Ed Driscoll

The Future Of Audio, Video...And Guitar

Libertas’s “Dirty Harry” writes that the format war between competing high definition DVD formats has slowed the acceptance of the successor to the DVD, which is now in its tenth year of existence. And the film studios are shooting themselves in the foot, since the money isn’t in the player, but the back catalog.

A format war merely slows–or stops–Hollywood’s efforts to resell its back catalog yet again, which is where the real long term money is, anway. When I go high-def DVD, I’ll be on my fourth or fith copies of some movies, having gone from VHS to 12-inch laser disc (remember those?!), to DVD. And along the way, having bought pan & scan and letterboxed LDs, and original issue and remastered DVDs of some of the titles I was more obsessive about.

Meanwhile, I just downloaded my first MP3-only only album off Amazon.com. It’s a complete win-win for both consumer and Amazon: there’s no physical product to be inventoried, packaged and shipped, and it downloads so quickly over broadband that it’s near-instantaneous consumer gratification. The individual tunes are MP3s so there’s complete portability amongst the PC and iPod-style player. It’s been licensed by the record company, so there are no Napster legal issues. And the MP3s are rendered in 256 kbps format, which is, I believe the second highest quality format available via MP3. (Per XM’s request, we do PJM Political as a 320 kbps MP3, which is the highest quality MP3 format.)

There’s little doubt that as broadband speeds increase–and they will–video will be soon be added to the download mix, and not just teeny YouTube clips. Eventually DVD collections such as these will be a download away. I don’t think bricks and morter stores will fade away anytime soon, but the Long Tail is becoming increasingly easier for savvy online retailers to implement.

Oh, what album did I buy? This.

No, really! Fooling around with Roland’s new VG-99 guitar modeling system and its built-in recreation of their classic original GR-300 guitar synthesizer got me in the mood to hear 1984’s version of “The Future of Guitar.” (Would that that future came true, as compared to what passes for pop music on the radio today.) And speaking of the VG-99, if you’re a guitar aficionado, you may enjoy my review of Roland’s latest guitar modeling system, which I knocked out for Blogcritics over the weekend.