Like

Digital Sources in the Future

 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 781
Registered: Jul-07
Since we seemed to hijack MR's thread related to Saturn vs Oppo, I thought I'd create a home for discussion related to potential opportunities in the near future for changes to the model of how we source our audio systems. We touched on a few topics, like storage options (solid state drives, NAS units, etc), on-demand audio content (you don't store it, you subscribe to it), but the topic is much broader so anyone with thoughts on this please chime in.

A few of us have dabbled in the music server model in different forms. I think the computer based source is very likely to take over the cd player more and more, but there are many models for how that can be implemented. Right now the traditional computer/dac setup is pretty complicated for the non-technical, and companies are stepping up more and more with "appliances" that take some of the complexity away. I think companies will continue to try to make this more and more elegant for consumers, but the question is will these appliances only cater to the mass market, and what will be the true audiophile options. With more and more wireless technology coming to the fore, there should be some mind-blowing solutions on that front in the near future. If any of you haven't seen Apple's iPad yet, you owe it to yourself to go to their site and watch the video there that introduces the capabilities. That could very well be how you browse your cd collection in the very near future, and choosing what you're watching could be as easy as touching the screen as you sit in your listening chair. Pretty darn cool.

The on-demand model is interesting, and it could also take many forms. A subscription based model is certainly possible, as is the traditional video model where you rent or buy what you want, when you want, in the format you want. Again though, what will these consumer models offer for audiophiles. HD video took a while to permeate the marketplace, to the point where there will soon be no standard def TV, it will all be HD. I don't see that same transition on the audio front. Most people look at an HD picture and go WOW! What a difference. Unfortunately, most people listen to HD audio and wonder what all the fuss is about. There are enough of us though that I think someone will step up and offer the service, just like there are companies still producing vinyl.

Thoughts ?
 

Silver Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 822
Registered: Oct-07
Thanks for starting this, Chris.

I like to own my own media. Storage of purchased content would be my 2nd choice, as long as I could back it up or be on file to get another copy if I could certify that my 'original' was destroyed. 3rd choice would be the 'rental' model. I currently rent a small %age of what I view. I don't rent at all for listening. XM serves well, here.

I am considering a trial w/NetFlix. That could later morph into somekind of download situation. As long as I could keep a permanent copy as in 'ownership'.

Several years ago, there was a flurry of a DVD format called DIVX in which you purchased movies for cheap and they would play only a limited number of times or for a time limit. DIVX lasted about the time it took to read this paragraph.

I was one who said WOW when I first saw HD. Unfortunately, most content from small dish is compressed and doesn't look up to the HD potential. Live sports are the exception. Some live sports, like football and golf are like looking thru a window.

A rental model for the future, for those who don't have fast connections may be to go to the video store and bring home a SS drive (son of thumb drive) with the movie. The video store would have a T1 or better pipe. They'd download the movie to the temporary media. The drive would 'dump' after the 3rd or 4th play. Return the drive for 'deposit'.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 782
Registered: Jul-07
One other model I see that's out there is to buy a "package" of music (I think Music Giants does this) loaded onto a hard drive. You tell them what you want, and they fill the drive with uncompressed albums/songs and ship it to you. You're basically paying for the material, their time, and the drive.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 783
Registered: Jul-07
An interesting and related article.

http://www.itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=20

They seem to feel that the complexities of the downloading, storage, and playback are a significant acceptance barrier to downloads, and it is more likely that Blueray disks will emerge as the next format for HD audio.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14477
Registered: Dec-04
Cool stuff Chris.
I will be installing a new Media center this weekend and loading it.
Winows7 based pc with 1TB and 8gig ram.

Audio centric, rip blu ray.
 

Silver Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 824
Registered: Oct-07
Chris: totally agree:

They seem to feel that the complexities of the downloading, storage, and playback are a significant acceptance barrier to downloads

If everyone had a bigtime high speed connection, we wouldn't be having this chat. Now, for all you conspiracy buffs out there, are the hard media people slowing down the spread of true HS networks? There are some real alternative schemes out there, like local WAN with a bunch of people going in on a T1 line....that sort of thing.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 784
Registered: Jul-07
I agree Leo, I think it's a given that it will take time, and some technology alternatives, to get HS data to the masses. The satellite option works fine for video, less so for data. The thing I can't reconcile in my head is the business case for a new audio format (blue-ray) when a significant part of the marketplace does have reasonable access to HS data.....as in all major population centres in North America and Europe.

When cd's largely replaced vinyl there wasn't another competing option in play (other than staying with vinyl). That won't be true for any media based format today. Given the iMusic generation is already here and well established, and brick and mortar stores for cd's and dvd's are almost as hard to find as audio boutique's, any new physical media might have a very difficult time getting traction.
 

Silver Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 828
Registered: Oct-07
1 other, non-minor consideration.

CD /DVD production is very resource intensive. The equipment used in CD manufacture is 2nd cousin to the semiconductor manufacturing equipment I'm most familiar with. Add in the chemistry used for etching and the oil used in making the plastic of the disc and the packaging and it gets cheaper and cheaper to just sell the software.

