Eulogy on Disc
] I'm browsing my local CompUSA and I get this vibe. It's just one of those things. You can tell a change is in the air. It came from the first aisle with all those CD and DVD burners. The smell was faint but it was clear: Optical Media is dying. That might seem a hyperbolic prognosis at this point, and I'll be the first to admit we'll be using the shiny stuff for some time to come. But as with audio tapes --nay, even faster this time, a seachange is upon us.
I wonder. Did anyone notice when flash memory overtook CD capacity? And now it has overtaken the DVD as well. Of course the price ratio is still off. You can pick up a 512MB flash for about $20 on sale. A CD-RW disc will only cost you $0.50. The ratio doesn't seem very favorable for flash, that is, until you consider flash memory's many advantages. Flash memory is faster, more convenient, more portable, more reliable, less energy consuming, vastly more reusable and quiet. All that adds up to a vastly superior product, well worth the extra $19.50. But it gets even better...
The capacity growth of flash memory continues to accelerate. Word has it that 32GB media will be available by the end of this year. Flash has bounded over DVD capacities in a matter of months, not years! And if that rate continues, for any substantial length of time, flash will also surpass the capacities of the new HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs COMBINED in less than 18 more (or should I say, "Moore") months. These new hi-def discs will barely have a footing in the market before new media is ready to replace them. One can only conclude that a very sad sirens song awaits HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.
In fact, I predict, by 2009 most movies will be online, HD content will be readily had via on-demand cable and flash media will be the ONLY transfer medium of choice. How can you doubt it?
It was 1969 when Klass Compaan, a Dutch physicist, dreamed up the idea for the Compact Disc. And it was then that many of us got our first glimpse of the shiny media. The CD was used as a prop on the original Star Trek series as a storage medium that recorded the contents of entire worlds on their surface. According to the show, if you placed one of these discs on the vertical reader, a portal opened up to a whole new realm of exploration. The CD and it's offspring went on to do just that. Through games and movies of unprecedented quality, we have been transported to worlds never before dreamt. Those little discs lived up to their promise and have served us very well. They will be remembered fondly. But as with all things, their time to say farewell has come.