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Downloads in general
Member Name: sn0zb0z
Downloads in general
Advantages: Media is available to everyone with just the click of button
Disadvantages: Leads to illegal downloading and hacking, costs more and requires more knowledge of technology
A message we're all used to seeing, whether it's on our computers, games consoles or even on our phones.
Media is pretty much my life; video games, films, music, books, technology, and computers. I use computers and technology all the time and keep track of the latest technology and media. So you may be thinking that I get all the latest technology and love the new ideas, such as touch screens or downloading media. But you'd be wrong.
It's always great to see what they can do with technology and it's great to have different options for getting media. Many people already download bonus content for games, or even full games and people have been downloading music for years. All the time new products are becoming available for download.
New games, extra game content, new books, new films and, of course, the latest music. There's no doubt that there's a market out there for downloadable products, especially with most of the younger generation constantly on mobile phones. However, is legal media downloading the way of the future?
Last generation saw the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube go into battle with gameplay, graphics and extra features such as being able to play DVDs all being used in the war to prove which was best. This generation the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii have all gone to the next step with wireless controllers, movement sensors and downloading content and full games.
While they may offer some free content most of it you have to pay for and in most cases it costs far more for full games than if you were buying them from a shop or second hand. In fact, on average, I reckon I'd probably have had to pay out at least three times as much if I'd downloaded all the games I have. I buy a lot of games online and get them delivered, but even including the cost of petrol to go to the store it would still be far cheaper than downloading the game.
Being able to download extra content for games is a nice option, although due to the cost not something I ever do, but plenty of people do. It's a much easier option to simply download the content for games as it doesn't take as long to download as full games.
Of course, it's not just video games that can be downloaded. Mobile phones all have games on now and usually you have the option to purchase more. Making more media available on mobile phones is a good idea as people can download any application or game no matter where they are. So if you're travelling somewhere and you are bored you can just go to the online store and download an application. There are even many free ones. However, it does also lead to the problem of people spending their lives on their mobiles.
With companies such as LoveFilm offering films streamed straight to your TV, PS3 or computer it's hardly surprising that downloading films is becoming more popular. People want to be able to click a button and receive the film almost straight away, they don't want to have to go and get a disk. Streaming allows you to watch it straight away with no downloading so in the future streaming more media rather than downloading will probably be the way forward.
For those who want to watch a film over and over downloading is probably the better option. It is stored on a storage device and you can just click to play it any time. While this may seem the way forward as there's no need to go anywhere or put up with hundreds of disks lying around, storage devices aren't always cheap and there's always the risk of technical problems.
It is also leads to illegal downloading. For years people have been illegally downloading films, some of which aren't even out yet and which people have filmed at the cinema or gained somehow and most likely shouldn't have. The chances are it will be hard to stop this.
I'm sure that streaming and downloading will probably lead to film companies such as LoveFilm and Blockbusters competing to try and get the newest films out to you in the fastest way possible, which may not sound a bad thing, but it means that the technology you have has to be better to handle the speeds the film could be sent and the quality of the film and that, of course, costs money.
Music is probably the first thing most people think of when you say about downloading. Napster was one of the first music sharing systems until it was shut down because of the music industry complaining, but it was around this time that online media started to take off. Music is another form of media that has been downloaded illegally for years, but downloading legally has also become more popular with sites and programs such as iTunes and Amazon where you can download songs and, usually, for much less than a CD would cost. MP3 players and Ipods have replaced portable CD players, giving people more reason to download instead of buying a CD. MP3 players are being brought out with more features and more memory so it looks as though downloading music is here to stay.
As with film, downloading is not the only option. Besides buying a CD you can also stream music. So while you may need downloads for MP3 players or Ipods when on a computer, or even watching TV or using a games console, many people stream music instead from websites such as Youtube or programs like Spotify. It saves on storage space and you can even get programs/applications or websites when on the move as many mobile phones now have them features on them so there's no need to download anything (other than perhaps a small application).
Books are often a forgotten media, especially now with the Internet being widely available. If you look at a book you'd probably wonder how it can be improved. After all, we used books for centuries without changing them. Books too have now entered the digital age, although whether you consider this an improvement is another matter.
Since the Internet became popular being able to buy books has become much easier as many sites across the world sell and ship them, but that also led to stories and information being posted online or downloaded and now we have e-books (electronic books) and many devices to choose from to store these e-books on and read them.
I can understand why people would prefer e-books as you can store them on a small device, take them anywhere and read whatever story you wish when you wish, but when just sitting at home there's no reason why an e-book would be better than an actual book.
Without technology I would be completely lost. I also have loads of books that are currently fighting the video games for space on my shelves. Yet somehow the idea of having a device with digital books stored on it doesn't really appeal to me.
I think in the end it all comes down to one point for me; cost. Is there any point in paying for a device when I can read anyway without it? Then there's the cost of the e-books themselves. I love to get a good deal. I can go on eBay or even walk into a bookshop and find a book for less than £1 or one that is half price. With an e-book you may get odd sales on certain books, but you have to pay the price that's set because there's no one else selling it. There's no such thing as a second hand e-book that people can sell on cheaper. I can't afford to keep paying out the prices they charge for e-books. If I was to buy a e-book reader it would be so I could read more often, but with them prices I'd end up reading less often because I'd have to wait until I could afford to buy another e-book.
I like reading stories online, but if I'm not by a computer or it requires buying and downloading an e-book to read it then I'd much prefer to read an actual book. There's no waiting for a download and I spend a lot of time in front of a screen so it's nice to escape that.
E-book readers such as the Kindle seem to have become the next big thing and if it gets more people reading that's never a bad thing. I think books will be around for a long time yet though. Like any other technology or digital product, e-books and the devices still have their disadvantages.
I think downloading will become more popular and I've no doubt that more technology will be available in the near future that will bring media to us in new ways. Still, I think there's a lot to be said for having physical products rather than digital and I believe there will always be a market for them. I'm quite happy to download certain products (e.g. extra game content or music), but I like being able to get a good deal and sell products on when I don't want them anymore. Sure you may find a digital product on sale every so often, but the companies will probably always have a lot of control over the prices and you obviously can't sell a digital product as second hand like you can a disk or book.
There are problems such as hacking and illegal downloading. No matter how much companies try and stop it there will always be someone out there who can manage it and if everyone's paying and getting products online it gives hackers even more reason to hack as they've more to gain.
Teenagers are used to using the Internet and technology and as more people grow up using it downloading and streaming media will most likely be more popular. Currently there are many people who aren't as familiar with technology or they simply dislike using technology for everything. While ever there are people who don't just want digital media there is a market for physical products.
Legally downloading media is the way of the future, but I don't think it will ever be the only option and if ever everything does become digital I think streaming all media is probably going to be more popular than downloading. Downloading has its advantages, but not enough for it to be the only option.
Summary: Is legal media downloading the way of the future? It seem so.