Personal Thoughts – USB’s or DVD’s when selling software or movies?

The other day I was in a technology store trying to kill some time, so I was reading the cases of the software that you could buy. There were anti-virus products, Windows Office products and a few others I can’t remember now. Some of them had a link where you could go insert your serial number and download the software online, but the products included a DVD with the software on it to install it. This got me thinking, why are companies still shipping DVD’s and not converting to USB sticks with the software on it yet?

To answer the underlying question; why ship the product with a DVD install disk (or USB stick) anyway when you can download it online? Well some people don’t internet, the bandwidth, or even want to download it as it takes extra time. Also some people, I know I do, want to get a physical object out of their purchase, not just a paper card with a website address and a activation code on it.

But why not convert to USB stick installers instead of DVD disk installers? This could apply to purchasable DVD movies too. Almost every modern Computer, TV, Home theater system even DVD player comes with a USB input slot, while the number of these pieces of technology being released with DVD drives is steadily going down (apart from the DVD player obviously).
Many modern Laptops do not come standard with a drive anymore. The only way to install the software or watch the movie from a DVD is to go out and purchase a separate external DVD drive that connects via USB to the computer. The other alternative is to rip the software/movie off the DVD and copy it to a USB drive to move to the laptop. This kind of defeats the purpose of the DVD then doesn’t it?

DVD disks also have the limitation of writable space that can be used to store the data on of about 4 to 5GB. USB sticks on the other hand have upper limit of about 500GB but that is ever growing, even then no software install will ever be that big.
A recent game I bought came with 5 install disks in a big case, why not have a USB stick large enough to fit all the data on. Instead of having to sit by the computer and wait for each disk to finish before removing it and inserting the next, with a USB stick you would only have to insert it and set the install going.
Another benefit is the read speed of a USB stick is a lot fast that a DVD so an install would happen a lot quicker. For DVD’s this is a little less of a concern, although as the resolution of content goes up there will be limitations from the DVD.

 DVD’s with Software and Movies that ship currently are not rewritable effectively making them a throw away item. USB sticks are on the other hand and could be recycled by the purchaser or sent back when no longer needed and refurbished and sent out again. Packaging will also be smaller meaning less cost to ship the same amount of product compared to DVD’s. Custom shaped USB sticks can also be created meaning that 3d advertising can be used. DVD’s are limited to a printed label on one surface. There will be a slight increase in cost, as to produce a DVD is cheaper than a USB stick, but the cost of USB sticks has come down so much now that the difference will be minimal. Therefore above two points should balance out the cost.

The below Infographic sums up some of what I have said above;

The benefits are there so why haven’t we switched? I do not know. Is it the nostalgia of the DVD? Or are DVD’s going to fased out with the only way to access items through the internet, leaving those without in the cold? Or is it just case like IPv4 where it works for now but when push comes to shove and it can’t keep up there will be a mad dash to change. Or are we not ready for it?
I am still surprised that DVD’s are used.
What do you think?

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