. Our resident MMORPG expert, Greg’s ability to understand the dynamics of MMOs is unparalleled.
Greg Gibson

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