Latest figures have shown that sales of DVDs and CDs are still strong despite the growing challenges posed by online piracy, music downloads and the current economic conditions.
Lumped altogether, DVD, Bluray and CDs represent nearly 380 million silver shiny discs being sold in the last year alone; that's roughly six for every citizen of this country.
And there are at least five, common sense reasons why downloads, as attractive as they might be, will not kill CD and DVDs at least for a foreseeable future, whatever scaremongers might say.
The purpose of having content on Physical media (like a DVD) is often different from a downloaded song for example. People still overwhelmingly watch movies or listen to songs while at home, preferring the convenience of downloads when commuting or on the move. This explains why portable CD players sales are almost dead and portable (video) DVD players, while still alive, are restricted mainly to car owners. In sharp contrast, sales of portable MP3 and MP4 players have boomed.
Downloading movies and songs remain a laborious process for many compared to the simple task of pressing two buttons (opening the tray and clicking on play button). Furthermore, music downloads often come with attached strings. They are often available in lower quality (128kbps), come with Digital right Management and could disappear overnight if your hard disk drive crashes (or if you lose your iPod).
The cheap price of music downloads is often put forward when elaborating on their pros and cons. However, as the recent example of Apple's ludicrous "tax" to convert your AAC encoded tracks showed, there's a price to be paid. And CDs are still amazingly cheap. For example, Rockferry, the award winning CD of Duffy costs £7.99 delivered at Play.com which is £1.50 more expensive than the MP3 album version. You do however get a proper physical media which can be ripped or resold. You can buy this particular audio CD on Ebay for around £5. You still need to buy a computer and a pair of speakers if you want to listen to downloaded music. A bog standard radio with CD costs around £15 while a DVD player will set you less than £20.
CDs and DVDs still have the universal appeal of materiality. They can be seen and touch, and for some of us, this is something that cannot be sidelined. Furthermore, with the rise of movie/game renting businesses like Blockbuster, Netflix or Lovefilm, an unlimited number of movies can be rented, further bringing down the price of say, movies.
(5) Appeal and availability
There are not many legal video websites and only a dozen or so online music websites. Trying to download a movie down a slow internet line can be quite a frustrating experience, especially if the quality is not up to your standard. Many internet service providers have also implemented capping procedures to limit the amount of data you can download in a day while others will charge their users extra if they surpass their data limit. With the sales of large size televisions booming, high definition support like Bluray will gain the upper hand on movie downloads as more pixels are crammed on the polycarbonate disc.