Microsoft joins Apple in the Blu-ray hate parade

An old saying says that the enemy of an enemy is a friend. Microsoft has declared Blu-ray an enemy thus making Apple their friend; for now.

Back in June a reader of Mac Rumors sent Steve Jobs an email asking about Blu-ray on the Mac. Steve responded with, "Blu-ray is looking more and more like one of the high end audio formats that appeared as the successor to the CD - like it will be beaten by Internet downloadable formats."

Now Microsoft is singing a similar tune; Stephen McGill, UK Xbox Boss, while being interviewed by Xbox Achievements said, "Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming."

Some of what Gill said has already started happening. A study by the NPD Group found that digital downloads for games beat out physical sales. From January to June of this year there were 11.2 million digital downloads for games and only 8.2 million copies of physical media were sold.

The same trend appears to be happening in the movie and TV market, with sites like Hulu and iTunes growing larger and offering more and more content. Digital downloads and streaming may really be the future of entertainment, but if that really is the case, those who use an ISP with a download cap will be at a great disadvantage.

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Sounds like the Xbox 3 will have DVDs as the standard format. How many? 4 DVDs for the next Halo game? Give me a break. They better have something a lot higher capacity than DVDs. Digital distribution sounds nice but broadband is not widespread enough and they will screw up with a tiny hdd.

babyHacker said,
Sounds like the Xbox 3 will have DVDs as the standard format. How many? 4 DVDs for the next Halo game? Give me a break. They better have something a lot higher capacity than DVDs. Digital distribution sounds nice but broadband is not widespread enough and they will screw up with a tiny hdd.

The next XBox (whatever it will be called) will not be around for many years. Digital downloads are already outpacing physical media sales as the article already states, so what will it be like years from now? Sounds like you're having trouble looking ahead.

TRC said,

The next XBox (whatever it will be called) will not be around for many years. Digital downloads are already outpacing physical media sales as the article already states, so what will it be like years from now? Sounds like you're having trouble looking ahead.

Sony (Kaz) already talked w/ discussion of developers and they came to the conclusino that the "next" version of Playstation will be physical media supported w/ heavy dual release (physical / eletronic) due to the infrastructure situation.

This debate doesn't even have to be about 'online content'.

There is no reason to be using large optical drives when 16 and 32gb flash memory is as cheap as it is.

Why have a large slow disc, instead of a Flash card the size of a fingernail? The costs are not that much different considering mfr costs and time of BluRay.

Then the 'Online' content can be distributed via online or downloaded to your Flash memory card at a store or kiosk or even purchased already on a Flash memory device. BluRay should be dead...

thenetavenger said,
This debate doesn't even have to be about 'online content'.

There is no reason to be using large optical drives when 16 and 32gb flash memory is as cheap as it is.

Why have a large slow disc, instead of a Flash card the size of a fingernail? The costs are not that much different considering mfr costs and time of BluRay.

Then the 'Online' content can be distributed via online or downloaded to your Flash memory card at a store or kiosk or even purchased already on a Flash memory device. BluRay should be dead...

Plus with companies now competing with SSD the technology is only going to get cheaper and capacities will continue increasing. I hate optical media and I'll be glad to see it go. I agree with Steve Jobs on this, Blu-Ray is the SACD of DVDs.

thenetavenger said,
This debate doesn't even have to be about 'online content'.

There is no reason to be using large optical drives when 16 and 32gb flash memory is as cheap as it is.

Why have a large slow disc, instead of a Flash card the size of a fingernail? The costs are not that much different considering mfr costs and time of BluRay.

Then the 'Online' content can be distributed via online or downloaded to your Flash memory card at a store or kiosk or even purchased already on a Flash memory device. BluRay should be dead...


This is a VALID point. It will definitely reduce overall distribution costs and be better for business. Flash memory is brilliant. The market to date however devours optical, the market = $, so what must we do...chase the market, who loves the optical, whom just so happen to pay $ which is what we like, this is very nice. Anything else would be folly, we may encourage growth in other sectors of the market. But, there is a very old adage in business (even older than 8 track tapes and betamax) "You've got to give the people what they want." But, you would be super stupid, if you had not researched the next phase of the market's curve, and had then neglected to poise yourself as being the market leader in the next phase of growth. If you are able to do that, well we could in all be in agreement when saying that you were a pioneer, one who had led us with advancements. Like, ah..Ajay Bhatt who was (if you didn't know?) one of the co-inventors of the USB.

Edited by onebadolepuddycat, Sep 24 2010, 11:25pm :

"The same trend appears to be happening in the movie and TV market, with sites like Hulu and iTunes growing larger and offering more and more content. Digital downloads and streaming may really be the future of entertainment, but if that really is the case, those who use an ISP with a download cap will be at a great disadvantage."

Download CAPS will go away completely once laws are in place and once legal downloads truly take off. That or the stupid ISP will go out of business, thankfully so.

From the standpoint of a content distributor, digital streaming is favored because they can charge on a per view basis. Microsoft, like Apple, is in the business of distributing content, so they will obviously favor technologies that will grow their own business line rather than grow Sony's.

Microsoft is surely not speaking of this decade, perhaps the next. For what they propose to happen, the Berlin wall must surely fall. The Berlin wall in this case is the opening of bandwidth and web access. Every household in the world must have web access, and a good broadband web connection, just as, ideally we all should have have hot and cold running water in every domicile. Otherwise, Hollywood would not be able to bring their product to the global market. With having the major ISP's aspiring to distribute bandwidth like army rations, and earning billions in revenue to recoup their fiber optic investments, tearing down the wall becomes impractical in the forseeable future. The wall is not meant to fall right now.This is what net neutrality is all about....the wall falling. Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, Skype, Vonage, Microsoft etc love it....the ISP's simply put do not. It will take at least a decade for them to come to some sort of common agreement, but by then Microsoft will have made a choice whether or not they had chosen a Blue Ray drive in their next generation gaming consoles. As games evolve so do file size, as with the cd-roms of early gaming and dvd's, blue ray disc to date for hd gaming. DVD 9's are hard enough for 360 developers now, in 5 years hd gaming will require much more! Mass Effect 2 had required two dvds on Microsoft's 360, thats even with the file compression. Mass Effect 5 may require 5-6 dvds. Lets be rational, how about using just one Blue Ray disc for games thats with todays hd gaming, and tomorrows hd gaming. Microsoft I implore you, to take the Blue Ray plunge! and P.S. Install internal drives, external drives, and dongles are for Netbooks....not gaming consoles....duh!!!

