You Don't Own Me - Another Reason Streaming Will Ultimately Win the Disc/Streaming War



Since CES 2013 wrapped up, all anyone has been talking about, present company included, has been UltraHD (formerly 4K) and whether or not you need it, want it, can afford it or if it’s even any good. The next question is obviously when we can expect to see UltraHD content and whether or not that content will come via a disc or via the Internet, aka streaming. To be truthful, both are probably an equal distance away, as there is no disc format on the horizon and, while steps are being taken to get broadcast and streaming there, they too are still a way off. So let’s just ignore UltraHD for the time being. In fact, let’s ignore all formats for the sake of this discussion and focus purely on two different delivery systems: physical discs and streaming.




We understand why media and entertainment want to try to wring out every dollar for every entertaining moment that consumers use, envision, plan and think about. But I think the streaming issues as highlighted here show the stupid myopia of a few big-city urbanites who never travel past the 'burbs. There is a huge amount of America that is still on DSL - suh-low connections - even though the late '90s Prez-VP duo had every bar-ditch in the country excavated to hold fiber optics.

(Every police station, library, school, hospital, clinic that receives a US Federal Dollar has access to a fiber feed. Unfortunately, that was denied by the next admin who saw “control for profit’s sake” as more important than citizen access to high-speed Internet. And who says China and North Korea are the only control-minded ones?!!)

But the fact is, when American towns and cities were littered with 1-TV-Station-Only, which reaped all the local profit rewards, consumers wanted more More MORE. So first it was UHF? Then broadband cable? The additional local stations landed.

It’s easy to understand the Entertainment Biz believing they need to control and monopolize their products on their schedule and at their approval.

This is why Physical Media still has the attraction for me. “I can have my entertainment on MY schedule.” Not based on my bank-balance. OR my preferred residential location. Urbanizing the world in a few huge Tokyo’s or Beijing’s has the highest negative sentiment for me.


UltraHd will not happen until 2020 at the earliest for OTA. By that time, subscription cable-tv companies will own the OTA networks and chew up what’s left of the white space & uhf spectrum for Ultra and it will be a simulcast/overlay standard. Probably set-top down converters will exist as the transition to ultra gives back the ATSC frequencies for wide-band cell networks provided there is a resolution to the AT&T/Verizon duopoly by 2020 (sets will be addressable/updateable to operate on multiple bands/frequencies as needed not fixed as they are now).

It’ll be funny when they try to figure out how to up-sample all the 320x240 analog content to 4k sets. Consumer sentiment, pricing & the economy will be primary factors in adoption of NEW technology.

Look how many DECADES analog OTA existed-- and ATSC/DAB have been problematic where weak signal strength wipes the picture instead of a weak picture/audio any ULTRA equipment would need to vastly improve on that issue with 90% signal attenuation margins-- for example, being able to show full 1080p in that margin instead of 4k. Besides, 4k like HD will first happen with satellite & cablecos then make a transition to OTA much quicker w/ cable-company adoption & government subsidy.


So the MPAA thinks streaming will greatly prevent pirating? I think it will accelerate pirating as this will be the only option to have a stand alone copy at a person’s disposal. Plus, any DRM they come up with will be cracked in a week. It will probably be easier, and less expensive, for the pirate community to obtain digital files through streaming than buying HD disks.

I won’t even get into the bandwidth issues of streaming high quality 1080p HD video en mass on the current infrastructure. Then throw 4k into the mix and the problems are even greater. Also, I don’t think there is much of a demand for 4k from either a provider or user perspective. I would be happy if Comcast would just provide me a quality 1080p/30 fps stream instead of the over compressed and pixelated crap they are passing off as 1080i HD.


Streaming facilitates piracy? Could be - affect more folks, show more limits and more folks want to get past them.

A couple of years ago, Netflix bowed to studio pressure and delayed new-releases for a month. “Now, we can sell our newest DVDs so much better without competing with rentals!”

For decrypting efforts, however, this was a HUGE benefit. “Oh boy, instead of hearing users complain that our decryption efforts are lagging, now we’ve got a headstart.”

Has anyone seen articles proclaiming huge leaps of DVD-BD sales in that first month recently? I haven’t.


Here is the scenario that I think will develop with a streaming only model. A person pays to watch a movie and they like it and want to see it a few more times. Instead of having a hard copy they can play over and over to their heart’s content they have to keep paying a fee for every viewing. Instead of paying this fee I think many people will decide they should be able to watch a movie multiple times for a one time payment. If they can’t then downloading a pirate copy will become a viable alternative to them and they will feel justified doing it. Plus, anything that plays on a person’s TV can probably be recorded no mater what DRM is imposed. It would be something like the software that recorded MP3s as they played on your computer.

The more the MPAA, RIAA etc. try to grip content distribution the more revenue will slip through their fingers.