After seeing the fallout from the Netflix deal with Warner Brothers, and seeing Blockbuster’s move to get some better streaming capability in, I’m beginning to wonder if we’re looking at another format war in the making.
I know, it’s strange to say that, what with the ashes just barely settled from the last format war…but I can’t help but wonder if it’s a one-format format war brewing. Here’s what I’ve noticed:
1. Blu-ray isn’t doing so hot. Oh, sure, even Sony admits Blu-ray adoption has been at least adequate, but no one really wants adequate. They want UNBELIEVABLE. And in this economy no one gets unbelievable, pretty much.
2. Netflix was willing to throw subscribers under the bus for more streaming access. There’s no two ways about it, folks, that’s what went down. Netflix gave up quick access to DVDs for more access to stuff they can stream, a clear indication that that’s where they want to go.
3. Blockbuster’s making streaming inroads. You just saw that right here, folks–Blockbuster wants to get its content off shelves and on servers. it saves money and boosts profit.
4. Online video climbs by leaps and bounds every day. You’ve heard the numbers. Hulu, Boxee, twenty hours every minute on YouTube, individual networks going that route.
What if we’re looking at a whole new format war, where everybody’s streaming, just at different places? I maintain my original reasons for why streaming will never completely replace DVD / Blu-ray without several quantum leaps technologically, but the groundwork for same could be being laid as we speak.