[mythtv-users] What I'd predicted/"Spot On" consolidation thread.

Joe Borne joe.borne at gmail.com
Tue Jan 8 17:41:02 UTC 2008

Thanks for all the responses.

A great number of media companies are now seriously rethinking their digital
rights strategies due to the events of recent months. Several things are
becoming obvious to them (finally):

1. DRM treats all of their customers like criminals, whether they are or
2. DRM frustrates and angers customers.
3. The lawsuits make them look like bullies (which they are).
4. The lawsuits are financially nonviable, and increasingly embarrassing.
5. The lawsuits have not slowed P2P sharing of their materials.
6. In many cases DRM is fueling P2P sharing because users wish to move their
media to another device and refuse to pay again for what they already own.
7. Artists are beginning to circumvent them and go directly to consumers
with digital and non-DRM versions of their work.
7. The consumers are moving on, and their old business model is becoming
8. Legal downloads of non-DRM'd media represent a valid revenue stream,
although the profit margin will never return to the days of the CD and the
captive audience.
9. Apple is so far ahead of them they may never recapture the market.

My predictions for 2008 are:

1.That by July ALL media companies will have abandoned DRM on music CD's and
files. One or two may hold out. Their artists will leave them in favor of
direct digital sales. P2P downloads of their materials will continue to
erode their market presence until they collapse. The end of `08 will see a
completely DRM free internet marketplace for music. Multiple sites will have
developed with robust song lists and interactive features to provide a
better experience. Apple will continue to dominate by allowing individual
artists to participate in it's system without a record label and at an
affordable percentage cut.

2. The RIAA will grow increasingly quiet through `08. By years end the
entity will be almost silent. It may disband in the 48 months following.
This will not be a legal maneuver, but rather a PR one by the media giants.

3. Set top digital media players for video content will begin to accept more
than just DVD's/BlueRay/HD-DVD. By years end most major manufacturers will
support the playing of media files via network/wireless connections to home
PC's or connected external media such as USB thumb-drives. They may even
support direct connections to movie download & play services such as
NetFlix's. These capabilities may begin to appear in MiniVans and SUV's by

4. By November the MPAA members will begin to feel the same pressures the
RIAA components felt. Consumers will desire more transparency in the format
of their media. The inability to move media between devices without
repurchase or complex licensing software structures will frustrate and anger
them. Many more will resort to P2P systems than do today. Bittorrent will
shift to a decentralized and obfuscated structure that no longer requires
the posting of .torrent files on sharing sites and is extremely difficult to

I try not to look too far down the road and predict more than I should. I
feel Ray Kurzweil is guilty of that on many occasions. I also firmly believe
in my father's axiom "Men plan, God laughs". However, my general feeling
right now is that 2009 will see the collapse of DRM schemata in the video
media ecosystems. It shoudl roughly repeat the loop the RIAA has.

My best guess right now is that cable companies will see their market
cannibalized from within beginning in 2010, as media companies offer more
and more content on-demand through internet delivery services. The very
internet connection many cable companies provide alongside their content
offerings will begin to deliver media when and how consumers want. I don't
think 5C and CCI will be discontinued by the cable companies, instead they
will simply go away as users move to "on demand" delivery systems that fit
their lifestyle better.
In the end, systems like MythTV may become more like browsers with built in
media players than tuner/recording systems.

But then again, I could be wrong. It's happened before  :)

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