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How much do you rely on physical media?
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TOPIC: How much do you rely on physical media?

How much do you rely on physical media? 7 years, 4 months ago #2442

I thought I would put this issue forward to see what the general opinion was on the decline of physical media. With the increase of downloads and the unstoppable onset of the cloud it seems that physical media is having its days numbered, whether we like it or not.

Apple’s attitude in particular seems to be quite stern on the matter. The dropping of the optical drive on the Mac Mini seems like an obvious effort to promote the App Store. Personally, I find it a bit baffling that a machine that is so often cited as a Mac for those making the switch from a PC should lose something that I can’t even manage living without! What about burning discs, ripping CDs or watching films? I couldn’t have gotten through university without burning a disc, I’m not prepared to pay more than a CD for mp3s and iTunes’ film pricing can’t stand up against my LOVEFiLM subscription. And that’s just me, I can’t even imagine what my dad would say if I told him that the newest version of his computer wouldn’t have anywhere to put a disc in.

I can see the appeal of a disc-free world when it comes to software however. Having recently upgraded to a new iMac, I only installed 3 applications from disc (granted one was a 7-disc install) but the majority of my software was downloaded. I’m quite happy to have a record of my licenses discretely tucked away on my computer and not a great pile of discs all over the place. I was always irritated by a friend of mine at university who wouldn’t have even considered paying a large sum of money for software if he didn’t at least get a disc, despite the fact that it didn’t benefit him in anyway compared to the download option.

Any thoughts? What about Lion’s exclusivity on the App Store? I’ve heard that it’s now going to be made available (for a higher price?) on a memory stick from Apple Stores. As it is, I wouldn’t be able to update my Leopard MacBook without something physical.

Re: How much do you rely on physical media? 7 years, 4 months ago #2444

As a long time Mac Mini media center owner, and long time MacBook Air owner (on my 4th), I own the external DVD drive, but am totally ok with it now being standard. I VERY rarely use the drive. I have a new iMac with 6 TB RAID array for my media (it was a Mac Pro until recently). I stream everything using PS3 Media server to the Mac Mini on my TV (or to my PS3 depending on the media file in question). I use XBMC on my Mac to accept play the streams. I have never plugged in the Mac Mini to the external DVD drive. I have all 200+ of my DVDs ripped, and an external drive I load up with movies for trips. The HD takes way less power than the DVD drive also, allowing for longer battery life. Hell, even games that require disc, I generally tend to create ISOs and load the images. Faster performance and better battery life.

Could I live with my iMac not having a DVD drive... probably not. I burn too many DVDs and CDs.

Re:How much do you rely on physical media? 7 years, 4 months ago #2446

99% of the use cases I can imagine will be streamlined without physical media, and if Apple is aiming for simplicity of experience, they're logically correct doing away with install discs and allowing the Genius bar to handle the remaining cases. That said, particularly as a tech and occasional artist, I put a very high weight on that remaining 1%- restoring my machine from a bootable install disc, having hardcopies of software so I don't need to be on a network to get back to baseline functionality, pulling audio/video in off hardcopy- the stuff that I rarely do but REALLY need to be able to do when I need to do it.

Re:How much do you rely on physical media? 7 years, 4 months ago #2448

I very rarely use my Mac's optical drive. I seem to only use it to play the occasional DVD. I suppose the only other reason I would use it is to install software. I like having large software installers on discs. If I need to reinstall a program, I don't want to download a 300+ MB installer, despite only taking a half hour or so (I pulled that amount of time out of nowhere, btw).

On the other hand, I fix a ton of Windows machines. Mostly I end up backing up the owner's data and wiping the hard drive. This requires re-installation of mainly two pieces of software: Windows and Office. I have various versions of these programs on discs (if I see you have a version I don't, lemme copy it!). I also have lots of utility CDs for fixing other issues. I'm aware I can make a bootable USB drive (and I have one), but the CD is still just too convenient for me.

Re:How much do you rely on physical media? 7 years, 4 months ago #2451

I still buy music CDs because I don't know how long the mp3 format will be sticking around. I'm hoping we go to the FLAC format, and if I'm buying music, I want to be able to upgrade for free. I don't trust the iTunes store to let you upgrade, and with over 200 CDs even if they only charged 10¢ to upgrade, it would cost me a fortune to do so.

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