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Even Robots Get The Blus
February 9, 2014 11:10 PM   Subscribe


 
Betamax whispers to itself "one day my day will come. One day!" while Laserdisc sits in a corner quietly weeping.
posted by littlesq at 11:41 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]


Seriously though, are blurays actually good for long term storage?
posted by littlesq at 11:44 PM on February 9


Shouldn't this headline read, "Facebook Deploys Robots to Save Data From Extinction Using Blu-Ray Discs?"

I only skimmed it, but it's all about backing up data. Since Blu-Ray is the current best format for physical ownership of movies in full HD, and since even audio CDs still sell quite well, I don't see how the format itself would be in any danger.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:49 PM on February 9 [6 favorites]


Upon re-reading I found this single, utterly evidence-free sentence:

Just when the Blu-ray seemed to be on the way out — undercut by Netflix and other services that stream movies over the internet

Which is apparently meant to support the headline.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:52 PM on February 9


Every generation is doomed to reinvent the tape robot, often poorly.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:11 AM on February 10 [14 favorites]


TFA: When you consider just how must data Facebookers generate on a daily basis — and how little of it still gets looked it

I can't really see how this method could be very useful for the data that facebook users retrieve, just due to the latency, but for all the other data they generate, being for aggregation rather than public consumption, this seems a reasonable way to store and retrieve multi-petabytes of data.
posted by pompomtom at 12:14 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Average bluray disks have a life of 50 years. You can get special blurays for archival purposes that last for 100 years or more.

Cold storage like this is useful for data that you need to keep for legal or regulatory reasons. I am not sure exactly why bluray is cheaper than tape, but if I had to guess it's because at Facebook scale they can buy them super cheap and they don't have to deal with enterprise bullshit. It fits with the Open Compute ethos to build your own thing. The current Open Compute specification for cold storage solution is pretty hardcore, I am not too shocked they would try to build something better.

Also robots man. Everyone likes robots.
posted by tracert at 12:55 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


So removable physical disks are the bleeding edge of data storage technology, the way of the future; and the breakthrough that enabled it was to put longer arms on the loading mechanism and call it a robot?

The concept of 50-year old Facebook data is kind of depressing in itself, but at least it won't be quickly accessible.
posted by Segundus at 1:08 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


“We went to Japan to understand the industry, and we were just — embraced,” says Giovanni Coglitore, the Facebook director of engineering who dreamed up this cold storage project. “I don’t want to call us a savior, but there are a lot of companies who see us as the new opportunity for optical discs.”

Wait till you see the party the microfilm guys are going throw for you.
posted by Segundus at 1:15 AM on February 10 [6 favorites]


If you export all your fb data is it coming off bluray? Because the turn around for that request was pretty quick when I made it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:21 AM on February 10


Every generation is doomed to reinvent the tape robot

They didn't even reinvent it, as far as I can tell? Twenty years ago this kind of thing was called a WORM jukebox.
posted by hattifattener at 1:32 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]


Here's a 3 minute video that explains much better how the machine works and what the motivations are.
posted by tracert at 1:43 AM on February 10 [8 favorites]


People use Blu-Ray?

Really?
posted by Mezentian at 2:01 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Here's a 3 minute video that explains much better how the machine works and what the motivations are.

Thanks, tracert!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:08 AM on February 10


Facebook will start storing data on Blu-ray discs, the same discs that let you play high-def movies on your living room TV.

data storage media can be used for different types of data? what an exciting time to be alive

also, I once owned a 100-disc CD changer. so, I beat facebook at something
posted by ninjew at 3:33 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]


It pleases me that Facebook has chosen a poor storage method, so historians of the long future can study human history without having to log every "OMG" and Upworthy repost.
posted by sonascope at 3:37 AM on February 10 [6 favorites]


You know, this reminds me of something i've been noticing more and more about facebook lately.

Mainly, that they keep all the information in the world about you, but are becoming more and more reticent and petulant about actually revealing that information to you. Even when, you know, it's your information.

