by Anton Shilov
06/30/2010 | 11:45 PM
The Blu-ray disc (BD) format has enjoyed steady growth after its rival HD DVD threw the towel in early 2008. Sales of both players and movies have been increasing pretty rapidly and the quality provided by BD is now considered as reference for high-definition video. But Steve Jobs, the chief exec of Apple, believes that Blu-ray will eventually become another Super Audio CD or DVD Audio.
“Blu-ray is looking more and more like one of the high end audio formats that appeared as the successor to the CD – like it will be beaten by Internet downloadable formats,” said Steve Jobs in an email exchange with a user, reports MacRumours web-site.
The end-user was complaining that Apple’s latest Mac Mini, which is based on Intel Core 2 Duo 2.40GHz (with 3MB cache, meaning that it is slower than the four years old model E6600) microprocessor and an Nvidia core-logic along with GeForce 320M graphics core, did not feature a Blu-ray drive despite rather whopping price of $699.
Even though Apple is a part of the Blu-ray disc association, it has never released a single product that supports Blu-ray out of the box. The end-users can still acquire an external driver from a third party and enjoy Blu-ray technology without Apple’s help.
It is pretty understandable that Mr. Jobs does not want to have another physical format: Apple makes tremendous amounts of money on its iTunes business, which sells music and which lends movies. Regrettably, neither iTunes nor competing online platforms allow watching movies with the same quality and bit-rate as Blu-ray does, but for Mr. Jobs even 720p resolution seems to be enough. In fact, the head of Apple does not see any value in the physical formats at all nowadays.
“The downloadable movie business is rapidly moving to free (Hulu) or rentals (iTunes) so storing purchased movies or TV shows is not an issue. […] We may see a fast broad move to streamed free and rental content at sufficient quality (at least 720p) to win almost everyone over,” added Mr. Jobs.
But despite of criticism from various parties, physical video formats – Blu-ray and HD DVD – enabled a great progress for the high-definition home entertainment industry. The BD and HD DVD essentially brought high-quality 1080p video to homes back in 2006, something online services cannot do even now, the Blu-ray 3D is set to bring stereo-3D experience and the standards that will follow are likely to take advantage of ultra high-definition resolutions. Will online services be able to compete head-to-head?