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Old 2012-09-03, 12:46 PM   #1
optimusskids
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Default Digital Media versus physical

I hadn't often thought about the fact that once you have a digital Download apart from the enjoyment you get out of it unlike the physical copies there's not much you can legally do with it. You can't flog off your itune files and kindle books down the car boot sale or on ebay to raise some spare cash.
True Hardbacks are quite possibly the item with the highest level of depreciation on the planet from most of 20 from a bricks and mortar shop to lucky to get 2 for it second hand but with their digital equivelent you won't even get the 2

Until I read the paper this morning


I've not thought about the technicality of leaving your digital estate to someone until I saw this in the paper this morning

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technolog...nst-Apple.html

Bruce Willis is fighting to be able to legally leave all his downloaded msic to his kids.

Also presumably at some point 30, 50, 100 years from now the book shelf will die out as an interior design feature in houses.

Novelty Bookmarks from MArgate will be a thing of the past

Will rare and unusual music be lost unable to be played stuck on operating systems unsupported and unsupported.

I remember reading a few years ago about a project in the 80's or 90s to record the Domesday book on floppy disks and how Ironically the original is more acessible than this updated version as technology has moved on.
 

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Old 2012-09-03, 01:11 PM   #2
Cliffjumper
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Eh, it's not just hardbacks, just about anything you can get digitally has next to no resale value - comics, CDs, DVDs. Successful blockbuster films cost 10-13 on release and barely fetch a couple of quid on ebay - I've got four copies of the '07 DVD; one I bought, one someone got for me after seeing it in a charity shop and two thrown in with ebay wins as freebies by sellers. CDs are the same - chart stuff has roughly the same RRP and ebay value as DVD films do.

Obviously there're always going to be exceptions for stuff with a following or limited editions that aren't either reissued slightly altered or superceded by later releases.

Physical shops need to wake up and smell the coffee, though, because more and more people are getting computer literate enough to download the items and the gulf in price just makes the profiteering too obvious. I think it was Denyer who said here that music execs must have just decided to enjoy the ride while it lasts...

To some extent, though, prices have come down - 15 CDs and DVDs are less frequent and the price of TV DVD boxed sets have come down massively over the past 5-6 years... DVDs are probably more secure because you're never going to get many people who want to either squint at them on a small screen or sit at a desk watching them. When someone puts an iTunes-esque ordering system directly into a cheaply-priced DVD player with a massive catalogue avaliable (compared to, say, Sky's on-demand services) that's when physical DVDs will start taking a kicking.
 
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Old 2012-09-03, 02:17 PM   #3
Thunderwave
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My biggest bitch about the move to digital is how a lot of the companies that are hawking these digital goods seem intent on fleecing their buying public as much as possible.

Folks, I present to you the publishing industry!

Right now I can drive the 3.5 miles (5.6km) to the local Banes and Nobles and buy a hardback book for $25. Or my wife and can fire up her Nook and download the same book, without leaving the house, for...$25. The part that gets me up in a lather about this is that the book in the store had to be printed, bound, shipped, sorted, stocked and the floor under it needed to be paid for. The file, however, needed to be created, have a tiny amount of server space (most books come in well under 1MB), and sent across the digital lines to my house (which, for less then 1MB is negligible). The digital format is pure profit for them, but they keep the price inflated well above what it should be. To the point that when said hardcover is in paperback finally, you're still paying $15 for the digital version. It's crazy, it's insane, and it grinds my gears.

Now, not all companies are like that. Smaller publishing houses, particularly in the RPG area of things, often sell their digital books at a reasonable rate. Often you can find the books on their own website and when you buy them, they send you all the common file formats at once as opposed to the one you'd get from a bigger website.

Digital is the wave of the future, sadly. I like being able to do what I want with things I buy, personally. With the way it's all worded you aren't so much buying digital products as you are buying an extended licence for them, a licence that often includes clauses for them to take it away from you if they so choose and leaving you up shit creek without a paddle.
 
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Old 2012-09-03, 02:55 PM   #4
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Thing with digital is that companies won't be able to do that forever; sooner or later people will become more literate with illegal downloading. Wholesale downloading of films and TV used to be the preserve of a few geeks, now it's a lot more widespread. If I was in a hurry to get banned quickly I could give you... ten, fifteen links to the most recent Prime episode. It'll be like that with books if publishers aren't more careful.
 
