In the far-reaching consumer world, pricing and universal availability still run the video show, but with an ever-increasing roar of acceptance, other methods of video distribution are taking control of our viewing habits.
There are exceptions, but by and large, folks are no longer concerned with acquiring a hard copy of their favorite movies, home videos or clips. Move over DVD ... but for what?
For current video production, from Hollywood to sister’s third birthday celebration, the host of delivery and viewing options is a boon, removing the hassle of burning a DVD and all the variables that come with that preparation. Those of you who shoot, edit and create for DVD distribution are aware of the steps it takes, but many have been introduced to a whole new world of distribution that makes for instant access of videos without ever having to burn a DVD.
Due to the costs involved, Blu-ray hasn’t reached the market penetration of DVD.
For the older footage, from movies to documentaries, archival film and video, moving from one distribution format to another has resulted in loss. Many films are stuck in limbo as costs for reformatting are often prohibitive; even if the original master is still available. Some of that is changing, of course, ever since the plethora of options for online and on-demand viewing became available at significantly lower processing expenses.
Which all begs the question: what is the future of video distribution? The formula that eventually made DVD successful over film, LaserDisc and VHS, with all the competing elements of each, was ubiquity and inexpensive media. As players became a dime a dozen and home burner systems became more and more affordable, these allowed just about anyone the ability to create and preserve a DVD of their own video. Even DVD, with its apparent universal availability and ease of use, has not reached every consumer on the planet.
Likewise, with all the current options from YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and others to direct-to-consumer delivery via cloud-based services like Dropbox, Blu-ray and even flash media like USB drives — there are drawbacks to each and every one. In spite of all of us who have computers, wireless access, smartphones, smart TVs, etc., there are still plenty of people on the planet who want to play DVDs on their players along with a few holdouts still milking their VHS collections on that dusty-but-trusty VCR.
Due to the costs involved, Blu-ray hasn’t reached the market penetration of DVD. Many popular titles aren’t making the jump. With DVD players that can improve on the resolution, a goodly number of consumers are still happy with that method for viewing on their new HD televisions. The USB drive or other flash media, while nearly treated as disposable these days, is still more expensive when compared to blank DVDs.
Joining this myriad of options are TVs, most of which can now utilize many storage options but not all of them. Tablets and smartphones don’t accept USB or optical sources. There are plenty of computers, laptop and desktop, but the market there is shrinking, as are some of the connectivity that was once available. While still plentiful, laptop and desktop computers are losing market share to mobile devices. So, how long will the “stationary” computers be an option?
The answer is, regardless of your personal or commercial viewing or distribution needs there is no more ubiquitous delivery method than DVD and our best option is to utilize every available method we can to ensure access for the most people possible.
Matthew York is Videomaker's Publisher/Editor.