They're just bitter that they backed the wrong horse, in HD-DVD. If HD-DVD had been a success they'd be singing an entirely different tune IMHO.

Blu Ray is great. Broadband just isn't good enough in all countries to be viable for downloading HD content and there is still the stigma that people want something tangible that they've bought and they own - I certainly feel that way with media and like having a collection of Blu Ray movies

i'm really sorry for sony. i wanted one before but when i found out that i can build another pc with the price of one blu-ray drive, well that's that. heck it's not even on the pricelist of my favorite pc shop anymore.

The question of whether Blu-Ray is of better quality than streamed offerings doesn't really matter. Of course, BR is probably better.

What matters is whether a sufficient quantity of people are interested enough in what it offers to provide a critical mass of customers. Otherwise, it becomes LaserDisc.

The market is selling TV shows for people to watch on their iPods. I don't think these people are worried about the quality of Blu-Ray, nor are the people who think they are already watching HD content simply because they bought an HDTV.

Many people's interest in purchasing movies was exhausted with DVD. I doubt they have any interest in repeating the same with Blu-Ray.

For people who aren't going to buy and don't notice or appreciate the quality (which I'd say are the majority -- the returns of BR vs DVD are much lower than DVD vs VHS), the time advantage of not having to go out, maybe find the movie they want, and then have to return it later is provided by streaming or VOD/PPV.

I do question whether the bandwidth is there to support a critical mass of streaming, though. Especially if many people are going to do it at similar times of the day (i.e. Saturday evenings).

mbg said,
The question of whether Blu-Ray is of better quality than streamed offerings doesn't really matter. Of course, BR is probably better.

What matters is whether a sufficient quantity of people are interested enough in what it offers to provide a critical mass of customers. Otherwise, it becomes LaserDisc.

The market is selling TV shows for people to watch on their iPods. I don't think these people are worried about the quality of Blu-Ray, nor are the people who think they are already watching HD content simply because they bought an HDTV.

Many people's interest in purchasing movies was exhausted with DVD. I doubt they have any interest in repeating the same with Blu-Ray.

For people who aren't going to buy and don't notice or appreciate the quality (which I'd say are the majority -- the returns of BR vs DVD are much lower than DVD vs VHS), the time advantage of not having to go out, maybe find the movie they want, and then have to return it later is provided by streaming or VOD/PPV.

I do question whether the bandwidth is there to support a critical mass of streaming, though. Especially if many people are going to do it at similar times of the day (i.e. Saturday evenings).

Well put. The problem is, that although there is a HUGE quality difference between dvd and bluray, the problem is, that is the only difference.

I for one, do not intend to re-buy all my movies in bluray format. I figure for now dvd is fine for me.

Actually Microsoft, Apple, and things like Steam, Hulu and Netflix are going to make people go to BR because ISP's are going to start charging by usuage and digital delivery is going to get expensive.

As more and more people ditch cable, and use broadband to get their content, the cable companies are not going to sit there and lose money. Caps are a sure thing in the future.

Until the concept of buffering is no longer a problem no matter what your actual speed is. Physical media will always be most convenient to me.

I have 7down/386up and mine even buffers on SD crap.. Blame it on wifi if you want to..

statm1 said,
Until the concept of buffering is no longer a problem no matter what your actual speed is. Physical media will always be most convenient to me.

I have 7down/386up and mine even buffers on SD crap.. Blame it on wifi if you want to..

I'm at 6down/769up. Netflix HD buffer for about the first minute of an HD movie, depending on the movie, then after that it switches from SD to HD and I have never had to buffer again. I'm 100% wireless using 802.11n, 300Mbs. When I was only able to get 144Mbs, I did get buffers throughout and some would never switch to HD. I use a Netgear RaneMax DGN3300. when I switched my network card to a $14 AZIO USB 802.11n, I got full 300Mbs and wow, my desktop and Xbox couldn't be happier. I do still have network issues streaming live OTA HDTV from Media Center to Xbox but they're rare. Streaming BDRips is flawless but 2 Channel Audio. The OTA HDTVs are sending DD 5.1 as well.

tanjiajun_34 said,
Because most people download illegal?

+1

That too. BDRips look amazing streamed over 802.11n from Windows 7 to Xbox 360S.

Neither of them are going to say nice things about Blu-Ray because they don't get anything out of it. They want to convince people to download things from them instead, because they'll earn money off those sales.

More and more companies are putting caps on Internet bandwidth (unfairly).
Companies are fighting back and forth on what to charge for TV rentals and delays on movie rentals.
Fast speeds for HD streaming cost way more than cheaper plans.
The selection of HD content with some providers is pretty weak.

Until we get all those "kinks" worked out, Blu-ray will continue to rise.

Don't end things with DVD. Make Blu-ray the last physical format. It still has advantages over digital formats for the time being.

Once I will download blu-ray films too, but for now living in the smallest town of West-Flanders (the dutch speaking half of one of the smallest country's in Europe) is really not helpfull.

Let's get the facts straight here. Bill Gates called digital distribution many years before Stevie even thought about it. He cited bandwidth limitations as the only real roadblock. As we are observing, digital distribution is increasing as bandwidth limitations are decreasing. Let's give credit where it is due. iTunes wasn't even out when Gates thought this up.

In addition, having the same stance on an issue does not make two companies "friends". Does the author not realize that Apple and Microsoft make products for each other's technologies? Does that sound like enemies to you?

And I don't see either company "parading" hatred for Blu Ray but merely dismissing it as the way forward.

C_Guy said,
Let's get the facts straight here. Bill Gates called digital distribution many years before Stevie even thought about it. He cited bandwidth limitations as the only real roadblock. As we are observing, digital distribution is increasing as bandwidth limitations are decreasing. Let's give credit where it is due. iTunes wasn't even out when Gates thought this up.

In addition, having the same stance on an issue does not make two companies "friends". Does the author not realize that Apple and Microsoft make products for each other's technologies? Does that sound like enemies to you?

And I don't see either company "parading" hatred for Blu Ray but merely dismissing it as the way forward.

It's 1 way forward, but the consumer ultimately wins when they have choice, and are not restricted to just 1 path. People should try and support both if possible. But this is still something that will not come to fruition for a good amount of years.

shakey said,

It's 1 way forward, but the consumer ultimately wins when they have choice, and are not restricted to just 1 path. People should try and support both if possible. But this is still something that will not come to fruition for a good amount of years.