Everything is hidden behind "infinite scrolling" pagination, and then they started slapping in the stuff like the "show more from DATE1-DATE2" buttons.

Nothing is allowed to be indexed by google or any other search engine, any sort of attempted ctrl+f is foiled by the infinite scroll and "show more" buttons. There isn't any sort of search either, except for within messages(and even then, it's a bit obfuscated and only in the dedicated messages page, not the little chat popups they try and funnel you into).

Really, have you ever actually tried to find a specific old post by yourself? Or a photo from a long time ago someone tagged you in? Or a photo you weren't tagged in on a friends page? I swear every couple of months this shit gets worse, and it's been rapidly deteriorating since the "new profile" update around a year ago.

I wasted a good 20 minutes to a half hour finding the right stuff for this comment. If there had been a functional search of some sort, i could have just punched in a few words or keywords or something i remembered from my friends status about that job listing and found it instantly. But nope.

And now they want to put all your older photos behind something that will likely function along the lines of "Click request>"We'll send you a notification when your photos are ready to be accessed!">wait 5-10 minutes>click".

They are legitimately becoming a roach motel for information on everyone, in which you being able to access any of the data is not the point. I freaking hate that tired, often delivered as if it's deep "you're the product, not the customer lol!" line, but seriously what the fuck is this shit?
posted by emptythought at 3:45 AM on February 10 [25 favorites]


People use Blu-Ray?

Really?


Nice parody comment!
posted by thelonius at 3:49 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


People use Blu-Ray?

Really?


Yes, really. Blu-ray and DVD sales revenue beat out all forms of digital media purchases and rentals combined last year.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:26 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


To speak to empty thoughts comment, imagine my surprise when I found out recently that FB finally supports hash tags. The first two things that came to mind were that finding old posts and comments just got easier and that whoever turned that feature on is going to lose their job.
posted by KingEdRa at 4:28 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


I do wonder how much of that data will ever be read again, at least other than in some form of automated backup resiliency check or the move to the next medium. (And maybe not even then...).

In fact, how much data is read again, in general? I followed the thread about what books would be necessary to re-start civilisation: the opposite question, of how much data we can lose without it materially mattering, may be even more interesting. But I've never seen it discussed.
posted by Devonian at 4:43 AM on February 10


For what it's worth, this article confirms that the future of Blu-ray (and anything disc-related) is not exactly promising.
posted by elgilito at 4:49 AM on February 10


The funny thing, KingEdRa, is that the hashtags are actually useless for finding anything. It's like "nope, they thought of that! just kidding!".

Go ahead, go try and use the inconsistent multifunction search box at the top of most pages to search for a hashtag. It shows you a bunch of shit from random people you don't even know who used that hashtag.

It's funny honestly. I don't even understand why they added them at all. Their use is indexed, and you can track "what's trending" in a general greater facebook sense, but they're 100% useless for anything you or me would imagine.

It's one of the many things on facebook that gives the illusion of functionality but only exists as an orifice to collect more data and roach motel it.
posted by emptythought at 5:07 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


So people will be able to DDoS Facebook by looking at enough old photos to keep the robots overworked?
posted by Foosnark at 5:13 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


If you export all your fb data is it coming off bluray?

No -- the system hasn't actually been installed yet. And their first use will be for data they are legally required to store, which probably translates into boring log files that can be subpoenaed to show that IP address blah accessed blah's page on the day of blah.

Wired has really mastered the art of the shitty misleading headline. It seems like every article they write has some crappy clickbait title these days.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:16 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I guess the SAN of tape recorders from Tandy TRS-80s didn't work out.
posted by dr_dank at 5:20 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Nice parody comment!
and

Yes, really. Blu-ray and DVD sales revenue beat out all forms of digital media purchases and rentals combined last year.

I am serious.
I do not know a single person who has a BR player, buys them or rents them.

DVD works fine, so BR seems like the 21C laserdisc of formats.
posted by Mezentian at 5:23 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


I guess the SAN of tape recorders from Tandy TRS-80s didn't work out.

