Getting Into The Matrix…

Imagine driving on a dark, unlit part of a highway running through rural India on a moonless & starless night with no other vehicle, seemingly, in sight. Also imagine (imagination can be very powerful), that the road surface is smooth enough to allow you to speed up to a 120 kmph (75 mph). And, suddenly, in the beam from your headlight, you spot the vehicle in picture below, moving slowly in front of you, blocking the road!

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You would be right to think that a serious accident can happen. The good news is that this is unlikely to happen. Here’s why…

Tail Lamp Reflectors

It is not just because there won’t be such empty roads, nor roads smooth enough to drive at that speed – I have already extolled the virtues of imagination.

It is because, the vehicle indicated above would have been spotted in time sufficient enough to brake to a halt – all on account of their low cost tail lamp reflectors made of this item shown in picture below.

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Yes. It is a DVD disc. It is going the same way as the floppy disks! And why do I think so? It is because of two interesting news items that I have read yesterday…

UltraViolet Copies

Best Buy has announced the launch of a new service that allows users to convert DVDs that they have at home into UltraViolet copies by paying a small fee online. UltraViolet is an initiative, jointly launched by major studios in Hollywood, that enables users to access the video from a cloud based storage, from any compatible internet-connected device. Users can convert SD movies for USD 2 or HD movies for USD 5 and the movie will be added to the users UltraViolet digital library. Walmart, in the US, had also launched a similar service earlier.

Release Of Viswaroopam

Tamil Movie releases in the Southern state of Tamil Nadu, in India, have always been associated with much fanfare (quite literally). The fans of stars, from various Fan Club organisations, assemble at the movie theatres for the first-day first-show and make offerings to God for the success of their favourite stars in a raucous celebration and hero worship. Many stars take active participation in organising their Fan Clubs to ensure a demonstrated fan-following in first few days after a movie is launched to maintain their commercial worth independent of whether the movie is a box-office hit.

One of the biggest stars of the Tamil Movie industry, Kamal Haasan, known for his experimentations as an actor/producer/distributor, recently surprised the world with an announcement that his next film – Viswaroopam – would be released on DTH (cable & satellite) along with a theatre release! (Of course, one need not be surprised actually, as Kamal – a highly accomplished actor that he is, is unlikely to be so insecure as to depend on manufactured crowds for first-day first-show).

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Unfortunately, this led to protests by theatre owners, who threatened to boycott the movie if it was released on DTH. The latest news that has come out is that multi-lateral negotiations are on and the movie may be delayed in its release beyond the Pongal Festival season in Tamil Nadu that occurs in mid-January.

Whatever the outcome, a path breaking effort has been initiated in a audience-dependent industry for a safer & efficient distribution, although it may ruin the business of theatre owners – and, looking at global trends, this appears to be progress.

Enter The Matrix

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Apart from the striking resemblance between the posters of the movies -The Matrix & Viswaroopam – one can easily see how physical entities are disappearing and getting substituted by virtual entities by the Cloud. In fact, my own personal infotainment collections are dependent completely iCloud, DropBox, SkyDrive and Google drive.

Another useful technology that I feel would provide fillip to on-demand video initiatives like UltraViolet is HTML5, which enables ease in rendering video on any device ensuring better accessibility to Cloud stores.

Our journey into the matrix has started…

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