I'm with you Shakey.
To add, I really don't see the hype with Blu-Ray. It is far more expensive than what it is worth. My TV is full HD @ 1920 x 1080P, however when I play a standard DVD that use Dolby Digital; the difference in quality is so marginal that running out and doing a Blu-ray setup is just waste of money.

To really enjoy Blu-Ray you need a screen that is at least 50inches, then you need a 7.1 surround vs the more affordable 5.1 option. You need a room big enough to place the speakers far enough apart to enjoy the sound. In order to accomplish this you really need a house that has rather large family room or a basement. If you live in an apartment, your neighbors probably wouldn't be happy with the noise, so a less costlier option is better. At this point its udderly useless to spend $5000 or more for something you can't enjoy the way it was meant too.

Blu-Ray just makes the PS3 more expensive, it doesn't make it better. If they start putting games on Blu-Ray what benefit would it bring other than making the game bigger. How loud are you going to play games anyway?

I think they simply should have improved the quality of the orginal DVD. HD DVD probably would have been a better option. It would have been cheaper to implement, could easily be optained using firmware upgrades and present DVD players could still use it. With Blu-Ray you have to go out and buy new stuff and not everyone wants too.

TechieXP said,

I'm with you Shakey.
To add, I really don't see the hype with Blu-Ray. It is far more expensive than what it is worth. My TV is full HD @ 1920 x 1080P, however when I play a standard DVD that use Dolby Digital; the difference in quality is so marginal that running out and doing a Blu-ray setup is just waste of money.

To really enjoy Blu-Ray you need a screen that is at least 50inches, then you need a 7.1 surround vs the more affordable 5.1 option. You need a room big enough to place the speakers far enough apart to enjoy the sound. In order to accomplish this you really need a house that has rather large family room or a basement. If you live in an apartment, your neighbors probably wouldn't be happy with the noise, so a less costlier option is better. At this point its udderly useless to spend $5000 or more for something you can't enjoy the way it was meant too.

Blu-Ray just makes the PS3 more expensive, it doesn't make it better. If they start putting games on Blu-Ray what benefit would it bring other than making the game bigger. How loud are you going to play games anyway?

I think they simply should have improved the quality of the orginal DVD. HD DVD probably would have been a better option. It would have been cheaper to implement, could easily be optained using firmware upgrades and present DVD players could still use it. With Blu-Ray you have to go out and buy new stuff and not everyone wants too.

Valid reasons, except for the marginal quality difference. I may be in the minority when it comes to great living condition of my own place, with no neighbors, and having a 55" Full HD TV at 120hz, and a sound system that makes stuff fall off the walls , but the difference in quality is huge when I put in a regular DVD, a compressed 1080p rip, and an actual bluray. But I have always had the same opinion about the size of the viewing screen making it really matter.
But the ps3 is pretty cheap at the moment, for what you get with it, at only $300 bucks. The TV on the other hand cost a good amount, but is well worth it. I already had my sound set up for the past 6 years... a little dated, but by making my own customer speakers, I have greatly improved the output into something better than a theater.

TechieXP said,

I'm with you Shakey.
To add, I really don't see the hype with Blu-Ray. It is far more expensive than what it is worth. My TV is full HD @ 1920 x 1080P, however when I play a standard DVD that use Dolby Digital; the difference in quality is so marginal that running out and doing a Blu-ray setup is just waste of money.

To really enjoy Blu-Ray you need a screen that is at least 50inches, then you need a 7.1 surround vs the more affordable 5.1 option. You need a room big enough to place the speakers far enough apart to enjoy the sound. In order to accomplish this you really need a house that has rather large family room or a basement. If you live in an apartment, your neighbors probably wouldn't be happy with the noise, so a less costlier option is better. At this point its udderly useless to spend $5000 or more for something you can't enjoy the way it was meant too.

Blu-Ray just makes the PS3 more expensive, it doesn't make it better. If they start putting games on Blu-Ray what benefit would it bring other than making the game bigger. How loud are you going to play games anyway?

I think they simply should have improved the quality of the orginal DVD. HD DVD probably would have been a better option. It would have been cheaper to implement, could easily be optained using firmware upgrades and present DVD players could still use it. With Blu-Ray you have to go out and buy new stuff and not everyone wants too.

You're missing a few things. First off, you can't just improve the quality of a DVD. There is a finite amount of data that can be stored on a DVD, even with the very best data compression available today. And the more sophisticated the compression, the more powerful the decoder needs to be. No, firmware updates could not handle that and existing DVD players would not be able to support it. It requires hardware. You'd STILL have to go out and buy a new DVD player that could support it.
As for advantages of putting games on Blu-Ray, how about the convenience of having one disc instead of 4? The only advantage for gaming is storage space.
And what about we folks who do have large TVs? Should Blu-Ray not exist just because *you* don't have a large enough television to warrant full HD? If you don't want to go buy new equipment, don't. DVD will continue to hang around for a good while. By the time you're ready, the current technology will be cheap and mainstream, and you'll be able to pick up a $30 Blu-Ray player at Walgreen's.

TechieXP said,

I'm with you Shakey.
To add, I really don't see the hype with Blu-Ray. It is far more expensive than what it is worth. My TV is full HD @ 1920 x 1080P, however when I play a standard DVD that use Dolby Digital; the difference in quality is so marginal that running out and doing a Blu-ray setup is just waste of money.

To really enjoy Blu-Ray you need a screen that is at least 50inches, then you need a 7.1 surround vs the more affordable 5.1 option. You need a room big enough to place the speakers far enough apart to enjoy the sound. In order to accomplish this you really need a house that has rather large family room or a basement. If you live in an apartment, your neighbors probably wouldn't be happy with the noise, so a less costlier option is better. At this point its udderly useless to spend $5000 or more for something you can't enjoy the way it was meant too.

Blu-Ray just makes the PS3 more expensive, it doesn't make it better. If they start putting games on Blu-Ray what benefit would it bring other than making the game bigger. How loud are you going to play games anyway?

I think they simply should have improved the quality of the orginal DVD. HD DVD probably would have been a better option. It would have been cheaper to implement, could easily be optained using firmware upgrades and present DVD players could still use it. With Blu-Ray you have to go out and buy new stuff and not everyone wants too.