The dice were bad that night.
And then a Gazebo appeared.
posted by Mezentian at 5:24 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Average bluray disks have a life of 50 years. You can get special blurays for archival purposes that last for 100 years or more.

But, what's the lifespan of a machine that will be able to read them?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:24 AM on February 10


But, what's the lifespan of a machine that will be able to read them?

You either work for NASA, or own a Sony MiniDisc.
posted by Mezentian at 5:27 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]


my roommate built a projection-style home theater in the basement. with some decently high-quality audio gear to match. so when we visit redbox, we spend the extra $.50 and get blu-ray, because both the audio and video are noticeably different. it is a higher-quality product than a dvd. as it should be, because a blu-ray disc can hold up to 128GB, vs up to 17GB max on a (certain type) DVD
posted by ninjew at 5:30 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


DVD works fine, so BR seems like the 21C laserdisc of formats.

Once you've watched a Blu-Ray movie on an HD television it's hard to go back to DVDs. They just look horrible.
posted by octothorpe at 5:37 AM on February 10 [8 favorites]


DVD works fine, so BR seems like the 21C laserdisc of formats.

Do you have an HD TV? Playing DVD's on my HD TV feels kind of crappy after watching everything else on even YouTube in HD.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:39 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


See?
posted by KokuRyu at 5:39 AM on February 10


Also, a PS3 is a blu-Ray player.

Thank god it's still good for something.
posted by milestogo at 5:44 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Here's the Ars version. There's discussion in the comments re: media pricing vs. tape.
posted by indubitable at 6:02 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I do not know a single person who has a BR player, buys them or rents them.

Well, you do now. And it's a little hard to imagine you don't know anyone who has a PS3, PS4, or Xbox1 unless [not age-ist] you're old and pretty much don't see people under 35.

I wonder if your perception is partly due to some vagary of your local market, if you're not in the US? Like how seemingly-random goods either cost the earth or are simply unavailable in Australia?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:32 AM on February 10


Well, you do now. And it's a little hard to imagine you don't know anyone who has a PS3, PS4, or Xbox1 unless [not age-ist] you're old and pretty much don't see people under 35.

I think it may the other way around. People under 35 may own BR players because companies glom them onto devices like they're clocks, but the ones I know don't want to buy things on physical media. And I get it—it's a hassle. I'd rather see if it's on Netflix or if someone uploaded the movie to YouTube than dig up a disc and put it in. It's lazy, but no lazier than preferring to find an mp3 or audio stream instead of getting out a CD.
posted by ignignokt at 6:41 AM on February 10


I own a blu-ray player and probably every other month or so, actually buy a movie/tv show on blu-ray. Why?

I actually only own a 720p television, so the HD image isn't necessarily blow your mind away in quality. The practical reason is that while I would love to just buy everything in digital these days (because Netflix/Amazon Prime/Your Favorite Streaming Service), not everything that comes out is immediately or ever available for streaming (legally). One great example is the Star Wars: Clone Wars series, you can buy it online, but you can't find it at any streaming service as part of a monthly package. Another matter that's grown more important to me is that now a days, is there a guarantee that one will either a) always have access to the service that hosts your digital media or b) there's always a fear that something crazy may happen and all of a sudden, my content disappears at the wishes of the provider and I'm out of luck. At the least, I have a hard copy to rely upon. I generally buy blu-ray + digital copy, that way I'm covered in all worlds.
posted by Atreides at 6:56 AM on February 10


Every generation is doomed to reinvent the tape robot, often poorly.
It really reminds me of the IBM 3494 from the 90's, which always reminds me of the 3850 from the 70's. Just the storage capacity doing its Moore's Law thing.
posted by MtDewd at 6:59 AM on February 10


I used my blu ray player to watch Netflix. I can't remember the last time I used a physical disc in it.
posted by birdherder at 7:12 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


I have been wondering whether Amazon Glacier works along similar principles; I'm guessing that with the factors involved (extremely low storage costs though higher retrieval costs, 4-5 hour retrieval times), it's some combination of optical discs (or perhaps tapes), high-capacity jukeboxes and robots (and/or minimum-wage workers instrumented with Kindle-based devices telling them where to go) to move the cartridges between the reading units and actual cold storage.
posted by acb at 7:50 AM on February 10


elgilito, that article you linked that you describe as being not promising actually states that unit sales of Blu-Ray discs increased by 4.2% over the past year. The disappointment arises from the fact that their growth is not as fast as the DVD market is shrinking.

