Lately I have been wondering about the future of movie and music distribution. At one time, we all bought VHS versions of our favorite movies. Then DVD came out and we all started buying DVD copies of our favorite movies, often buying the DVDs for our favorites that we have already purchased on VHS. At some point another technology will replace DVD and VHS and we will not even be able to get VCRs or DVD players to play our expensive movie collections. So, will we have to re-buy all the movies we have already paid for (possibly more than once if we had them on VHS or Laser Disc)?
I think there ought to be a better model. How about online services that let you buy a movie once. The file is forever (and I don’t mean that figuratively, I mean it literally) stored online and you can download it as many times as you want. The video file format can be updated by the movie companies whenever the technologies change, so you’d always have access to the movies you purchased even when the technology changes. If you want the DVD, you download the DVD image from the server and burn a DVD. In the future, when there is a new format, you could re-download another copy of the movie and put it onto whatever is the technology du jour. Or just play on your TV through your PC, since that seems to be where we’re headed.
The problem is that technology is changing faster and faster. We should not be forced to continually re-purchase movies, music, etc. Nor should we have to convert file formats on our computers, causing the video and audio to continually suffer conversion losses with each successive generation.