All PS3 games are on BR disks. I know someone that has recently downloaded a few ripped games since the PS3 is cracked now and some of those ripped games are 20+gig.

TechieXP said,

I'm with you Shakey.
To add, I really don't see the hype with Blu-Ray. It is far more expensive than what it is worth. My TV is full HD @ 1920 x 1080P, however when I play a standard DVD that use Dolby Digital; the difference in quality is so marginal that running out and doing a Blu-ray setup is just waste of money.

To really enjoy Blu-Ray you need a screen that is at least 50inches, then you need a 7.1 surround vs the more affordable 5.1 option.

Shurely shome mishtake? My LCD TV is a 40" 1080p unit but the different between an upscaled DVD and a Blu Ray is night and day. The blu ray is absolutely beautiful quality in comparison to upscaled DVD's....

Chicane-UK said,

Shurely shome mishtake? My LCD TV is a 40" 1080p unit but the different between an upscaled DVD and a Blu Ray is night and day. The blu ray is absolutely beautiful quality in comparison to upscaled DVD's....

What you said, I'm using a 22" LCD at 1680 x 1050 resolution on my PC, and an up-sampled DVD vs a Blu-Ray is no contest. None. Blu-Ray wipes the floor with DVD, upsampled or not, and comes back for more. On the big 47 1080p it's just as marked a difference.

It is not what MS or Apple think about the distribution of media, but what the film industries will decide. Are they going to ride the streaming highway or hang on media like dvd's and blue rays?

No, ultimately it is what the consumer decides. Supply and demand. If you don't supply what the customer demands (or if you DO supply what is NOT in demand) you're on the fast track to bankruptcy.

I don't like streaming, at least not with my country's download speed that tops 1mbps in average for the price of a 100mbps in another countries!

Download caps and slow broadband speed is the single reason digital downloads aren't taking over

I pitty steam fools when they have to format their drives and re-download 10-12 games!! That alone is my bandwidth allocation for 2 months!

Mouettus said,
Download caps and slow broadband speed is the single reason digital downloads aren't taking over

I pitty steam fools when they have to format their drives and re-download 10-12 games!! That alone is my bandwidth allocation for 2 months!

I pity the fools that dont know how to backup their steam games to an external drive BEFORE they format their drives. Or I pity the fools that dont know what they are talking about. You copy the whole folder back and install the steam client....NO DOWNLOADING again. Steam even has documentation on how to do this.

This is one of those irritating things about Apple and MS. If you both are against it, then unify your stance and lets move past it. The same applies to Flash, if everyone hates it, then find and immediately implement a better more secure solution. Otherwise stop making 'statements'. They are like the United Nations, always making 'statements' or passing resolutions that we all agree that something sucks. Big Deal.

KXH said,
This is one of those irritating things about Apple and MS. If you both are against it, then unify your stance and lets move past it. The same applies to Flash, if everyone hates it, then find and immediately implement a better more secure solution. Otherwise stop making 'statements'. They are like the United Nations, always making 'statements' or passing resolutions that we all agree that something sucks. Big Deal.

LMAO, I loved the United Nations comparisson... I know that they are all trying to replace Flash, and that's great, I hope it happens. But as for Blu-Ray, I think it's all really nothing more than hopes at this point.

ThePitt said,
of course, after the HD-DVD failure, anything is possible, specially comming from microsoft.

That makes no sense. The superior Betamax failed to inferior VHS just like HD-DVD lost to Blu-ray. And Betamax came from Sony. Yet Sony now is the champion of Blu-ray, so your statement is meaningless based on reality.

roughly 20gb + per movie you want to watch, if you want it near BR quality.. Good luck with the caps most people have on their internet connection, along with speed as well. What if you have 1000000 people all trying to stream such high quality as well... they already say the networks can't handle the horrible 20/3 most people get LOL. This isn't happening anytime soon. If it does, it will come at the cost of the consumers, and at a great cost of money and quality.

shakey said,
roughly 20gb + per movie you want to watch, if you want it near BR quality.. Good luck with the caps most people have on their internet connection, along with speed as well. What if you have 1000000 people all trying to stream such high quality as well... they already say the networks can't handle the horrible 20/3 most people get LOL. This isn't happening anytime soon. If it does, it will come at the cost of the consumers, and at a great cost of money and quality.

+1 Absolutely...

Well, besides all the bad things about Blu Ray, it's not in Microsoft's interest -- remember they were aligned with several others against Blu Ray in the format war. On-line video they stand to profit from, same as Apple. Then there's HDMI/HDCP, which has caused MS no small amount of both grief & dollars building support into Windows -- it would be great if they could just skip all of that & use their std. per file/stream types of DRM. If I remember correctly there was an article on Neowin, saying Toshiba [an anti-Blu Ray ally] was pushing for a cat5 HDMI replacement. And HDCP comes from Intel -- its demise might weaken them somehow, & MS doesn't like potential competition getting too big or powerful. SO there's all sorts of reasons for Microsoft [& Apple] to want Blu Ray to fade away.

OTOH it's not going to happen all *that* soon. People like to watch TVs, they don't necessarily like to fool with networking, & very large numbers like to have copies of movies they buy, same as with their music. An awful lot aren't going to want to part with their Blu Ray players after spending the $ on them so recently, & there's little to entice the masses to shell out the cash to buy another box (or PC) in addition to the cable/sat boxes they rent. And Blu Ray is on it's way to becoming a practical means/method of storage as burner & media prices drop -- if you're storing on BD already, it's nice to be able to use it for video too, though that doesn't mean it has to be in today's Blu Ray Video format (think DivX/Xvid in DVD players). And finally a lot I think is going to depend on how the licensing of video downloads & streams works out. People still buy DVDs -- it's a technology they're comfortable with & bypassing DRM is very common for re-purposing [video on hand-helds, cells & so on]... Blu Ray is rapidly getting to be the same way. Those who want to feel they physically own something for the money they spend, & especially those who feel that once they *own* something they should be able to do whatever they like with it, are not going to eagerly stop buying Blu Ray in favor of downloads with very restrictive DRM.

This isn't news...Microsoft has been saying this for years! And to suggest that because both Microsoft and Apple believe that digital download is the future (which it is) makes them friends is absurd. If anything it puts Microsoft more at odds with Apple, as iTunes and Zune Marketplace compete directly, where neither company has any stake in Blu-ray.

Sorry, but this is a poorly written article.