I think part of what's going on is that BR isn't a "must own" format in the way that DVD was, or VHS was before that. Its primary advantages are merely increased capacity and somewhat improved resolution. It doesn't provide unique content that is of interest to mainstream audiences nor offer a more convenient way of consuming it. The niche applications where it stands out from DVD have been less than compelling -- the home 3D rollout was completely FUBAR'd (a tale for another time) and, in the US, most people don't care about Latin-American or Japanese imports being in the same region. And I would consider any of its online features, BD-Live, BD+, etc., to be unmitigated liabilities. If you have to go online anyway, might as well just watch Netflix.

So even though there are plenty of people are BR adopters, there are many who have no desire to ever do so. Especially now that physical media has become, for many, entirely superfluous. And those people find it hard to understand how or why Blu-Ray disc owners exist. It's like, did you ever have a house-guest who basically doesn't read books at all? And you can see their eyes get as wide as, well, Blu-Rays when they walk into your living room and see shelves and shelves of reading material, as they wonder to themselves, how is this even a thing? What could possibly be the point of acquiring this many books?

In other news, Iron Maiden allegedly grossed 45 million on tour last year. But I myself don't know a single person who would even see them for free, and so based upon that fact, clearly, there's some mistake.
posted by xigxag at 7:50 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


I can't find anything specifying whether these are going to be "recordable" discs (e.g. BD-R) or "replicated" discs (e.g. a Redbox movie or PS3/4 or Xbone game disc), but given the cost of replicating one BD disc (the first disc will cost well over $500 due to mastering charges) these have to be recordables. I find it kind of hard to believe that anybody will certify a recordable disc for 1000 years (ARS article); even the 50-100 years that the video throws out is at the limit of my credulity.

A little math (help me out here) also implies that they are talking about BDs with three or four layers. I get there by taking the 1 petabyte rack capacity and dividing by 10,368 discs, which lands you at about 100 gigabyte per disc. Single-layer BDs have a 25 GB capacity, and I would guess are the format used for the majority of videos and games currently on the market. BD-50s have two layers of data and a 50 GB capacity, as the name implies. The BD format definition includes up to four layers, but you wont see more that two on a current retail disc. Commercially-available recordable discs seem to top out at two layers.
posted by achrise at 7:56 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Genuine question for those smarter than me: how can we be seeing both the end of unlimited data plans (and maybe the end of unthrottled streams) and the end of physical media? I don't know about you, but I don't have unlimited dollars to spend on entertainment, and I'd rather not have my favorite movie or music disappear in a puff of smoke/rights dispute.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:11 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]


But, what's the lifespan of a machine that will be able to read them?

I bought my first CD in 1989. A modern desktop computer can still read it, no problem. CD -> DVD -> BluRay backwards compatibility (absent a few blind alleys like DVD RAM) seems to be a thing for the time being, & I'd imagine drives will be produced or at least maintained for the next 10-20 years, at least. There will be plenty of warning & plenty of time to migrate to whatever's next, if the next thing isn't the size of a CD.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:12 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


People under 35 may own BR players because companies glom them onto devices like they're clocks, but the ones I know don't want to buy things on physical media. And I get it—it's a hassle. I'd rather see if it's on Netflix or if someone uploaded the movie to YouTube than dig up a disc and put it in.

