Some time ago we pronounced HD-DVD dead. This paved the way for Blu-ray to become the next format. I was sad to see HD-DVD die, but I was also very reserved about Blu-ray. While it was left to be the winner, I didnít think that Blu-ray was the answer.
I mentioned that Internet-based media was coming, and if it didn't overtake Blu-ray, it would replace it. Deep down inside I was hoping the public would skip over Blu-ray and jump to online media. My wishes are coming true; move over Blu-ray, it's online media's turn now!
Blu-ray vs. Streaming
First I will talk about the differences between the two and see how they compare. The biggest difference is the media. Blu-ray movies are a physical media, meaning you can hold a copy of the movie in your hand. With streaming media, you can't; you can watch the same movie, but it's sitting on a PC or server somewhere and it's just a file.
Buying a Blu-ray movie will cost roughly $20+. You still have to worry about scratching and other disc problems. You also need a player, as you do with streaming media. A Blu-ray player will cost you upwards of $200. Now $200 might not sound like a lot, but when you have a DVD player or TiVo or other device already, it means spending that money for just one additional feature.
Streaming media can be just as costly, if not more. You can go up to a couple grand for a home theater PC. However, you could probably get away with a slower machine for about $200, which is comparable to the cost of a Blu-ray player. But couple that HTPC with Windows Media Center, MythTV, or other Media interface, and you're set for not only streaming but also much more, like TV and storage.
Even devices like the Xbox 360 and TiVo now have streaming capabilities. Netflix has a device for $100 to stream movies. The options with Blu-Ray, on the other hand, are limited and still rather expensive.
With the way online streaming has busted open, it won't be long until it's in every TV-connectable device. Portability is a quickly-changing requirement. Carrying a Blu-ray player along for a business meeting is not going to fly, but a notebook computer is, and hotels now offer free Wi Fi. You can now watch videos in your room on your computer.
There are some downfalls to streaming that Blu-ray doesn't have. You need an Internet connection to stream movies; this isn't an issue for Blu-ray. Not only do you need a connection, but you need a fast one. The US is still trying to catch up to the rest of the world with Internet speeds, but we'll get there. Pushing an HD movie through your Internet connection can be a little harder for some people.
With Blu-ray, the whole movie is right there; all you have to do is put the disc in the player to watch. There are many more differences between the two, but we're not here to talk about the differences; we're going to talk about why streaming is taking down Blu-ray.
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