I kinda like have a physical copy. Same reason I'm not getting an ebook reader in the near future. I like actually feeling like I got something for my money.

Plus, it's waaaaaaaaaaaay too easy to blow large amounts of cash when it's so convenient buying dig. downloads. lol

Streaming methods are still pathetic because of bandwidth caps and horrible selection. Not to mention the severe lack of 1080, hell even 720 content, when it comes to streaming video. Yes streaming may take over physical media but not for YEARS to come.

Also unlike music I will NEVER buy a movie that is not on physical media. I don't watch "portable" video like I listen to "portable" music. Which is the only reason I can see to having the video in a digital format. I watch them on my big screen TV at home where having a disk is not an issue.

I will gladly *RENT* video content. PPV, Apple iTunes, Netflix at their lower quality's and deal with it if the price is right. But again, *NEVER* buy.

Jobs is basically saying a current format that works well is old and dead when the "replacement" is still a 1 year old learning how to walk and talk.

necrosis said,
Streaming methods are still pathetic because of bandwidth caps and horrible selection. Not to mention the severe lack of 1080, hell even 720 content, when it comes to streaming video. Yes streaming may take over physical media but not for YEARS to come.

Streaming movies at 1080p with 5.1 audio from Zune Marketplace on my Xbox 360 works quite well. Although the selection is somewhat limited, the technology is already here; depending on where you live.

necrosis said,
Streaming methods are still pathetic because of bandwidth caps and horrible selection. Not to mention the severe lack of 1080, hell even 720 content, when it comes to streaming video. Yes streaming may take over physical media but not for YEARS to come.

OTOH, HD cable, a lot of HD OTA digital broadcast, & many Blu Ray discs are up-sampled DVD quality, if that. To the average consumer all that matters is what the picture looks like -- they don't know or care if it's 720p or 1080 or whatever. If they don't see a difference between on-line video vs. what Hollywood & the cable providers feel is good enough for the so-called masses, they'll be more than willing to go with on-line sources *IF* they can offer some other advantage.

JonathanMarston said,

Streaming movies at 1080p with 5.1 audio from Zune Marketplace on my Xbox 360 works quite well. Although the selection is somewhat limited, the technology is already here; depending on where you live.

It's also very compressed compared to what BR will offer you. For those of us who are all about quality, streaming can not match bluray at the moment.

mikiem said,

OTOH, HD cable, a lot of HD OTA digital broadcast, & many Blu Ray discs are up-sampled DVD quality, if that. To the average consumer all that matters is what the picture looks like -- they don't know or care if it's 720p or 1080 or whatever. If they don't see a difference between on-line video vs. what Hollywood & the cable providers feel is good enough for the so-called masses, they'll be more than willing to go with on-line sources *IF* they can offer some other advantage.

I don't know what NBC is doing, but the OTA HD for Hockey, Golf, and Formula One racing, Law & Order SVU, all look better than any DVD I ever had, 1080i. 720 broadcasts look similar to upscaled DVD.

They don't have to support everyone with streaming because everyone doesn't buy DVD/Blu-Rays either. There will come a point that tips it over the edge. Both media formats will coexist but downloading and streaming will eventually become number 1.

I'm worried about lock in and pricing though, it makes it far too easy for companies to screw you. Wait and see how it pans out.

OceanMotion said,
Both media formats will coexist but downloading and streaming will eventually become number 1.

FWIW I think it'll be the whole MP3 thing all over again, though who knows if the movie industry will learn from, repeat, or amplify the music industry miss-steps? In that respect I'm a bit more optimistic because people have been uploading DIY video for years now, finding an audience more than willing, & now very well used to downloading video. I don't think consumers will stand for some of the stuff Hollywood might love to ram down our throats.

Mr Spoon... you are kidding right? it is more likely for an optical media to fail than a HDD... you scratch the top surface and you are done my friend... you put it near a magnetic field and you are done too...
HDD do have their drawbacks but are much safer than Optical.. or just go with SSD

chisss said,
Mr Spoon... you are kidding right? it is more likely for an optical media to fail than a HDD... you scratch the top surface and you are done my friend... you put it near a magnetic field and you are done too...
HDD do have their drawbacks but are much safer than Optical.. or just go with SSD

optical media are affected by magnetic fields ?!

If HDD's are so good, why do companies recommend you have them set up in RAID so you actually have two copies of the data?
I would never burn two lots of DVDs just incase one gets distroyed

Mr Spoon said,
If HDD's are so good, why do companies recommend you have them set up in RAID so you actually have two copies of the data?

To double hard disk sales obviously.

I've had a higher failure rate with optical media than hard disks.

I think there will always be a need for physical storage but it will take the form of USB devices that can store massive amounts of data.

Snapdragon said,
I think there will always be a need for physical storage but it will take the form of USB devices that can store massive amounts of data.

You can buy BD blanks for ~$1 ea. & burners for ~$100 -- that may still seem high, but that's about 1/2 of last year's price for the burners, & much more of a price drop on the blank discs... I can remember paying over $300 for my 1st CD burner if that adds any perspective. It will be years before you see USB sticks at $1 for 25 GB, if ever. Hard drives, as much as they've become a commodity, are still too big to store more than a few.

I'd love to start downloading movies, but until I can keep hundreds somewhere without the need to re-rent them and share them with friends, I don't think I will.

"Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming"

Ah, again "low bit-rate 'HD' lie". Quality of these "up-scaled" streams are crap. Blue-Ray can hold 50 GB of high quality data and there is no way to deliver such amount very fast to every house in the country soon. I guess it will take another 10 years to upgrade network infrastructure, so Blue ray will stay for some time and then will be killed by mobile storage devices or faster network.

EJocys said,

Ah, again "low bit-rate 'HD' lie". Quality of these "up-scaled" streams are crap. Blue-Ray can hold 50 GB of high quality data and there is no way to deliver such amount very fast to every house in the country soon. I guess it will take another 10 years to upgrade network infrastructure, so Blue ray will stay for some time and then will be killed by mobile storage devices or faster network.


The thing is, does "every house in the country" have screens capable of displaying such high quality ? and the ones which have don't already have really fast computers and internet connections ?

kInG aLeXo said,

The thing is, does "every house in the country" have screens capable of displaying such high quality ? and the ones which have don't already have really fast computers and internet connections ?
No, not necessarily. My parent's have a nice 42" HDTV but only have DSL. Many parts of the country have this problem.

