Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Digital Video for free, not for now.

Steve Jobs commented yesterday that 'he would not hold a parallel at all between the video industry and the music industry'. It is not surprising that there is no rush to open DRM for video.

In our earlier article, we mentioned that the music revolution phase II has started .
It is true we can question what will happen about the video. Let's now be realistic and reasonable.

We can always debate on the illusion and wish to live in a society where products such as videos and audio are free. Will such a debate be of any consequence? We are living in a world driven by rules, economics, constraints, both financial and technical. It is amazing to see so much debate arising as a result of internet and the new digital revolution.

Regardless of whether the audio or video is produced on tape, DVD, broadcasted on radio or made available online, the content remains the same. The only difference is the medium that is used to allow the consumer to access it. In the past, (the hardware time versus the internet time), you needed to go to a shop and buy a movie. If you decided to give a free copy to your friend, you would have to find a way copy it. Most were aware that making copies for reasons other personal backup, was illegal . These restrictions make sense, as the artists and the record companies need to protect themselves against free distribution.

In my opinion, Steve Jobs is absolutely right in his statement that the concept of DRM-free audio cannot be completely applied to video. There are just too many differences from technology to business, including from consumers’ point of view that videos can now be freely distributed.

New distribution systems are now being introduced. Various factors will influence the type of system developed to deliver audio and video. Some factors may include the type of content (e.g. movie, music video, audio book, etc), and length (e.g. trailer vs full length). Another important consideration is how the content will be consumed. For example, will it be used primarily at home through devices such as the home theater system, computer, etc or if it is mean to be used while mobile ? Consumption while being mobile may also vary, as it depends on how and where will be used.

Video on Demand (VOD) is already available to consumers and newer ways to distribute content are being explored. What is the ultimate goal ? Definitely to generate additional revenue for companies and also to satisfy the consumers’ need mobility and virtualization. This goal is not necessarily by choice, because traditional channels of content distributions are suffering.

Consumers needs will only increase.They want more and faster access to unrestricted content.Providers will want to cash in on these needs.The bottom line is that everything comes at a cost and requires time for technology to be developed. We can either continue to live in a dream world or face the reality we need to accommodate current standards.The industry and professional are working on answering ‘our’ needs. In the meantime, let's be patient and take one step at a time.

I am sure that in time, the lines between that dream world and reality will be blurred.

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