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Archive for January, 2019

Replication vs Downloads

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

It is still by no means certain whether mass-market consumers will embrace the concept of buying all their entertainment digitally rather than on disc – the music sector is undoubtedly undergoing a huge transformation with the majority of singles now sold digitally, whereas most albums are still physical sales.

It is clear that most manufacturers and distributors would want to avoid the cost and effort of maintaining a large inventory, but they would be foolish to ignore the very real attractions of packaged media to the casual customer.

Even in today’s climate of price-deflation and stagnant physical sales, entertainment content still has the power to grab consumers in a way other product cannot, and retailers are putting a lot of effort into enticing impulse-buyers.

Browsing through a display of attractively-packaged boxes is the quickest way to secure a sale, but it does mean that the retailer has to maintain and constantly update their inventory. This does, however, leave the way open to having point-of-sale machines that can burn discs on demand as well as digitally printing the packaging and artwork. The retailer would then simply have a display of lifesize empty boxes for the customer to handle and make his choice from, without having to guess at stock-levels etc.

The technology for this is still some way off, so the market for replicated packaged media is set to thrive for a good while yet, as pure downloads can never re-create the experience of buying and handling a quality retail product.

Piracy

New technology has always been viewed with suspicion when it came to the stealing of copyrighted material, but none of these predictions have ever really emerged as a serious problem:

“Home taping will kill record sales” warned the record companies in the 1970s when copying LPs to cassette had become the norm, but once the Sony Walkman made tapes more popular, the record companies simply sold more pre-recorded tapes.

Copying CDs is also possible, but most people can’t be bothered and, provided the price is acceptable, would much rather buy a nice-looking finished product than waste time making an unappealing copy.

How much material will be electronically “shoplifted” if online sales become the norm is also down to price and convenience – if it’s easy to buy appealing product at attractive prices, and tiresome to steal, customers will pay.

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The International Digital Media Alliance

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

The International Digital Media Alliance – and it’s ever changing name

Ever wondered how or who helps govern a fair and independent assessment and education of all the digital media that is being developed and released.
Formally known as The DVD Association, the now known International Digital Media Alliance (IDMA), is committed to providing expertise in DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and interactive media.

The International Digital Media Alliance (IDMA) is dedicated to ensuring that multimedia is uncomplicated, reliable and dependable for users. IDMA exists as a not-for-profit organisation which is solely supported through membership and sponsorships from corporations.

Digital Media
Originally IDMA was established in 1990 as the Compact Disc Interactive Association (CDIA) and was formed to help creators of disc-based television programs. CDIA also helped provide information to the general public and hosted annual educational workshops and conferences as well as producing many publications. CDIA intended to educate the public about then-new video disc options like CD-I and Laserdisc.

With the dawn of the DVD, CDIA changed its name and became the DVD Association, before recently re-settling on its current name, the International Digital Media Alliance. The latest name change has come about because of HD-DVD and the advent of Blu-ray. It is clear that the DVD was never going to remain the only video disc on the market. It however would not make sense for an organization to change to another name focused on a single medium. In this ever changing frontier of digital media technology, there is no doubt that there will be more mediums in the future. Just as apparent as the death of HD-DVDs, however it would appear that DVD’s are still going strong even in the Blu-Ray era.

The official website, located at http://www.theidma.org/, offers plenty of history and public files, as well as news on the organization.

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Tips on laying out a user friendly CD-ROM disc

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

As a software or multimedia developer your aim is to educate and/or entertain your user. Therefor giving them a CD which takes them straight to the contact they desire will undoubtedly enhance their user experience. Generally speaking it’s not beneficial if you pop a CD or DVD into your computer and have to guess what to do next. Here are a few ideas to consider before sending a master disc in for duplication.

layoutFirstly… Does it have autorun? It makes sense to do so, as the vast majority of Windows users expect their discs to do so. You can achieve this by popping a simple text file called autorun.inf, into the root directory of your disc.

Don’t overlook assigning an electronic volume label on the disc. Set the volume label using your burning software; alternatively try using the ‘label’ command inside the autorun.inf file. This way users navigating their PCs using Explorer can see that the CD in the drive is more descriptive then the default text ‘New’ or ‘1320982_04’.

Ask yourself…Is the root directory free of clutter?Generally speaking people do not want to be confronted with choice, especially when they unsure. Simplify the process, make the choice for them and only leave the most important file in the root directory ( along with the autorun file) To make it obvious name the file ‘start’ or ‘run’ and move all other files into  sub-folders. Remember these sub-folders and files should have real names. By giving these folders and files everyday readable names it allows users to navigate and locate documents/images outside of your software.

Remember that when creating a master disc to be sure that any unnecessary files, images or templates have been removed. As well as enabling a clean file structure, it prevents the possibility of sharing your source codes or any uncompleted or unused ideas.

Finally … Is your CD going to be used on both PC and Mac? If so then make sure your disc is a true hybrid CD in order to run on both platforms. This way you can hide the PC files from the Mac and vice-versa. This makes for a clean disc.

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Address: Replication Centre, Gleniffer House, 2 Hall Road, Rochford, Essex, SS4 1NN.    Tel: 01702 530 357    Email: info@replicationcentre.co.uk