Thursday, 12 April 2012

The new and emerging ways of enjoying the digital media

As the speed of the Internet progress, it is now possible for us to download great quality films and music through the Internet. However, many common download methods such as Bit-torrent are illegal. Record companies and the film industry have tried different methods such as imposing copy restriction on discs, as well as taking down online file sources. Several charges were also made to the court, but they are not very effective and many still download digital content for free.

In 2003, Apple, joined with some of the biggest companies in the music industry, introduced iTunes Store, allowing people to download songs at a low price (about 1 dollar per song). This has proven successful and, in recent years, you could even buy or rent films, as well as applications for smart phones and computers.

At first, the quality of such paid downloaded contents are not very good, with lossy high compression rate as a compromise for a faster download and easier storage. As time progresses, the quality improved, with higher bit-rates, less compressed songs and Full HD films now available in the Store. The high qualities for downloaded films are especially noticeable, as they are just slightly less as good as the same Blu-ray version. As seen from below is a side by side comparison, and the difference is only minimal.

Left: iTunes Download
Right: Blu-ray 

Image taken from an article in
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Thus, while physical medium such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays is still the most common way people enjoys music and films, they are facing a huge challenge from these legal digital downloads.

In the future, we may not need to store the discs physically in our shelves, as everything would be in our hard disk. With more advancement in our Internet network, it is also possible that most of our content will be in the Cloud, which will then be streamed to our devices whenever we needed them.

Posted by Samuel Ip

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