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Old 2012-09-03, 03:01 PM   #5
inflatable dalek
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I've never gotten the hang of film and TV downloads (plus I'm a TV and film geek anyway so I want the extra features and commentaries that- as far as I'm aware- you don't get with downloads) but absolutely love my Kindle and the ability to download comics on my phone.

The later I think is especially important, because 98% of UK comic shops are run by complete ****s and deserve to be crushed under the heel of the digital revolution.
 
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Old 2012-09-03, 03:40 PM   #6
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Baen publishing have taken an interesting stance to the digital debate and offer some of their books for free online

http://www.baen.com/library/intro.asp
 

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Old 2012-09-03, 07:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffjumper View Post
It'll be like that with books if publishers aren't more careful.
Already is... and it's far from just things that have been released officially in digital form. It's easy and only moderately time-consuming for people to scan books, which is nice if you read things that have never been re-released and that often can't be re-released, in the case of a lot of licensed fiction. Even when the publishers are trying; eg, http://www.shadowrun4.com/products/fiction/

As I've always said, most things don't justify the shelf space. They might get read/watched once or twice. In any realistic market prices should be set to encourage people to chip in (i.e. after a year or two they should be less than a second-hand paperback copy; 3-4 tops) with a premium for physical media or tie-in merchandise. DRM is a waste of time; it only takes one person to break it, and the rest is inconvenience for legitimate customers.

Like in Star Trek there'll probably always be a place for dead tree stuff, and I doubt that people will stop buying shelves... they just won't have as much wood pulp on them.

It'd be nice to see more legal precedent for what people do anyway.
 
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Old 2012-09-03, 08:51 PM   #8
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I feel like such a fossil. Whilst I agree traditional media need to move with the times, I will always take a physical format over a digital one. There's no joy owning something thats stored in zeroes and ones. The inevitable march of technology will mean what ever file format I've picked something up in will be made redundant.

I still have vinyl records i like playing, and am quite happy picking up cheap second hand CDs. I had a bash with itunes, which is good for buying the odd track, but I dunno, I like the arttwork and everything that goes with physical formats. My Pop Will Eat Itself vinyl with marvellous artwork by the Designers Republic and Stylorouge's stuff for Jesus Jones are some of my favourite possessions and like a mental, I can spend a good few minutes pouring over artwork whilst listening to stuff. Its part of the experience for me. Digital is massively handy though, and I do like converting stuff to MP3s to stick on my phone, but i don't like that you can't really assemble MP3s into a sort of compilation and you're stuck with aplhabetised playlists (if there is a way to do this, please tell me!) - I used to like making mixtapes for my old walkman

Comics and books - definately physical. i think because my eyesight is a bit ropey and I use computers at work, i like the 'rest' my eyes get from paper formats. You remember to blink when reading paper formats too, which helps. I like how books and comics smell! here's a funny thing - Private Eye have managed to maintain and grow their readership by not offering an online edition for free like other newspapers that are now struggling as they've got all their content available online for free - how do you pay journalists for their work if you've got it all available online for nothing?

DVDs I love, but I hate that we're all being encouraged to upgrade to Blu Ray by the back door with all the extra features you used to get on DVDs are only now available on blu-ray releases. I hate sneaky sh*t like that.

That last point is probably what I hate most about technology - you're constantly being asked to buy sh*t you already own on a new format every few years, and really, its not necessary. Upgrading from VHS to DVD is one thing - but to then switch from one digital format to another...? Not for me.
 
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Old 2012-09-03, 09:11 PM   #9
Thunderwave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optimusskids View Post
Baen publishing have taken an interesting stance to the digital debate and offer some of their books for free online

http://www.baen.com/library/intro.asp
For RPG fans out there, Posthuman Studios offers the core book for their game, Eclipse Phase, free online with a Creative Commons licence. All they want is some credit if you use their work. The side books are available on Drive-Thru for $10-15 depending on what version you get, and these are large, full color PDFs. I consider that reasonable. Also, talking about scanning, White Wolf had hysterics for a while with people doing that and spreading the books around on Napster. Now they've stopped flipping shit and offering their goods in native PDF so at least you can get a properly readable copy. WotC, on the other hand...*shakes head*

Both publishers of digital works and the consumer need to wise up. Pirates are gonna pirate. People have been pirating media since I was a kid. Dual deck tape players? How about a record player with a tape deck? Hooking two VCRs in sequence? No one thought twice about it, you just did it (what person over the age of, say, 25 didn't make a mix tape to give to a person they "liked"?). Consumers need to wise up to all the stupid tricks that get played and just tell people to piss up a rope.
 