EJocys said,

Ah, again "low bit-rate 'HD' lie". Quality of these "up-scaled" streams are crap. Blue-Ray can hold 50 GB of high quality data and there is no way to deliver such amount very fast to every house in the country soon. I guess it will take another 10 years to upgrade network infrastructure, so Blue ray will stay for some time and then will be killed by mobile storage devices or faster network.

No one goes to Best Buy and buys a Blu-ray for 50GB of true high quality pixels. Especially when most of that space is taken up by the Audio and extras anyway. If they can stream and image the they physically "see" as being High Definition, does it actually matter to anyone that it's "upscaled" or technically lower resolution. I mean, R U Serious?

MorganX said,

No one goes to Best Buy and buys a Blu-ray for 50GB of true high quality pixels. Especially when most of that space is taken up by the Audio and extras anyway. If they can stream and image the they physically "see" as being High Definition, does it actually matter to anyone that it's "upscaled" or technically lower resolution. I mean, R U Serious?

Watch avatar streamed vs blu ray, on a TV that will do it justice, and you will think it matters after that.

shakey said,

Watch avatar streamed vs blu ray, on a TV that will do it justice, and you will think it matters after that.

I sure wish you had said Iron Man. Maybe Iron Man 2. Avatar isn't streaming on Netflix, but based on Iron Man, I'm pretty sure it will do it justice. Not 3D. I personally was underwhelmed by Avatar, but will streaming be able to reproduced the fidelity of Bluray with Avatar under the kind of scruitiny you're likely to apply, no. Do I think it matters, no, even Aavatar would stream with enough fidelity to satisfy 2D viewers, obviously 3D is out. Will there be exceptions, yes. Will there be enough to stop the move to Digital Downloads, no.

But I am all for bigger storage.
I need something like a Bluray or DVD to store large amounts of files for backup. Do people only backup on HDD then? A HDD is more likely to fail rather than a physical disc

Mr Spoon said,
But I am all for bigger storage.
I need something like a Bluray or DVD to store large amounts of files for backup. Do people only backup on HDD then? A HDD is more likely to fail rather than a physical disc

HDD isn't "physical" disc ?
Also, if you have HDD used only for backup purposes its chances of survival for many many years are probably much higher than those optical discs.

kInG aLeXo said,

HDD isn't "physical" disc ?
Also, if you have HDD used only for backup purposes its chances of survival for many many years are probably much higher than those optical discs.

Have you seen where SSD is going. Already 64GB in the size of a postage stamp. Will revolutionize tables and mobile devices in less than 3 years. The next generation of consoles will have gigabytes of SSD at todays prices in smaller packages.

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As social networking increases, a market need has developed for a storage solution that will not only provide mobile benefits such as smaller designs, cooler and quiet operation and lower power consumption, but one that will also deliver enhanced user performance.

The SanDisk iSSD drive delivers all the benefits of SSD: It is rugged and reliable, power efficient and small in size. In addition, being an SSD in a BGA form factor and tiny in size, enables the SanDisk iSSD drive to be embedded into a larger variety of new thinner and slicker devices, such as smartbooks, Ultra-thin PCs and media tablets, with surprising and new innovative designs.

Such thinner and lighter computing devices are also enabled due to SanDisk iSSD drive's embedded design which allows manufactures to avoid the additional weight and thickness required by a connector based SSD solution. Thinner storage solutions like the SanDisk iSSD drive also enable fan less designs and greater airflow contributing to a cooler device operation, an additional benefit for the user on the go.

Moreover, with a SATA interface, commonly found in PC devices, the SanDisk iSSD drive enables easy system integration with mobile PC devices as well as high productivity capabilities. Thus, allowing end users to reap the benefits of optimized PC performance and user experience even in the smallest computing devices and when they are away from home.

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WelshBluebird said,
I thought Apple were part of the Blu Ray association thing?

Nope. Behind Flash, Blu-ray is at the top of Steve Jobs' least favorite things...

This coming after we had some reports here that people in the countryside still can't get broadband and are still on dial-up...

Like people said, until the infrastructure is there to allow this consistently to the majority of people you will need physical media.

I don't know. I think Blu-ray is here to stay at this point. It's cemented, the US isn't near ready to download everything, with many of the companies having caps too... And I would imagine it's similar in much of the world. And I don't think people are ready to give up having physical ownership of their movie collections... I know that I'm not.

Physical formats will disappear when digital can give the same quality, once broadband infrastructures improve we may start seeing lossless all around. I would love to say goodbye to physical discs but for now i can't go digital for these reasons =) SACD and DVD-A are definitely a flop, but you could get that same quality in digital lossless files.

SuperZod said,
Physical formats will disappear when digital can give the same quality, once broadband infrastructures improve we may start seeing lossless all around. I would love to say goodbye to physical discs but for now i can't go digital for these reasons =) SACD and DVD-A are definitely a flop, but you could get that same quality in digital lossless files.

You can do that now with Netflix. HD Movies are better or as good as DVD. Not many people rent Blu-rays now so digital is generally better than physical media given that DVDs still outsell Blurays by far. SACD is barely being used by anyone, period. But with OTA HDTV easily broadcasting DD 5.1, I'd say the technology is already there. It's just not that intensive. No one is recording much in 5.1. Being able to stream it might actually make it more prevalent since SACD just never went anywhere. I know, it exists, and audiophiles can find their music on them but in general, it's meaningless to consumers.

Good, I've had enough of physical disks.

I have no intention of getting a Blu-Ray drive for my PC. I never even use my DVD drive any more.

Digital downloads have become so much easier to access that I can really see this happening now. Many people care little about quality as long as something is good enough, and Blu-ray still commands a premium over DVD that puts people off. The DVD-Audio and SACD argument is a good one. They aimed to replace CD with their main advantage being better sound quality, yet the majority accepted MP3 as good enough even if it is lower quality. Convenience is a huge factor.

The biggest obstacle for digital download is convincing people that renting is good value and also ensuring a consistently reliable experience.

MistaT40 said,
I prefer a physical copy that I can carry with me or lend out. Also don't want to spend 1+hr downloading a 10+gb game.

Exactly. That's a good point. How often do you say to someone "Hey, this is a great movie. Here, give it back when you're done"? Or "Hey, I'll bring movie X over, I just got it and I think you'll like it"?...

