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Endangered species?

Are discs going the way of the dodo? Some experts say that in just five years, one third of music sales may come from downloads, not discs. DVDs could be headed for a drop as well. In a few short years you might just use the Internet, cable, or other high-tech systems to download your movies.

Here to speed the discs' demise is the Disney Corporation's new movie service, called Moviebeam. The system sends movies over the airwaves to a receiver in your home. There, the flicks are stored on a hard drive until you're ready to watch.

The service uses a process called datacasting to squeeze the movie onto the same channels that carry broadcast TV. A regular TV signal is made of radio waves (invisible forms of energy) that travel up and down like a roller coaster. Moviebeam inserts a digital signal that travels at right angles (side-to-side) to the radio waves. A regular TV ignores those signals. So without a Moviebeam receiver, you'll never know the movies are there.

Disney's betting that Moviebeam will beat renting from a video store. Each month, 10 new video releases automatically get stored on the Moviebeam box. "The system can move movies into the home two to three times faster than Hollywood can make them," says David Serlin of Dotcast, a company that makes the chips that decode the hidden signals inside the Moviebeam box. It's not time lo let your dog play catch with your disc collection yet. But that day may come sooner than you think!
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Title Annotation:Physical/Tech
Author:Bergquist, Charles
Publication:Science World
Date:Nov 17, 2003
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