We're not under 35, but round our house there are still valid and important-to-us use cases for blurays -- mostly they hinge on the difference between "Let's see what's on" or "Let's find something to watch" versus MOVIE NIGHT! When it's time to put on a movie that we actually give a shit about (and we both give a shit about a fair number of movies), that's when we want it in all its 40Mb/S glory.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:31 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


So why not tape? I haven't kept up with tape drives, but apparently LTO-6 is the new hotness. It holds 2.5 TB / tape and has a max transfer rate of 1280 Mbps. Compare Blu-Ray at 0.05TB / disc and a 54 Mbps data rate. (A cheap consumer hard drive is about 1TB / drive and gets about 250 Mbps.) So tape is significantly faster and denser than Blu-Ray discs. The Ars discussion says the tape media is significantly cheaper. So I'm not really getting why Blu-Ray robots are better than tape robots. I guess Blu-Ray has the advantage that individual discs are randomly accessible, but it's not clear that matters for cold storage.
posted by Nelson at 8:35 AM on February 10


ROU_Xenophobe: "that's when we want it in all its 40Mb/S glory"

This is why blu-ray isn't going anywhere. Until there is enough bandwidth from netflix to your tv there is always going to be a marketplace for it. Everything looks "better" at 1080p, but some stuff just looks amazing - like any of the new pixar stuff for example.
posted by Big_B at 8:39 AM on February 10


I'd guess tape has a much shorter lifetime than discs.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:45 AM on February 10


JoanArham: "Genuine question for those smarter than me: how can we be seeing both the end of unlimited data plans (and maybe the end of unthrottled streams) and the end of physical media? I don't know about you, but I don't have unlimited dollars to spend on entertainment, and I'd rather not have my favorite movie or music disappear in a puff of smoke/rights dispute."

It might be best to think of the end of unlimited data plans as the telecom industry's growing pains.

In the 1990s, Congress started offering the telecom industry billions of dollars in subsidies for two primary reasons: 1) to grow the size of their networks, so that more Americans could have access to them, and 2) to modernize and improve their infrastructure, so that those networks had higher performance. For the most part, that money has vanished into telecoms with no discernible effect. Studies have come out showing that the majority of it is simply absorbed into company overhead or used for completely unrelated business functions.

So consider four important factors at work here:
  1. Consumer-level telecoms have aging, outdated infrastructure they have largely refused to meaningfully upgrade, even when given the money to do so.
  2. Consumer-level telecoms tend to enjoy a virtual (or actual) monopoly due to the way the last mile infrastructure is handled in the US.
  3. People are increasingly using more online services - particularly those like streaming videos, which demand a lot of bandwidth.
  4. Increasingly, these online services are replacing the cash cow legacy services the telecoms offer.
You can see how these all come together: data caps, bandwidth limits, and price gouging on a consumer base that doesn't have much of a choice but to take it.

Or, to put it a bit more glibly: Comcast & Co. have spent the last two decades sitting on their hands, abusing their monopoly status and failing to keep their infrastructure up to date. Now their business model is failing, and consumers increasingly only want them to be dumb data carriers, and so they are reacting by putting the screws to their remaining customers who don't have meaningful options for internet access.

It isn't all bad, though. For comparison's sake, a few years ago in Jackson, MI, I paid $80/month for Comcast Internet access. They claimed I was getting 15 mbps down, 1 mbps up. I more realistically got about 6 mbps down, and 500 kbps up. And the service went down weekly. And there was a very low data cap. Now I live in downtown Seattle. I pay $60 for a symmetric 100 mbps connection, and actually get closer to 125 mbps. No caps. We have had one outage in three years, and it lasted less than half an hour. That's the difference between a bonafide modern ISP and a company that grudgingly provides you with Internet access on its ancient network when it really just wants to sell you TV. ISPs like mine are starting to pop up all over the country. It will get better. We just have to ride out the death throes (and inevitable mergers) of the telecom old guard first.
posted by Vox Nihili at 8:55 AM on February 10 [8 favorites]


I would see Iron Maiden for free, if they were playing within 30 minutes of me.
posted by the bricabrac man at 9:10 AM on February 10


I think random-access must be the key part. LTO tapes last 15-30 years under archival conditions but only will withstand 10k-20k passes of the tape head. Meanwhile Blu-Ray disk technology is (allegedly) getting better at longevity.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:20 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Everything looks "better" at 1080p...

