Trends in Digital Video Distribution


Technology has always been about convenience and simplicity—not to mention doing cool things with gadgets. One area where technology has really taken off is with home theaters. An emerging trend in this arena allows consumers to enjoy their movies with the same high-quality sound and video playback of the local multiplex theater without the ticket lines.

The influx of new audio and visual features such as high-definition video will continue to enhance the home theater experience. However, advancements in these areas are not only at the component level. New trends in video distribution are also emerging at a rapid pace.

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The music industry has experienced a shift in consumer purchase practices. More people are downloading their favorite music from online sources and storing it on portable listening devices instead of purchasing CDs. This same method of access will eventually become the norm for video distribution. Currently, motion picture studios are hesitant to release full-length movies to online distribution sources because of the security factor. However, as Internet security technology continues to advance, movie studios will be more inclined to use online sources as another avenue to distribute their work. Ultimately, all consumers will get their movies from these online sources. Instead of going out to rent or purchase movies, they will be able to immediately access the shows they want when they want them without having to leave their house.

The biggest challenge right now is the fact that there is no legitimate way to retrieve full-length, new release movies from online sources. There are still file compatibility issues and unresolved regulations regarding digital video rights. These factors need to be addressed before online sources can become a mainstream method of video distribution. In the interim, video is in a mixed environment of tangible sources such as DVDs and Blu-ray discs. The media distribution will likely continue in this fashion at least for the short term. This is just as well because people are not quite ready to mothball their DVD libraries.

Even with the latest technology emerging, movie enthusiasts who have their 400-disc mega changers filled to capacity won’t need to abandon their beloved collection of DVDs anytime soon. Home theater technology experts are currently focusing on integrating existing DVD and Blu-ray technology with the newer trends in online video distribution.

One recent development is the ability to load videos from a variety of sources including DVDs, Blu-ray, hard drives, network storage, even iPods, into a database and access it from a single remote. The company developing this technology is Control4. Their solution gives users video-on-demand capability within their home system. After compiling and cataloging all their videos, they can play back the movies from any location in the home (or even away from the home) at any time using intuitive Control4 user interfaces like remotes, touch screens or an iPhone or iPod Touch.

With this type of technology, home entertainment experts are accommodating the current eclectic video distribution sources and setting the stage for future trends in video download capabilities. Another appealing feature is a system’s ability to accommodate a family’s different viewing habits. It will be easier to store and retrieve all of their videos from the central database. Most current home theater systems can play only one movie at a time. Newer technology is giving home owners the option to access multiple programs or the same program multiple times from different locations throughout the house.

Home theater technology will keep evolving as new trends continue to surface. The movie purchasing methods of future generations will no doubt differ from the current standards. However, as new video distribution advancements become available, home owners will be able to easily integrate the new methods into their existing systems thanks to forward-thinking solutions from Control4.


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