Monday, April 27, 2009

Who Needs a CD drive anyway?

It seems that perhaps the optical drive in your PC or  laptop may have out lived it's usefulness. Increasing we are seeing networks such as the Internet being utilized as a means of distribution for software, movies, and music as opposed to having the actual CD or DVD in hand. iTunes and services like it have revolutionized the way people purchase music and with most newer vehicles allowing you to integrate your mp3 player into its audio system no Cd's are required. On the movie front Netflix, Blockbuster, and services like Hulu allow people to enjoy movies and television without the need for any type of optical media. The same is true for games and software applications many vendors and retailers allow you to purchase and download the game or application on-line instantly without having to wait to receive a disk. This makes even more sense with the expansion in availability of affordable high-speed Internet connections.

This trend is being further enforced by the growing popularity of the netbook or mini-laptops many of which do not have an intergrated optical drive. Software must intern be installed via a network, the Internet, or some type of external device via a USB connection. Personally I welcome this change, I have been using the network method for OS and software installations for years. It is far easier than keeping track of Cd's and the installations can be done remotely. I typically copy the CD or DVDs contents to a network share as soon as I get it and never use it, or in some cases, even see it again.

This may prove to be one more nail in the coffin for traditional brick and mortar retailers as software developers can shift more of their distribution towards the Internet and away from these retailers. They are likely to do this too as it will reduce their production and distribution costs and allow them greater control over licensing and unauthorized duplication. Additionally, this may have the greatest impact on the BLU-RAY format, and ensure it never reaches its full potential. I mean think about it, why buy a new player and a bunch of new movies when you can simply download it in true digital quality using just your web-browser? I predict that now begins the raise of the home media center PC connected directly to your home entertainment center. This has already begun thanks the DVR. People simply record movies and TV to their DVR's hard disk and watch them whenever they want.

Posted by:
Joshua Nicholes