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Old 2012-09-03, 10:41 PM   #10
Denyer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
There's no joy owning something thats stored in zeroes and ones. The inevitable march of technology will mean what ever file format I've picked something up in will be made redundant.
There isn't much fun in trying to find information in a paper reference book or a quote in a series of 20+ novels. The medium's not really important most of the time... in a few cases it's currently superior, such as with nice durable comics collections, but the technology will catch up. And the data will be fine as long as someone remains interested enough to bring it forward into newer formats (which isn't to say we shouldn't watch out for and refuse restricted formats. The keepers are ones such as epub and CBR, which are essentially just vanilla text and image files in popular archive containers.)

If EM pulses start happening we're going to have bigger problems than loss of entertainment data.

Quote:
Digital is massively handy though, and I do like converting stuff to MP3s to stick on my phone, but i don't like that you can't really assemble MP3s into a sort of compilation and you're stuck with aplhabetised playlists (if there is a way to do this, please tell me!) - I used to like making mixtapes for my old walkman
Personally I'm using MediaMonkey for library management, and a Sansa Clip+ with plenty of storage running Rockbox as an MP3 player. I particularly like being able to downmix to mono for listening through one earbud on the move. Seems to have a lot of playlist functionality as well, although personally I'd just change the filenames. What your phone may be doing is only working with meta-data rather than giving the option of traditional files and folders.

Blu-ray seems to be an exercise in desperation, although a bit more successful than SACD. The majority of what's on sale everywhere is DVD. People might go with Blu-ray for a few favourite things, but lower resolutions are Good Enough (and usually watched on mobiles, tablets, laptops, etc.) Way back when I guessed HD-DVD would be the winner of the the HD battle -- based in large part on technology uptake being driven by porn -- but it turns out they're both largely irrelevant and skin pores just aren't that interesting.

There'll be a bit more take-up when prices average out to the few quid a disc that DVD typically fetches and there's more market penetration by players... by which time the format will be even more comprehensively compromised in terms of DRM being broken, and people will still be favouring 700Mb rips or smaller and generally not caring about extras.

On the eye-strain thing... e-ink is great, and as stable an image as paper, with the added plus of being able to change the formatting and text size. It's got a way to go in terms of contrast and in terms of colour reproduction, and will probably go off on a tangent with flexible non-backlit paper, but things are slowly improving. It's already fine for text content.
 
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Old 2012-09-04, 12:22 AM   #11
optimusskids
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Technology being good enough is why the bottom seems to have fallen out of the digital camera market. Millions have a camera included on their mobile and find it good enough for them not to warrant them buying a separate camera.
 

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Old 2012-09-04, 02:38 AM   #12
Notabot
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I find myself not listening to or enjoying as much the MP3 albums I buy and download compared to buying a CD. Maybe it's because with a CD, that was what you took in the car with you for about a week and you heard nothing but that new album. With MP3s, I put them on a memory stick, listen to the album once or twice, and then it becomes just 10 songs among 4,900. The portability of MP3s is cool (hauling my entire collection on something smaller than my pinky and putting 200 cd cases in the basement is awesome), but I think the albums aren't as special.
 
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Old 2012-09-04, 03:23 AM   #13
Thunderwave
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I get to listen to an mp3 player at work, so I love digital music. Let's me throw the songs I want to hear at work, or an audiobook, and get to work to the music. Often it's the only thing making my job not mind crushingly boring.
 
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Old 2012-09-04, 08:43 AM   #14
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@ Denyer! You have just blown my mind with your wacky future talk! but you have given me some things to investigate, so thank you very much
 
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Old 2012-09-04, 08:08 PM   #15
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Although I prefer Sony Readers to e-ink Kindles, I know a lot of people like the latter and they're worth a look. Amazon's also relatively friendly with their store DRM -- it's usually easy enough to strip the DRM from stuff you've bought yourself for use on other devices.

Gazing into the crystal ball, what I'm looking forward to is very light A5 (or even A4) colour e-ink type devices, but tablet development is centre stage at the moment and efforts like Triton aren't getting much buy-in to drive the unit costs down. Technology might leapfrog to this or better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Notabot View Post
I find myself not listening to or enjoying as much the MP3 albums I buy and download compared to buying a CD.
Definitely prefer buying CDs and ripping them where possible (it's an extra level of backup if nothing else) but I've grudgingly come to accept it not being realistic for bands to do physical media in many cases (and why they'd rather fork out for doing vinyl as a physical format if at all, because there are people who've bought into the 'romance' of dragging needles over things.) For example, Bandcamp allows this guy and these two to put out old demos and occasional EPs easily and FLAC (i.e. lossless quality) is an option. It's worth a few quid a time.
 
