Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
The DVD has now made huge inroads into the consumer electronics market with
reports out of the USA indicating that it will soon match the ubiquitous
VCR in terms of market penetration.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
With its incredibly high storage density, the DVD might just be the solution
to two vexing problems:
Problem 1: Data Backup
There was a brief period when CDR/RW with its (at the time) enormous 640MB
of storage was more than adequate for backing up the 2GB-5GB hard drives
we all used. Those days however, are now just a memory.
As the amount of hard drive storage on modern PCs continues to grow,
many systems are now shipping with 20, 30 or even 50 GB as standard equipment,
once again making the problem of backing up that storage an issue.
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So what can an average PC user do to protect their gigabytes of valuable
data from loss due to hardware failure, some malicious virus, or even
an errant mouse-click or two.
One time-honoured solution is the use of tape backups. These have been around
since the dawn of the computer era and, thanks to advancing technology, now
offer a huge amount of storage on small data cassettes.
Unfortunately they are expensive -- making them hard to justify for the home
computer user or even many small businesses. They can also be a little
slow if you just want to extract a single file.
The DVD promise of multi-gigabyte storage in a single volume is obviously
an attractive solution to this problem and there are already a number of
providers prepared to sell you such devices -- albeit at a cost.
Even Dick Smith Electronics offers
with 4.7GB of storage for the princely sum of $1691. While that doesn't sound
too bad, you also need to factor in the price of the
at $69 a pop.
At that price, the cost of your backup media works out to $14 per GB and that's
a lot more than the $2.80 per GB you pay for CDR media.
Of course, the price of DVD drives and the media for them will likely drop
as economies of scale come into force -- but perhaps not so much as you
Problem 2: Music Piracy
Despite the best efforts of the recording industry, music distributed on
CD is not secure -- and never will be.
The audio CD format was devised at a time when consumer CD writers were
totally unheard of and a computer system with sufficient capacity to
hold 640MB was far beyond the reach of all but corporate entities.
As a result, no thought was given to protecting the contents of CDs from
duplication -- after all, it simply wasn't an issue.
Of course now we find the recording industry up in arms over the fact that
their property is being stolen in huge quantities (although debate rages
over the actual level of loss that such theft produces).
Enter the DVD!
By the time the DVD was born, there was an awareness of the need to protect
such material from theft and mechanisms were included to provide such protection.
Of course we all know that (like all protection schemes) it was broken.
However, if the recording industry had two clues, they'd look to the DVD as
the most effective way to prevent casual copying.
Like a growing number of people, I probably spend more time enjoying my music
in the form of a music video than as a pure audio recording. Perhaps
the recording industry ought to consider phasing out the audio album on CD
in favour of DVDs with music video tracks. After all, the production of
most videos costs far more than the production of the music tracks that go
With the average high-quality music video requiring 20-40MBs of storage (even with the latest
video encoders), people are far less likely to swap music vids over the Net than
tracks ripped from audio CDs. Of course they can still rip the audio using
DAD techniques -- but that's also the case with copy-protected audio disks
If the music industry were to give consumers a full album of music videos
and supplementary material on DVD for the same price as an audio disk, maybe
then people would buy rather than steal.
After all -- it would be cheaper to buy an original DVD for $39 than burn one
onto $69 recordable media wouldn't it?
And that brings me to the price of recordable DVD media. Don't expect it to
fall to the per-GB price we're currently seeing with CDRs. I can absolutely
guarantee you that the movie industry will convince legislators to whack a
huge tax on blank disks to offset the cost of piracy.
So if you're a PC user who just wants to back up their data -- you'll be
subsidising the movie and music industries -- whether you want to or not.
Have your say (remember to select For Publication
if you want to see your comments on this page).
Are You Secure?
As mentioned above, already this year there are already a couple of important
security issues which affect Microsoft Windows users.
from The Register and make sure that if you're using XP, you've gotten hold
of the latest round of security updates.
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