What Could replace DVD?

I have a friend who has a vast VHS collection who absolutely refuses to go into DVD. He admits that DVD has a superior picture and sound, but he is convinced that a better video medium is around the corner, and he is content to sit with his tapes and wait for it.(I’m planning to sell him my Thunderbirds collection; it’s coming out on DVD next month.)

How right is he? He is envisioning something like the memory rods used on Deep Space Nine; I know that memory sticks are available for digital cameras, but a DVD holds several gigabytes of data - it should be years before anything like that can be crammed into a stick.

I tell my friend that “the better is the enemy of the good”;
that he should take the plunge and go DVD - but could he be right and I’ll have to sell off my collection of shiny discs in a couple of years?

If Hollywood doesn’t kill it, the next version of DVD would probably be several times higher in capacity in order to accomodate HDTV programming. However, it will likely be several years before it’s on the market (especially since HDTV is barely out of the starting gate now).

We recently had a thread about D-VHS possibly replacing DVD. The general consensus was no, but D-VHS could not really be said to be on the market yet, either (Panasonic had a model in 1999 but withdrew it).

I believe in the thread Frogstein linked to, that it was mentioned that DVDs have the capability to handle HDTV resolutions, just that it isn’t necessary as of yet. I also mentioned that MPEG 4 could be the future (as new MPEG standards tend to be), but these would also be compatible with current DVD technology (in terms of discs and lasers), though set-top DVD players will likely need new firmware and those that don’t support easy firmware upgrades will likely need to be replaced. OTOH, any MPEG4 compliant DVD players will almost definitely be backwards compatible, so your DVDs won’t be obsolete anytime soon. Just my WAG.

It all depends on when you think high-definition TV will catch on. Any format better than DVD would be wasted on today’s TV’s. Heck, even DVD is a bit wasted on them. No one will be motivated to switch to a better format until they can see the difference, and that means owning a HDTV.

My guess is that step will take 3-5 years. Add in another couple years for the next-gen DVD format war to settle down and for everyone to start releaseing the movies, and you’ve got 5-7 years. That’s a pretty long time.

I could see it where you no longer even have removable storage like we have now. CDs, ZIP disks and other higher capacity removable storage. I foresee, down the road, that it will all be done via high speed internet access, you never go to places like BlockBuster (though they may have an online store) you download the movie with a “rental fee” and like shareware you can either purchase it, and it’s yours or it expires.

Once it’s been purchased and on your local hard drive you no longer have to deal with storing items. Of course you will have to do a regular back up. However if you didn’t then your movie would be in a database somewhere and through a code you could download it again.

Of course I also see that audio is going to change drastically and in fact your whole idea of computers and entertainment. For that matter, soon we will be like Bill Gates and have our house controlled by computers. The idea of The Jetsons isn’t that far off – except for the flying vehicles.

The next thing comin’ round the mountain is video on demand. You will be able to select movies from a remote storage medium & be able to view them via streaming cable feed. The advantage is that you will no longer be a slave to a network’s programming schedule, or be limited to only the 6 or 8 movies that are currently showing. You can “order” all 175 episodes of I Dream of Jeannie and watch them back to back at 3 a.m., if that’s what floats your boat.

The down side, I’m afraid, is that this will be even more expensive that cable TV already is. :mad:

It should be noted that consumers have a very large voice in the success or even viability of anything that attempts to replace an already popular technology. Look at Minidisc- superior to CDs in every way (I don’t want to hear it from you sound “purists” who buy speakers with a 50KHz upper limit) and yet this medium antirely failed to take off like Sony hoped it would. Consumers were happy with their CDs… 'nuff said.

And if you still think that corporations who try to change our precious formats without our approval don’t die a horrible death, I’ve got some DIVX discs I want to sell you.

Yeah I know that MD wasn’t aimed at replacing CDs, it was aimed at replacing cassette tapes. But the consumer opinion was that we were trying to take away their precious CDs, and this was a pivotal reason for MD’s lack of success.

According to SONY, a video cassette starts to change after about 15 years, at which point it becomes nothing but fuzz.

That should get your friend to dvd. Or cd.

I think it might have also had something to do with the fact that:

  1. Prerecorded MDs were more expensive than CDs when they came out, and
  2. Blank MDs were significantly more expensive than blank tapes. They still cost much more than CD-Rs.

Attrayant, you also mentioned that MDs are superior to CDs in every way. I can think of only two: they’re smaller, and they’re re-recordable. Also, recall that when MDs first came out the sound was definitely inferior to CD (no, I never tried it, but Sony did not even claim that it was just as good; I think they were planning on marketing it for automobile use); it’s only when they improved the MPEG algorithms they were using that the sound came to be just about as good.

Anyway, back to DVDs:

Actually, I don’t believe this will be the case. Even the best DVD players currently available only support output at 480p. To change this to HDTV resolution would require modifying the video output section (it would require a larger frame buffer and outputs with higher bandwidth). It’s possible that the medium and transport would remain the same; however, as technology improves we will be able to fit more data on the disc, and MPEG4 compression won’t be necessary (although once we have encoding hardware that’s fast enough, it would be great for timeshifting). While MPEG4 is good, it’s still a step down in quality from MPEG2.

Didn’t the FCC mandate that by 2008 all TV was supposed to switch over to HDTV.

I was under the impression our current TV’s would be obsolete by then.

