Like other businesses affected by the rapid rise and fall of technology, Hollywood studios have a major dilemma on their hands. Recently, the code protecting their High Definition content on Blu-ray discs was hacked. This has opened the door for the crown jewel of HD technology to be pirated on a mass scale resulting in multi-millions in lost revenue.
Once given assurances from Intel, the manufacturer of the technology, that the code was utterly unbreakable, the studios set out to make Blu-ray the gold standard for all recorded movies and television shows. They spent a lot of money and exerted their influence every which way enticing consumers to adopt the technology and the corresponding player units. Seemingly, everyone had a stake in the new technology. The stage was set for what could now turn out to be a short-lived run of success.
It is a very real possibility that Blu-ray discs could go the way of CD’s and DVD’s with copying and content dissemination becoming rampant. As time passes, this will become worse and Hollywood doesn’t have an answer for what to do next. Simply recalling these players at this point or having new software installed in them is not an option.
One obvious solution is to switch to a new medium like a flash based memory in the form of memory cards and USB flash drives. Blu-ray technology is read-only and is based around optical memory, whereas flash based memory is read-write with much better copy protection and the ability to collect analytical content on the card.
Some suspect that VOD streaming is the wave of the future and could be easily undertaken. However, with bandwidth limits being consistently consumed by a myriad of new internet capable devices all downloading/streaming more video than ever before, how long can we expect this technology will continue to bend and not break? There is an inherent danger in treating internet bandwidth as a limitless and disposable resource.
As more content is pirated and the use of video increases, the time is now to adopt a new video medium or what could be termed the new DVD. Expecting Hollywood to seriously look for new alternatives to pursue may be foolhardy considering they are still making a healthy profit and not yet feeling a serious financial pinch and may not for some time. Until they do, don’t expect the search for and adoption of a new medium to happen anytime soon.
When new options are examined, expect Mo-DV’s technology, centering around flash media, the protection of content and the flexibility to download new content from USBs, RD devices, and compatible kiosks to be a legitimate choice in new distribution mediums. These cards can be re-used ensuring long-term value to the consumer while still allowing studios to make a profit for their films or television programs. These are some of the steps that will eventually be taken to ensure that pirating will be more difficult as well as potentially easing load demands on internet bandwidth.
Written by Kurt Wilson