WD: 1TB of Digital Content Per House By 2014

The future looks bright for hard drive manufacturers like Seagate and Western Digital as consumers fill hard drives to the brim with gigabytes of digital movies, music, and other multimedia content. In turn, manufacturers are pushing the hardware boundaries by offering larger capacities. Western Digital believes that consumers will eventually store an average 1 TB of digital content per houseold by 2014.

At a recent briefing in London, WD's executive vice president and general manager of Branded Products and Consumer Electronics Jim Welsh predicted that 1.4 billion PCs, 450 million smartphones, and 300 million connected devices will be available worldwide by 2014. Unsurprisingly, he doesn't believe that consumers will totally rely on cloud-based storage by then.

"When you need a lot of space, the best value is still going to be external storage," he said. "There’s also a fear out there that the [cloud-based] service could go down. There have been some companies out there that have lost some files. And, for the consumer, there will always be some doubt that will inspire them to own a drive of their own content."

He also believes the consumer's growing demand for digital content will eventually kill off DVD and Blu-ray formats, adding that built-in optical drives may even be eliminated in notebooks. "[Blu-ray] will continue to do fairly well, because of the richness of the content," he admitted. "But the convenience of people being able to download [is a massive factor]. It's that convenience that's really very very important. So a lot of devices will not have optical drives."

Although hard drives are convenient, they don't last forever. Data burned on optical discs by consumer-based drives tend to fail after a number of years depending on the disc materials and storage environment. USB drives can store data for ten years or longer, however the connectors can get damaged, rendering them unreadable. The best bet--it seems--is to use services that allow consumers to re-download purchased content if the original files are accidentally erased or lost due to hardware failure.

Will cloud storage ultimately become the best solution for digital content?

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  • shihabyooo
    DVDs will eventually die. But Blu-Ray will stick around for while. At least until Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo decide to ditch optical media for their consoles. X360 & Wii are one of the main reasons DVD's still survive. Sony announced they would be sticking to optical media for their next PS4 and PSP2. If you ask me, It's for the best. Internet connection can be found nearly everywhere. But you can't easily find a fast enough connection to download a 7GB game in less than 2 hours.
  • malphas
    I disagree, I can't see Blu-Ray outliving DVD, and don't think the 360 and Wii are a big factor in the format's continued popularity. People continue to use DVD because they don't see any reason to upgrade their equipment, unlike the switch from VHS to DVD where there were other benefits besides higher quality, e.g. no more rewinding.

    DVD is cheap, widely available and "good enough" for the majority of people, once you get to that stage of media, the next step is downloads - just look at the success DVD-A had in succeeding CD's (none whatsoever).
  • AnUnusedUsername
    I have a total of about 50gb of media files and about the same amount of installed games, and I am postitive the amount of media will never go up, at least not by more than a few gb. Sure, ill get new music occasionally, but I'm not going to get 20x what I have right now anytime soon. Pictures don't even make a dent compared to music and movies, so I really don't understand where people come up with so many media files. Sure, if you pirate all your movies they're going to be in digital form, but the average person wants to watch movies on a television, not a pc, and the average person also does not have the budget to build another entire pc just to play movies when its so much cheaper to use conventional media.
    Plus, at a reasonable price, the fastest internet around here still averages at about 100kB/second for downloads. Even if I wanted to download everything, its not happening at those speeds, and I'm not going to pay more than $50 a month for internet.