reflections in response to Emerging Technology course EDUC 7108

In order to obtain one of the films based on the books by Philip K. Dick in module 4, I began first with the resources I have immediate access to.  I reviewed the “guide” listings of movies scheduled for broadcast on cable television, which produced two of the Dick films.  After reading each review, I chose Minority Report; set it to record digitally via TIVO and watched it the following day after it was recorded for me.

There was a time when the only option to seeing a movie was to rent one from a video store or purchase it.   Technological advancements now allow the very same film to be streamed or downloaded immediately to one’s television or personal computer. This emergence in technology has also led to competition between DVD sales and Video on Demand.  The current competition between Video on Demand and DVDs is an example of increasing returns (Laureate Education, 2009). Since high speed internet is now more affordable, with larger screen size displays, and with superior image and graphics quality than was available in the past, more people use online resources than ever before, causing the video rental business to slowly become obsolete.  This is easily represented in the competition between Netflix and Blockbuster.

Netflix began in 1997, moving to subscription services in 1999, and now with customer subscriptions including both rented movies delivered in the mail, as well as streamed movies through TIVO, Wii, Xbox 360, Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices as well as select brand-name televisions.  While Netflix was concentrating on video on demand business, Blockbuster, as its primary competitor, did not expand to the video on demand market soon enough, which ultimately led to their demise as they filed for bankruptcy in 2010.  As the transition was made to digital format in the United States in June of 2009, many Americans have flocked to stores to purchase updated televisions, many of which are fully equipped with internet connection, and ready for streaming with automatic access to streamed or downloaded content, for example, my Samsung Blu-Ray player came equipped with recommended internet TV applications:  Pandora internet radio, VUDU, Netflix, and Blockbuster, with capabilities to access Twitter, Google maps, You Tube videos and more.  The TIVO offerings on my television include Blockbuster, Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix, You Tube, Rhapsody, Pandora, Live 365, and Podcaster.   These companies will all reap the benefits of being readily available and “on the screen” as customers tune in to their newly-acquired television sets.  The law of increasing returns (Laureate Education, 2009) suggests that as one technology is chosen, customers continue with it, contributing to even more growth for the first-chosen technology.

Video on demand rekindles the movies at home concept.  The fact that companies such as Netflix continue to “rent” movies by delivering them to mailboxes, suggests that DVDs are not becoming obsolete; one only has to look at the shelves in Walmart to realize they continue to be sold.   As image quality becomes better and better, Blu-Ray DVD will obsolete the basic DVD however.

Vint Cerf: It’s all about Video on Demand

Anderson, C. (2004). Tech’s long tail [Video]. Retrieved from

Cerf, V. It’s all about video on demand. Retrieved from

What you need to know about the digital tv transition.  Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (2009). Emerging and future technology. Baltimore: Author.

Newman, R. (2010). How Netflix killed Blockbuster. US News & World Report: Money. Retrieved from

Netflix. Retrieved from

Samsung Blu-Ray DVD. Retrieved from

Thornburg, D. (2008c). Red Queens, butterflies, and strange attractors: Imperfect lenses into emergent technologies. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.

TIVO Retrieved from


Comments on: "Module Five: Red Queens, Increasing Returns and the War on DVD/Video on Demand" (5)

  1. Lori,

    Great post! We still have a large collection of DVDs and VCR tapes at home that nobody will ever watch again. Ever since we began subscribing to Netflix, we stopped purchasing movies. You are right; DVDs will not disappear from shelves in the near future. However, as more people use the movie streaming option and the competition and collaboration among companies will grow so will quality and better options for users.

  2. Thanks, Orit!

    I noticed the other day a pile of “old-DVDs” in my daughter’s room….she’s been watching them to fall asleep by. These are the visual memories of her childhood, like snuggling up with a warm blanket. So, I don’t think DVDs will entirely be extinct in my household! LOL

    I had a subscription to Netflix back in 2004, I loved the convenience of keeping the movie for as long as I needed it, thus avoiding late-fees. Then, my local store which I drive by everyday stopped charging late fees, and I found we didn’t watch as many movies as we once had. I subscribed to the Netflix online service last fall, since we got a new HD-TV with access to streaming media. However, I soon found that very few of the movies one can order through Netflix, few are available to stream. So, although the theory of streamed movies directly to my television set through Netflix or Amazon on demand, is a great idea, so far it just has not worked for my household and I’m unwilling to pay $4.99 per movie to purchase without a monthly subscription. My research was encouraging, though, since it appears to suggest that Netflix’s access to a larger repertoire of films is imminent….I just may try them again!

  3. I am not a movie person so this world of developments in this area is extremely new to me. Sometimes I think so much is changing with technology that I can’t keep up with it all =)

  4. Great post! You are definitely up on more apps than I am. I recently purchased a Logitech Revue for Google tv and found that the major networks block Google tv and will not stream to it. I wonder if they will find themselves in a place where they are losing business by not allowing these devices to stream their content.


  5. There has been a great deal of recent speculation that Amazon will attempt to create a subscription-based service that will rival Netflix. As much as I love Netflix, I’m excited that the consumers should win in the long run.


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