M_Lyons10 said,

Exactly. That's a good point. How often do you say to someone "Hey, this is a great movie. Here, give it back when you're done"? Or "Hey, I'll bring movie X over, I just got it and I think you'll like it"?...

I haven't done that in ages. But just yesterday if she's watch anything good on Netflix lately. In my expeirience people are also more likely to watch movies that are borderline within their tastes when they can instantly stream the and just stop if they don't like it without having to worry about returns. I never would have watched Timer, The Good Girl, or The Boy in Striped Pajamas otherwise.

Streaming and direct download are fine if the infrastructure can support it but as mentioned before average dl rates in the uk prevent direct downloads imo.

morphen said,

steam? direct2drive? piratebay? you've seen already;)

Have you ever downloaded PS3 games? Before PS3 was cracked, there were no PS3 games on TPB (ones that come with BD)... I haven't checked now.

Glendi said,

Have you ever downloaded PS3 games? Before PS3 was cracked, there were no PS3 games on TPB (ones that come with BD)... I haven't checked now.

Not sure what the point was but the vast majority of PS3 games don't come close to requiring 50gb of storage. Those that do mainly need it for cutscenes and uncompressed Audio for which there is no discernable difference from compressed audio (for games anyway).

Having said that, some games will need more storage. HDs are cheap, MS is just trying to profit from them. Furhtermore, by the time the next gen of consoles comes around, there will be even denser physical formats. Even Bluray is not beyond 100G but both all consoles, even the PS3, would need new drives to be compatible witht he new formats.

Most of the games I play are XBLA downloads. My only conern is having to maintain a paid or even free account to utilize your digital media, ala Steam. I refuse to do that and think anyone who does is ruining the future for us. I bought Torchlight off steam and was shocked to learn I had to sign in to Steam to play it after I bought it. I deleted both.

Glendi said,

Have you ever downloaded PS3 games? Before PS3 was cracked, there were no PS3 games on TPB (ones that come with BD)... I haven't checked now.

Check again and see, now that there's a reason to download PS3 games (I'm not saying you should or anything, just that people now have the ability to make use of the downloads), they're all over the "usual places".

MorganX said,

Having said that, some games will need more storage. HDs are cheap, MS is just trying to profit from them.

"HDs are cheap" is a really poor argument. HDs are also big, heavy, consume power and are much more fragile than a blu-ray. You can't drop them or spill water on them. It's not like you would go and *do* it on purpose, but accidents happen, specially with removable drives and media.

NesTle said,
at least you can read blueray movie on Windows.

I dunno about everyone else, but I can't even playback blu-ray movies on either of my two computers with my blu-ray drive. Cyberlink are doing an absolutely terrible job.

He has a good point, in fact, I got Starcraft II and Microsoft Office 2010 via Digital Downloads. Another advantage of this, is that you can download them again. No more broken discs issues.

thenonhacker said,
He has a good point, in fact, I got Starcraft II and Microsoft Office 2010 via Digital Downloads. Another advantage of this, is that you can download them again. No more broken discs issues.

Because you can't make an ISO of discs you buy.

Glendi said,

Because you can't make an ISO of discs you buy.

His point was that you don't have to have physical media. Yes, you can burn it to an ISO but you don't need to...you already have it in digital form.

Glendi said,

Because you can't make an ISO of discs you buy.

Reading comprehension fail, your comment has absolutely nothing to do with what he said.

I prefer having a physical copy that I have control of rather than streaming content which someone else has control of.

Twisp said,
I prefer having a physical copy that I have control of rather than streaming content which someone else has control of.

But do you need a movie collection with hundreds that you only watch once? Physical media is reat for those special movies that you just watch over and over. For everything else I've found that a streaming rental service like netflix works much better.

Bengal34 said,

But do you need a movie collection with hundreds that you only watch once? Physical media is reat for those special movies that you just watch over and over. For everything else I've found that a streaming rental service like netflix works much better.

For me I rather phyiscal discs too for the simple fact that anything i'd stream from Netflix i've already seen anyways. I know streaming is the way of the future but in most cases you cant stream while being mobile. Yes i know the iPad has the ABC and Netflix app and they work over 3G but i don't consider that a good watching experience. That's like people on trips watching movies on a iPod video!!! (iPod Touch is a bit better but still, it's only a ~4" screen!)

I say i rather phyiscal discs but only in the case where downloads aren't available. I'd rather stream it from my own library i guess (which adds the futher complication of storage and backup) but at least they are only bits and bytes. Storing 600 movies takes up waaay less space on my Shuttle box (probably 10" x 15" x 8") compared to storing all those dvds/blu-rays ( a whole 2 walls!)

DKAngel said,
i for one wont dabble into blueray digital all the way
i for one wont dabble into digital picture and audio quality all the way

Well this has been quite obvious for some time, the question is when the final push for digital distribution will happen.

Zkal said,
Well this has been quite obvious for some time, the question is when the final push for digital distribution will happen.
It's not a case of "pushing" digital distribution. The problem is infrastructure, bandwidth and usage caps for broadband. By not supporting blu-ray you are not supporting everybody who doesn't live in an urban area with good broadband services. Bad show Microsoft, bad indeed.

TCLN Ryster said,
It's not a case of "pushing" digital distribution. The problem is infrastructure, bandwidth and usage caps for broadband. By not supporting blu-ray you are not supporting everybody who doesn't live in an urban area with good broadband services. Bad show Microsoft, bad indeed.

Exactly. And the caps seem to just be getting worse... I really don't think Blu-ray is going anywhere...

No this is wrong, Apple joins Microsoft on this.

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/10/5445.ars
This is an article from 2005 where Bill Gates said Bluray is an unfriendly format and that:
"For us it's not the physical format. Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything's going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it's even unclear how much this one counts."

Alastyr said,
No this is wrong, Apple joins Microsoft on this.

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/10/5445.ars
This is an article from 2005 where Bill Gates said Bluray is an unfriendly format and that:
"For us it's not the physical format. Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything's going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it's even unclear how much this one counts."

That is when Microsoft was pushing HD DVD... (their format / technology = royalties) so kind of a different argument really.

Alastyr said,
No this is wrong, Apple joins Microsoft on this.

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/10/5445.ars
This is an article from 2005 where Bill Gates said Bluray is an unfriendly format and that:
"For us it's not the physical format. Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything's going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it's even unclear how much this one counts."