So far, I'm not of that opinion. I mostly stream stuff at 720, so that's what I'm used to these days. When I go to a friend's place and watch stuff at 1080, it often looks... wrong. It often looks jerky, overlit, and too sharp, like a home movie. Animation is often great, but live action at 1080p, for me, has an uncanny valley thing going on, or something.

Maybe this is a generational artifact. I'm 37... maybe to younger eyes 1080p looks normal and lower-res stuff looks fuzzy and indistinct.
posted by gurple at 9:50 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


It often looks jerky, overlit, and too sharp, like a home movie. Animation is often great, but live action at 1080p, for me, has an uncanny valley thing going on, or something.

That's probably not a side effect of 1080p, that's usually the result of motion interpolation.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:57 AM on February 10 [8 favorites]


Generational? Dunno about that, gurple. Younger eyes are plenty used to crappy YouTube streams. If anything, I think that younger people have been trained to be mostly indifferent when it comes to content quality and probably care less about whether something is in 1080p and more about whether it is punchy enough to share or talk about on social media.

And, the bricabrac man, all you've succeeded in doing is proving to me that you don't actually exist. Blatantly.
posted by xigxag at 10:16 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I'm 37 too gurple, but we do a lot of streaming across our home network at various resolutions, and I'm absolutely a tinkerer/tuner with this stuff so I can tell what the differences look like. It's way more pronounced on a big tv which might be some of it. And I agree with zombieflanders - they probably have some motion control thing enabled on there. I turn most of that stuff off as I think it makes live action sports look like a video game.
posted by Big_B at 10:38 AM on February 10


It doesn't provide unique content that is of interest to mainstream audiences

Well, we can quibble about what's of interest to mainstream audiences, but streaming still doesn't offer much in the way of commentary tracks. Which I like a lot.

Maybe this is a generational artifact. I'm 37

It's only a matter of the resolution difference if you get the same problems in a movie theater. Otherwise it's a matter of their tv having bogus features turned on while yours doesn't, or that you're watching relatively bit-rich 720p videos at home and bit-starved 1080p downloads/streams at their places.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:41 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Well, we can quibble about what's of interest to mainstream audiences, but streaming still doesn't offer much in the way of commentary tracks. Which I like a lot.

This is really the only reason I buy Blu-Ray -or DVD movies and TV. I have a few shows that I almost never watch with the original audio because I have seen it enough and know what they're saying and the commentary is much more interesting. If there were more streams with alternate audio and other additional content I'd buy almost nothing on physical media. This is probably the reason it's not there.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 11:11 AM on February 10


People use Blu-Ray?

*raises hand*

I think it's kinda weird that more people don't have bluray burners, but then I have to remember that no one else is anal about data redundancy as I am. I'm currently dealing with 5TB of failing drives at home but it's no big deal because all my must-keep data I back it up multiple times to multiple technologies. Bluray is one of them and I love it because it's cheap and so painless to burn off a few discs of important stuff.

Triple layer blank media is available to consumers but they ain't cheap. I saw some quad layers for sale a few months ago when I bought this burner but I'm not easily finding them now. Most of the high end BDXL media never makes it out of Japan.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 1:54 PM on February 10


This link was dropped by monospace in the other facebook thread.

Seems pretty in-line with the kind of thing i was talking about with relation to facebook being a rat trap that only sucks things in and never lets them out.
posted by emptythought at 2:11 PM on February 10


JoanArkham: Genuine question for those smarter than me: how can we be seeing both the end of unlimited data plans (and maybe the end of unthrottled streams) and the end of physical media? I don't know about you, but I don't have unlimited dollars to spend on entertainment, and I'd rather not have my favorite movie or music disappear in a puff of smoke/rights dispute.

You know, i'm cynical and arguably an asshole, but i think a HUGE component of this is because they can.

Unlimited data plans were the bait, it was absolutely a "first hit is free" sort of thing. Carriers like sprint only keep doing it because they're on the bottom of the stack and losing ground.

