Are CDs and DVDs becoming obsolete? Once considered the pinnacle of high tech audio and video storage, they’ve significantly declined in popularity in recent years—largely thanks to new developments in online data storage and transfer. But are the discs really on their way out?
CDs were first considered high-quality alternatives to vinyl records and cassette tapes; they made clear digitally recorded audio accessible to the mass market. Eventually, CDs replaced both vinyl and cassettes as the standard for selling and purchasing audio recordings. However, today’s easy Internet music downloads have contributed to a decline in CD sales. According to Nielsen SoundScan, as cited by Billboard Magazine, said CD sales have decreased 18-20% annually for the past five years.
The arrival of DVDs on the market originally allowed consumers to watch digitally recorded videos at a higher quality than previously available on videotapes. While DVDs are still commonly used today, they also have some serious competition from newer advances. BluRay discs operate like DVDs in many ways, but their large storage space allows consumers to watch high definition movies—a big draw since HDTVs have also become widely available. But additionally, DVRs (digital video recorders) and online video streaming have once again supplanted the need for discs or tapes or anything else physical in order to watch movies at home. In May 2011, the Financial Times reported that sales of new DVDs had fallen 20% in the past year.
Data Storage on CDs and DVDs
CDs and DVDs have also proven themselves as reliable data storage devices. They’ve delivered countless programs to people for purchase, and recordable drives have made it possible for computer users to back up and share their data on these discs. But with online storage, flash drives, and external hard drives now readily available, will CDs and DVDs become obsolete?
New Uses for CDs and DVDs
The good news for disc fans is that there are still plenty of uses for CDs and DVDs. While the disc format may no longer be considered ideal for data backups, CDs and DVDs are still some of the best ways to share data. For example, companies can create promotional DVDs with multimedia presentations and documents and leave them with potential clients. This gives them something in their promotional arsenal besides simple websites that their potential clients may or may not visit. Job seekers can create something similar to send to employers that interest them. The low costs of discs make them perfect candidates for distributing such information.
Sharing photos and other data with family and friends also becomes simple with CDs and DVDs. You can create your own slideshows, audio clips, journal entries, or scrapbooks, and easily transfer small files to CD or larger files to DVD. Then you can safely share the discs with your loved ones. More elegant and personal than files uploaded online, discs ensure that your loved ones will receive high-quality files and that they have a secure place for safekeeping.
So don’t write off CDs and DVDs just yet. While their main functions may change over time, they continue to show versatility and reliability as low-cost data storage and sharing devices.