Bill Gates has great intuition. Back in 2005 most people could not foresee a world of streaming media. Today, Blockbuster filed for bankrumpcy, because streaming services such as Netflix and other online movie rentals are now favorite over the physical format. Nothing beats instant satisfaction. Even my 70+ year old father is happier than ever buying music digitally, he even complains that downloads take a bit long. Instant satisfaction beats owning or touching the physical thing, because after all, video and music are enjoyed by our senses, so who cares if it comes in a CD, DVD, Bluray or if it just streamed or downloaded?

Matt Hardwick said,
That is when Microsoft was pushing HD DVD... (their format / technology = royalties) so kind of a different argument really.
HD DVD was not "Microsoft's format", they were just part of the supporting companies. MS weren't really pushing it that strongly, either.

Kirkburn said,
HD DVD was not "Microsoft's format", they were just part of the supporting companies. MS weren't really pushing it that strongly, either.

Indeed, Microsoft supported it mildly in the xbox360, instead Sony supported strongly in the ps3 and it was key to turn the tide in pro of blu-ray.

Alastyr said,
No this is wrong, Apple joins Microsoft on this.

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/10/5445.ars
This is an article from 2005 where Bill Gates said Bluray is an unfriendly format and that:
"For us it's not the physical format. Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything's going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it's even unclear how much this one counts."

Agreed. Microsoft might have backed HD-DVD (by Toshiba) just to try to keep sales away from Sony's PS3.
To Microsoft, it was a matter of Xbox360 vs PS3, not really HD DVD vs BluRay. They simply used HD DVD to try to even out the console sales a bit, but Bill had already made up his mind about downloads/streaming being the future.

I'd love to bypass and move straight on to digital streaming/downloads, unfortunately the UK broadband infrastructure just isn't up to the job.

Mike Chipshop said,
I'd love to bypass and move straight on to digital streaming/downloads, unfortunately the UK broadband infrastructure just isn't up to the job.

That depends where you live, really. I have cable in my area, so the 50meg definitely copes well.

Mike Chipshop said,
I'd love to bypass and move straight on to digital streaming/downloads, unfortunately the UK broadband infrastructure just isn't up to the job.

I feel the same way, I like the idea of streaming media but as of now it just doesn't measure up to Blu-Ray for quality. NetFlix and other HD streaming services look pretty good on smaller TVs, better than DVD for sure, but on a big TV it is not close to Blu-Ray.

Kushan said,

That depends where you live, really. I have cable in my area, so the 50meg definitely copes well.

Yes but 95% of the uk dont get anywhere near your speeds your in the minority.

Mike Chipshop said,
I'd love to bypass and move straight on to digital streaming/downloads, unfortunately the UK broadband infrastructure just isn't up to the job.

I can stream BBC HD programs from iplayer with no bother on an O2 16meg connection, even at peak hours, may just be down to your choice of ISP.

JustAnotherTechie said,

Maybe, but a large chunk of the UK *COULD* have cable broadband, they just don't:
http://www.broadbandanalyst.co...nformation/cable-broadband/

Plus, BT is now rolling out fibre to houses with speeds starting at 40mb, so, yeh...

You mean the 40MB broadband where the caps on the basic package can be used up in less than an hour.....

Speeds aren't nessasarally the problem. You can have 1Gbps connections to every house in britain but if they come loaded with a 250GB Limit then your not going to be watching a great deal of streamed HD content.

Unfortunately to supply every home with a > 10meg connection then you gotta have the backhaul at the exchange to cope with up to 2 or 300 times that figure.

With pricing based on cramming as many users into the smallest possible bandwidth and keeping that bandwidth used 24/7 then it will be interesting to see how the market reflects this in future.

ISPs at the moment are burying their heads and saying "All our bandwidth are going to pirates so we have to cap/throttle!!!1" if will be intresting to see what happens as more and more ligitimate uses of large bandwidth consumption starts to take hold. Im hearing more and more stories about non-downloaders being told that their usage is excessive as they watch a bit to much iPlayer where as a few years ago "average" users would never have to worry about any limit and it was their to ensure everyone gets a "Fair Use" based on the average. Hopefully the market will start to quench all these "unlimited" lies and force ISPs to start aggressively competing on speed AND bandwidth.

Edited by Unplugged, Sep 23 2010, 3:05pm :

Kushan said,

That depends where you live, really. I have cable in my area, so the 50meg definitely copes well.

Likewise. Using my 50mb I am able to pull constants of 6 MB/s off of good video services, if BT get their butts in gear and finally fibre more of their network, we will be ready. Our broadband is really being held back by BT, our cable networks are more than up to it.

Mike Chipshop said,
I'd love to bypass and move straight on to digital streaming/downloads, unfortunately the UK broadband infrastructure just isn't up to the job.

I know how you feel. My speed is only 1.2Mbps.

Mike Chipshop said,
I'd love to bypass and move straight on to digital streaming/downloads, unfortunately the UK broadband infrastructure just isn't up to the job.

I live in a medium sized town in Lancashire. I have an 24Mbps line (18Mbps actual speed), I regularly download at 2MB/s speeds. Plus I have no FUP, all for under £20pm. Thank you BeThere! There are some broadband suppliers that provide what we need, we just need the rest to get on board.

Unplugged said,

Speeds aren't nessasarally the problem. You can have 1Gbps connections to every house in britain but if they come loaded with a 250GB Limit then your not going to be watching a great deal of streamed HD content.

This.

Personally, I prefer to buy movies, which I love, in a physical format, i.e. Blu-ray. It's more convenient and accessible for me. I can lend them to friends easily. I can watch the movie in 1080p without any hindrance and check out the special features quickly. I also like being able to appreciate my growing/large movie collection from time-to-time.

However, I wouldn't mind renting movies via a streaming service. I'd love to see Netflix here in the UK.

I understand Microsoft's point on this topic and I'm glad they're supporting Blu-ray playback on Windows, unlike Apple, whose inability to support a medium that is now well-established annoys and perplexes me.

JustAnotherTechie said,
Plus, BT is now rolling out fibre to houses with speeds starting at 40mb, so, yeh...

You're referring to BT Infinity, and thats UP TO speeds of 40mb, not starting at. Also it's Fibre to the Cabinet, not to houses. Also, as with other high speed services, this is only available to a small fraction of the UK. My exchange hasn't even been upgraded to ADSL2+ 24mb service yet, we're still stuck at a theoretical max of 8mb, although I get around 6, 7 if I'm lucky.