Now that a large portion of modern society even in developing countries lives their lives around having always on mobile data, they know they can charge by the byte. And they dole it out in calculated packages. There's always a "cheap" one that's not enough for really anyone to upsell you from, or for people to sign up with and then run insanely profitable overages on, and then a plan that sells you way more than you need for more money than you want to spend.

And no middle ground.

I'm also absolutely not sold on the arguments that the telcos did nothing. They may have black holed that cash the government gave them, but in essentially 4 years(2008-2012) the major carriers went from having meh 3G networks to being fully rolled out on that, then everyone went headlong into LTE, and ATT and VZW had serious LTE networks VERY quickly. And those networks perform.

In a similar period of time DSL and cable providers went from giving you ~7-20mb to giving you 40-50mb for your $60 a month. 100mb service is now available from the cable company here for ~$100 a month, and FTTP up to 1gbps is becoming available in a number of buildings.

They aren't taking peoples money and doing nothing. They're steering their gigantic cruise liner sized companies and networks as quickly as they can to skate not necessarily where the puck is going, but at least to where it is.

The trick is, they're invested in doing the bare minimum and then charging you out the ass for it. Their entire plan is built on lock-in. If what you can get from them is about the same as what you could get by switching, then why would you go through the hassle? you'd have to likely rebuy your phone(because of the fucking bullshit in the US of not standardizing everything on GSM, or forcing everyone to use the same LTE bands), possibly pay an ETF, etc. Even home ISPs try and lock you into contracts now.

The entire thing was like some flank-and-smash, carefully micro managed assault in an RTS game. They looped you in, hooked you in, and just when they got you they fuck you.

As for the end of physical media, i didn't even get in to that, but it's really inevitable. I honestly think local storage itself is doomed on non-workstation machines. EVERYTHING is going to be streaming within 5-10 years unless you're a content creator, pirating something(which will likely _also_ all become streaming, and is already easily that way with things like grooveshark and projectfreetv/various similar sites for movies), or go out of your way to buy the digital equivalent of some criterion collection or "special edition" type of thing from say, the itunes store.

I think the key here is going to be some sort of system in which you "own" the rights to stream the file, and less like netflix where you simply have the rights to view their collection which can change on a whim of studios and such. The cheap, and default model people will pay for will be netflix style, but there will absolutely be an option to pay $3.99 or whatever and be able to stream ghostbusters for eternity.

From the quality end on that, netflix "superHD" and amazons prime streams are already as good as decent blu-ray 1080p rips. Not the big 10gb ones, but the 3-4gb ok ones. Whether the quality is actually the same is immaterial, it's reaching the point of being good enough even for someone like myself who cares about quality and pixel peeps and has a very nice large display and supporting hardware.

Convenience is king. Get the quality 70% of the way there, and make it all available to stream instantly, and people will be sold. The only thing that needs to happen now is for it not to be spread out among like 10 different fucking apps and services.
posted by emptythought at 3:14 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


They're steering their gigantic cruise liner sized companies and networks as quickly as they can to skate not necessarily where the puck is going, but at least to where it is.

Love those mixed metaphors. I now have an image in my brain of a cruise liner playing ice hockey.

I think the key here is going to be some sort of system in which you "own" the rights to stream the file, Many music services give you streaming rights to music you buy. Amazon also give you streaming rights to any CD you buy. Funny thing is, it is often cheaper to buy the CD and get streaming and download rights than to buy the digital MP3 version.
posted by eye of newt at 9:15 PM on February 10


Best thing about blu ray is watching movies at the correct frame rate.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:36 PM on February 10


What’s The Most Durable Way To Store Information? -"1. Engrave it on a piece of platinum. 2. Bury the platinum in the desert."
Interstellar Hard Drive - "All your precious data, everything you’ve created and every memory you’ve captured and stored, is etched on a hard disk somewhere on Earth. Back it up all you want—it won’t matter if the planet goes."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:48 PM on February 24


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