Scoff if you want, but I don't think you will. Green is the new thing. Movies, from Silent Running to the current Avatar feature either a green or near-pagan theme. While this is NOT the place for movie reviews, it is clear that a massive campaign is under way to reduce certain types of consumerism. If I took it personally, I'd be paranoid.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 787
Registered: Jul-07
The environmental factor is definately a big consideration. Getting rid of all that packaging and production requirement would be seen as a good thing in some circles. Now, others would tell you that every time someone Googles it uses enough energy to boil a kettle of water....which may be true....but I have no idea how they came up with that. Assuming there is some truth to it, downloading a 100 mg album would use how much energy ?

Nothings black and white.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14485
Registered: Dec-04
How a google search equals 400 KWm is beyond me Chris.
Folly.
The net is free, the puters are already spinning and do not use any more energy if active or idle.
 

Silver Member
Username: Ezntn

Greeneville, TN

Post Number: 110
Registered: Apr-09
Nothings black and white.

I've a great CD by the Bodeans with that name
 

Silver Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 830
Registered: Oct-07
Guarantee that Google uses co-generation at some of there server farms. Waste heat is turned back into electricity and back to the grid, deferring there bill. Also, they may use power factor correction to keep from getting a premium tacked on.

I visited an early vacuum tube computer at the Sinclair Research Labs outside Chicago a Very long time ago. The A/C for the beast easily took up 3x the space and even more power. As it turns out, I've probably got more computer here on my desk using <200 watts.

Owning media may end up a luxury.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3593
Registered: Feb-07
"How a google search equals 400 KWm is beyond me Chris."

There was a study done recently that I heard on the CBC of the environmental impact of using email. I can't remember the actual figure, but it was astonishing the amount of energy that could be attributed to sending one email message.

I'm not a tree-hugger by any stretch of the imagination, so I'll continue to message the guy sitting in the cube next to me to ask if he wants to go for a coffee instead of walking over and asking him.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3594
Registered: Feb-07
But back to thread... I'm a techy in my day job. I can find pretty much anything I want on the web and BitTorrent it for free, but I chose not to. Not out of moral considerations, but more because, like many here, I prefer the collecting aspect of the hobby, and owning the physical media.

The idea of ordering a hard drive loaded with music makes absolutely no sense to me, but I guess I could see how it would appeal to non-technical people. But these people would probably rather go out and buy a CD anyway.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 788
Registered: Jul-07
"The idea of ordering a hard drive loaded with music makes absolutely no sense to me"

Don't know that I'd go there either David, but I think it caters to a certain segment.....namely the time challenged I expect. I'm time challenged but am very specific about what I listen to , for other than background music. Giving me a HD loaded with music from the 70's just wouldn't be of much interest. Now if you gave me a hard drive loaded with high def versions of every Led Zeppelin album, then we may do some business.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3595
Registered: Feb-07
Now that would be a worthwhile purchase.... or maybe some very obscure stuff that can't be found anywhere else, but then you're already limiting your market.
 

Silver Member
Username: Ezntn

Greeneville, TN

Post Number: 111
Registered: Apr-09
Last year I came upon a boxed set, remastered, of all the Led Zeppelin CDs. No cover art on the boxes, actually each sleeve holds 2 cds. I remember all too well pouring over each album when I purchased them, some nearly 40 years ago. The experience was somewhat of a let down, although the music never sounded better.

Digital media is great for space savings, might make more sense for the manufacturer, but the tangibility of holding, looking and reading about the artist and the music adds something to the experience.

While catching up on all the iHype about the iPad this week, I ran across an ad by National Geographic. They have all 120 (?) years, every page of every issue, ads and all, on a portable hard drive. Only $200 USD. Now this seems like a bit of history that would be very hard to pass up, and likely won't. Reading it on the computer, or an iPad, won't be quite the same as turning each page.

Which experience are we looking for here? And is this a part of change, with the new technology, that we are hesitant to adapt? Ask any teenager, if you can get them away from their game systems, and they likely see no problem with it at all.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3598
Registered: Feb-07
"'but the tangibility of holding, looking and reading about the artist and the music adds something to the experience. "

I agree. Something about looking over the CD rack (or vinyl shelf) for something to listen to is a lot more fun than clicking through some folders on my PC.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 790
Registered: Jul-07
"....most people think the will to survive is the strongest instinct in human beings, but it isn't. The strongest instinct is to keep things familiar."

Virginia Satir
 

Gold Member
Username: My_rantz

Gold CoastAustralia

Post Number: 2877
Registered: Nov-05
Yes, I'll be sticking with cd's for as long as they are sold - which is probably until the end of my music purchasing life.



When I think about - it ain't all that long.

« Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Add Your Message Here

Bold text Italics Create a hyperlink Insert a clipart image Add a YouTube Video
Need to Register?
Forgot Password?
Enable HTML code in message
   

Facebook

Shop Related Deals

Directory

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us