PNY Technologies announced this week they're the first company to release a 2GB USB flash drive with a feature film preloaded on it. PNY is using the 1980s flick Ghostbusters to promote its new line of Attaché flash drives. If you're someone who has been downloading movies to USB drives for sometime -- as I have -- you may say, "so what?" And, you may have a point, but there's more to this first-time novelty than meets the eye.
First, you should know it's not being released in the U.S. - yet. According to PNY spokeswoman, Margaret Salleroli, the company is using Europe as a test market for the USB drive/movie thing. It is impressive that relatively tiny PNY struck a deal with Sony to be the first to distribute a movie on the very untraditional medium. A quick check with SanDisk, the largest flash memory vendor, showed they have nothing like this in the works. The PNY/Sony deal also had to include digital rights management software that would try to keep people from copying the film to other media. The DRM will work for the general public, but it'll last about 10 minutes in the tech community. And who really cares? Ghostbusters has been on The Pirate Bay for a long time.
But what I took away from this exercise in marketing is that movies on disk, not disc, may well be the future.
Eventually, I believe televisions will have Ethernet and/or USB ports -- some do today - so you'll be able to plug hard drives directly into them and stream high-def video at gigabit speeds. Just think, selecting from a menu on your television any of hundreds of movies. But I've gotten off track. I started by talking about a simple 2GB USB flash drive with a preloaded movie.
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