We’ve already got high-capacity Blu-Ray discs and 3D TV on the way but could Microsoft shun Blu-Ray as a format in favour of digital downloads?
In an interview with Xbox Achievements, Stephen McGill, the UK Xbox head said “Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming.”
It’s widely known that Apple supremo Steve Jobs isn’t a fan which is why none of the company’s Mac and iMac computers come with a Blu-Ray drive. Jobs has previously compared the format to “one of the high-end audio formats that appeared as the successor to the CD – like it will be beaten by Internet downloadable formats.”
But where will this leave PC and Mac users if major companies such as Microsoft and Apple, and let’s face it you can’t get any more major in this regard, shun the format.
As technology moves on we’re all gathering more and more data. Digital cameras are an excellent example of this as megapixel counts rise year on year pushing up file sizes exponentially. While the cost of both internal and external hard disks are falling and the introduction of new data transfer technologies such as USB3 are introduced, it makes it much simpler and cheaper for people to keep their backups on these. Also the rise and rise of cloud storage continues though broadband speeds simply aren’t keeping up with the demand from customers to keep their data stored on remote servers.
I myself have just bought a large 4Tb NAS (Network Attached Storage) box to back up somwehere in the region of the 3+Tb of data I have already built up for just my home and business life, and this is just to store off-site which makes it an expensive option.
Despite all the benefits of external hard disks there’s still a large volume of people who need to transfer large files, of several gigabytes, around the country and around the world to other people and currently cloud storage simply isn’t good enough for that.
So we come back to the loyal DVD and Blu-Ray disc. The failure of Apple to include Blu-Ray drives in their computers suddenly puts Mac users at a tremendous disadvantage. Also, while Blu-Ray drives may now be the order of the day for PCs, if the major players are slowly shifting towards an entirely downloadable future, what will the future hold for anyone who buys a PC in a few years time?
The rumoured inclusion of an app store in Windows 8 (currently code-named Windows vNext) as leaked by an employee at HP earlier this year could be a sign that Microsoft wants to push in this direction.
While digital downloads are currently outselling physical media formats this could be the beginning of a worrying trend. Apple and Microsoft will need to eventually come round to identifying their customers needs, or we could all be facing a future posting heavy and expensive packages when we need to send files and data to friends and colleagues.