Home > Main, Media & Reviews > On DVD and HD-DVD and Downloading

On DVD and HD-DVD and Downloading

December 8th, 2004

Boy is this guy stupid:

“…it’s a heavier download. That’s why we’re pushing to get HD-DVD in place,” added Parsons. The new technology…has far greater storage capacity than DVDs currently on the market.

“Right now, you can probably download a DVD in two, three hours,” said Parsons. “This HD-DVD product is a day’s download. And that’ll be a big step [for the industry], to make downloading just super, super, super inconvenient.”

First of all, this guy must have terrific bandwidth. If he’s talking about downloading a whole 4.7- or 8.5 GB DVD in “two, three hours,” he must have blazing DSL or maybe a fiber-optic connection, and constant private access to someone with significant upstream broadband. To download a 25- to 27 GB HD-DVD in a day would require similar feats of downloading magic. Most people don’t get that kind of speed, meaning that even much smaller downloads can take days or even weeks, and that doesn’t faze most downloaders. They just leave their computer on all day and let things download in the background. Doesn’t matter much to them.

Right now, downloading a whole DVD is inconvenient for many, unless they have significant broadband. Which is why ripped DVD movies are typically not downloaded whole at original size. Instead they are compressed into much smaller files for easier downloading. An 8-GB DVD is stripped of its extras and the core movie file compressed into a 700 MB file, which can fit on a single CD-R for storage and is still of fairly good quality. That’s what might take 2-3 hours–the compressed movie, not the whole DVD–and even then, only if you’ve got blazing bandwidth and are using the right service, like BitTorrent. Introducing HD-DVD would be no different–it just means a slightly different encoding job for the pirate who originally rips the movie. The time difference won’t be so great unless the whole DVD, uncompressed, is made available for downloading, or if the movie file is not compressed as much–but it’s the choice of the pirate, not the format of the DVD that determines things.

Not to mention that broadband is increasing. On clients like BitTorrent or Shareaza, with tracker sites like Suprnova or Youceff many complete DVDs are indeed made available whole, because many downloaders do now have the sufficient bandwidth–or extreme patience–to download such a large file. Now, HD-DVDs will not become a popular standard for many years–by which time, broadband will have increased to the point where downloading larger files is even easier.

So in short, the HD-DVD files will be downloadable just like today’s DVDs are, with or without compression. Changing the format will do little or nothing to stop piracy. What stops piracy most is making the media itself cheap–which many DVDs are, certainly in contrast with music CDs. How many people are gonna sit and wait three weeks for a download to complete, then have to go through burning the DVD or CD (not always simple) just so they don’t have to pay ten bucks to get the original product, which has better quality and features? Not enough to matter, that’s for certain. As with downloaded music CDs, downloaded DVDs are not really any threat to the media conglomerates. They just love to act like they’re the victims of something.

Categories: Main, Media & Reviews Tags: by
  1. Enumclaw
    December 9th, 2004 at 09:00 | #1

    What’s really ridiculous is that the vast majority of illicit movies isn’t downloading; it’s simply ripping the movie from a DVD to a computer hard drive, then burning it back onto blank DVDs.

    I’ve done it. I can do the whole process in under 25 minutes for most DVDs. It’s very easy and you get a perfect digital copy.

    HD-DVD is exciting and cool, but the idea that they’re moving to it to stop downloading is just stupid. But then, as you say, the studios just want to be seen as victims, so their own victimization of others isn’t as obvious.

    Enumclaw, WA

Comments are closed.