It’s easy to extrapolate from the fact that Macs don’t have Blu-Ray drives already (even as an option) that, internally, Apple is banking on digital delivery as the future of high-definition content. Now, for the first time, Steve Jobs has confirmed it in one of his characteristic email exchanges with an Apple fan.
Writing a disappointed Blu-Ray fan about the form’s absence in Apple’s line up, Jobs wrote: “Bluray is looking more and more like one of the high end audio formats that appeared as the successor to the CD – like it will be beaten by Internet downloadable formats.”
When his correspondent respond that high-end video formats had a higher uptake, citing the lack of DRM as a main driver behind Blu-Ray growth, Jobs shot down the idea.
No, free, instant gratification and convenience (likely in that order) is what made the downloadable formats take off. And the downloadable movie business is rapidly moving to free (Hulu) or rentals (iTunes) so storing purchased movies or TV shows is not an issue.
I think you may be wrong – we may see a fast broad move to streamed free and rental content at sufficient quality (at least 720p) to win almost everyone over.
I think Jobs is write that Blu-Ray is clearly an interim format, although I’m skeptical, right now, of iTunes’ dominant place in the high-definition video digital delivery ecosystem: iTunes isn’t really making the most impressive show when it comes to video compared to the likes of Netflix, and I don’t really think that’s likely to change until Apple starts taking the Apple TV more seriously than “just a hobby.” Apple needs a competitively priced and featured set-top box to really get their video strategy into play.