I’ve often read in magazines about DVD2. It’s supposed to use a blue laser, hold much more than DVDs, and output at HDTV resolution levels. Also, I’ve heard that DVD2 players will be able to play regular DVDs.

The question is though, if it comes out, will consumers support it? Many people have already bought DVD players, and I doubt they’ll buy a new one just because it can display at higher resolution.


Your friend is not that far off, check out this article on CNet.

MPEG-4 on the way

They will be holding thousands of times the capacity of DVD’s.

you will play them in a 3D Crystal thing player and it will be interactive.

Have you seen the Fortress?

hold on it is the fortress actually i think it is.

it is in the future and they are in a prison with barcodes on their arms…

“I was under the impression our current TV’s would be obsolete by then.”

No, you can use a converter box then, about $15.00. You can’t use your present vcr to record hdtv though.

HD’s should be the next one. Imagine, 20 gigs for $15.00. If they weren’t so fragile they would be nice.

Reasons you don’t need hdtv:

  1. you have to get some rabbit ear antenaes to watch them.
  2. you can’t record them without a special vcr ($800)
  3. The tv costs about $4,000. But you can’t watch without the decoder for it too, another $1000.00 for that.
  4. Not much hdtv programming right now.
  5. hdtv looks just like regular tv unless your set is bigger than 31"…Who has room for a 40" set?

etc… this was actually discussed on tv by the Digital Duo.

If you use a converter box, there’d be no real enhancements from DVD2, or whatever replaces DVD. Converter boxes have the unfortunate property of taking HDTV signals and downconverting them to regular TV resolution, so I’d doubt you’ll see much difference between DVD and DVD2 at 640X480.

A third: they are permenantly protected in a sealed plastic case with a spring loaded shutter. The whole magilla gets loaded into the player and you never come into contact with the disc. So compared to CDs, MDs are virtually impervious to damage when you’re on the go.

Ah but remember, MDs weren’t meant to be competing against CDs. Make the appropriate comparrison (MDs versus cassettes) and then tell me which has better sound quality.

But even if we do compare MDs to CDs, the difference is not audible to 99.9% of human ears. I was an audio tech working for a subsidiary of Sony at the time they were released, and had the opportunity to listen to both side by side. Only in one case out of dozens of samples could I detect something different (not necessarily wrong or missing, just different) between the two, and only while examining the output with superior quality mega-bucks headphones. And in at least one case, when they played a CD, then switched to MD I imagined a difference when there was none (they actually switched back to the CD, causing me to think that I was now listening to the MD- there should have been no difference. Kind of like asking you to choose between two unmarked sodas, and when you make a definite choice and say that one is clearly better than the other, only then do they reveal that they are both Pepsi). In an ordinary room with your average speakers (which, all by themselves introduce 5% or more THD), there was no audible difference.

I still have the VHS tape of Sony’s first commercial attempt at marketing the MD. It is full of people swearing on a stack of bibles that they couldn’t tell the difference (any that could tell the difference were edited out I’m sure).

On the oscilloscope it was another matter. With special test discs I could see the difference in the measurements every time. I suspect that comsumers, being naturally cautious about spending big money on a new format, looked at Stereo Review, Audio and other popular electronics review magazines and saw that the MD output showed a measureable difference compared to CDs. Consumers then said “ah HA! MDs are inferior to CDs!” Never mind that you couldn’t tell by listening, that was the beginning of the end for MDs.

Long-term data storage will be on disks in one form or another for the foreseeable future, and when re-recording is not an issue, it’ll be optical disks of some sort (yes, I know that there’s re-recordable optical disks, too, but it’s not nearly as easy as it is for magnetic media). Just for reasons of convenience and compatibility, those optical disks will probably still be the same size as CDs/DVDs, as well (so your DVD2 player will be able to play DVDs, and your DVD player can play CDs, etc). The only technology which could conceivably replace optical disks is holographic crystals, and those are still extremely buggy, and fall into the “Only Twenty More Years” category along with quantum computers and fusion power.

The above only applies to data storage; it is possible, as techchick68 and others point out, that home viewing of movies will be no longer dependent on data-storage media.

My take on why a lot of people aren’t crazy about changing to DVDs is simply that, as far as I know, you cannot record onto them from your TV as you would a VCR. And as incredible as it may seem, I have had people watch a DVD with me and admit that yes, it is a much clearer picture, etc., but tell me with a straight face that they didn’t lke DVDs because “They cut off the top and bottom of the picture with those damn black bars.” I’ve actually had to explain the concept of aspect ratio and screen size in the simplest language I could muster.

And as far as getting one’s movies stright “over the net,” etc. I find that I prefer to have my movies handsomey packaged (well, not always so “handsomely”) to display on a nice shelf. All my old VHS and audio tapes that I have kept which I hand-labeled in my less than graceful script, I keep out of sight in the cabinet on my entertainment center. But I assume that the “packaging” may be downloadable/printable, so that may not be a concern.


You can easily buy a dvd writer but the blanks are expensive, $25 7 up for the better ones.

You can rip dvd films from them & copy to cd but they are so clever now that decoding one can take days.

I’m wondering, with the stink in the recording industry, if MPEG4 will really be adopted by anyone in the forseeable future, at least without considerable constraints. I mean, think about it. People trade ripped games and songs as it is. Can you imagine a floodgate opened, with the ability to trade not only movies and even television shows. Of course, there would be constraints and possibly even not publicly released encoders. But if people have found multiple ways around DVD’s, they’ll probably find a way into MPEG4 at some point.