Blu-Ray: Plenty of Thunder & Lightning, No Rainmaker

By Bob SnyderWarner Bros. says its will back Sony’s format for storing high def movies and gave the Blu-Ray camp the urge to declare HD DVD “beaten.”

“We’ve heard that before,” insisted executives from HD DVD. But it was scary when they cancelled their own CES press conference because it followed too close on the heels of the Warner announcement. If Blu-Ray wins (or HD DVD, for that matter), the question will not be whether or not one group or another had another more thunder or lightning. The real question is whether either camp could ever be a Rainmaker.

With Apple, Amazon, NetFlix, Cisco, Microsoft and others push downloadable content, with cable and phone companies flogging on-demand, all day/all night HD, with I.T. companies pushing on-line storage and new form factors, the DVD business is looking as promising as the last Dodo bird. JVC, for one example, showed a flat-screenTV at CES that allows users to simply insert an iPod to watch video content. So any slim media player can become an alternative to digital video discs. And Denon, for another example, is building iPod docks into its AVRs like Altec, third example, is doing for loudspeakers. Content is going to jump full-blown into on-line delivery. Any and every device with an IP connection will be content-ready.

Now we’ve often talked a lot to AV integrators about “content’ and how they must get into “content.” Much of the time, we get dull, flat looks. The same look you’d get from a desert nomad when you tell him the future is “fish.” And who can blame them? How do you get your head around the cloud, the cumulus of cognition that’s content?

The opportunity, as we see it, is for integrators to understand the new world of content and how it can be streamed, downloaded and re-formatted across networks and devices. The next gen integrator will show customers what content is available and access to that content can improve their business, their organization.  We will be the Sherpa leading organizations up the Everest of content, their guide to finding new Managed Service Providers (yes, even software becomes content in the New World), and their trailblazer to profitable paths of Web 2.0 (and 3.0) opportunities.

In the Old World, we showed companies and organizations how to hook up Audio and Video.  In the New World, we’ll be compelled to help them to throw away DVDs.

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