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Old 2012-09-05, 03:46 AM   #16
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I'm kind of wondering how long before the whole album concept dies out and artists just release singles when they finish them.

Did you hear about Beck's new album? It seems he's going the opposite direction. Novel concept, but kind of a beast to listen to in the car!
 
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Old 2012-09-05, 04:40 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
The medium's not really important most of the time...
I think I have to disagree with that. Digital formats are massively superior when it comes to searchability and indexability, like you yourself said. That's just about the only advantage they have, though. Way too much legitimately-purchased digital media comes with DRM or in a proprietary file format that pretty much ensures that it'll all be useless in ten years' time as content suppliers try to move everyone onto the next "big thing", which is a shame because in theory the biggest advantage of digital formats is persistence. An ebook or an MP3 can be copied and shared, backed up and archived...but only as far as the provider will allow it, and that hamstrings what should be the biggest selling point of the digital revolution.

And from a subjective viewpoint, I find the "experience" of reading a paper book is very different vs. reading an ebook. Reading has always been a relaxing experience for me, but ebooks are anything but. Any time I read one I wind up frustrated and annoyed. Between UI issues, having to fiddle with the settings to get a font and colour scheme I find readable, getting distracted by incoming emails and having our tablet run out of power, it's always made me feel like the technology is getting in the way of enjoying a book, not making it easier the way it's supposed to. The same thing goes for reading a scanned comic book in CBR format vs. having the physical book in my hands. The physical medial is just far more comfortable and relaxing to me.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who's felt that way either.

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Blu-ray seems to be an exercise in desperation
Serious question: do people actually buy Blu-ray players? I literally don't think I've ever seen a stand-alone unit in someone's house. The only people I know who buy Blu-ray are people who own a PS3. Aside from maybe a handful of movies released each year with really dazzling special effects, I'm not entirely sure what the point is. How is a comedy or chick-flick enhanced by being in HD?
 
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Old 2012-09-05, 02:57 PM   #18
Cliffjumper
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Blu-ray I'm never doing... DVDs don't degrade or damage easily like VHS does, the picture quality is good enough (and even too good on some old stuff), capacity is fine and features are generally no better than anything avaliable in print or online.
 
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Old 2012-09-05, 07:18 PM   #19
inflatable dalek
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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Serious question: do people actually buy Blu-ray players? I literally don't think I've ever seen a stand-alone unit in someone's house. The only people I know who buy Blu-ray are people who own a PS3. Aside from maybe a handful of movies released each year with really dazzling special effects, I'm not entirely sure what the point is. How is a comedy or chick-flick enhanced by being in HD?

*Waves hand*.

I love my Blu Ray player, though I can see the advantage of a PS3 if I could get the internet in my room as it basically becomes a full on entertainment hub even if you don't like computer games very much.


Scarily enough I think the forthcoming Bond Blu Ray set will be the... fourth time I've brought most of the films (VHS- with Tomorow Never Dies brought twice so the spines would match- original DVD and Ultimate DVD). Eeeek.
 
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Old 2012-09-05, 07:23 PM   #20
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I think I have to disagree with that. Digital formats are massively superior when it comes to searchability and indexability, like you yourself said.
It's not that much of a selling point, personally, since I have a fairly good memory for fiction and the odds are that if I'm looking for something (fiction or especially reference) someone else will have considered it and posted the information online. The market for reference books is pretty minimal these days after formal education.

For textbooks and more complex layouts, either you need a properly produced PDF or the paper copy is easier to chug through a proper reading of. I do disagree on comics, though... on a reasonably sized monitor (I use a 22" 1680x1050 at home and work) the reading experience is often far better than paper even though it's not portable... details stand out in the art and the colour tone is great.

The difference is even greater when reading stories collected in trades during the ~90s period DC used especially low quality paper.

Quote:
Between UI issues, having to fiddle with the settings to get a font and colour scheme I find readable, getting distracted by incoming emails and having our tablet run out of power, it's always made me feel like the technology is getting in the way of enjoying a book,
E-ink readers tend not to have most of those problems. They're just text and basic graphics, not backlit, do one thing (but fairly well) and charges seem to last forever if you actually switch off rather than leaving them on standby.
 
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