I was thinking the other day about whether you actually need physical manifestation of media content. Does a movie gain something by being physically on a DVD rather than being stored digitially on a computer?
There is definitely one advantage in actually storing the movie on some kind of physical object because you can pick it up and move it around, even take it to places where the network infrastructure doesn’t exist. The obvious disadvantage is that you do actually have to take it physically to wherever you actually want to watch it.
It is also somewhat less impressive to give a gift of piece of paper representing a piece of content rather than an actual CD or DVD.
So I was wondering if the answer might be in tokens. The token would represent the digital media and identify ownership but the content itself would be stored digitally on the network. It would solve some of the problems of trying to squeeze more and more content onto smaller disks although it certainly wouldn’t solve the disconnected problem.
The token would be used to actually read the media, so there would be no problems with damaged content affecting the film. Tokens might be damaged but they could be replaced in that situation and since they would be simple anyway the survivability would probably be high. I carry around a collection of plastic cards everyday that are replaced about once every three years. That is somewhat more robust than video tape and probably better than DVDs too.
I see the token as being a smart card like object of some kind and perhaps the tokens might even reusable.
It’s a thought anyway…