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I remember not too long ago getting into a rather heated online forum discussion on the BluRay vs. streaming debate and getting flamed on my position that streaming was the future and why invest in BluRay. I still maintain that BluRay is a dead end medium so there's no real reason for me to dip my feet into that pool. As far as streaming is concerned, speeds are going to ramp up in the next few years as bandwidths improve. This leaves digital distribution, a la iTunes, which just got rights to distribute the Eve no Jikan Movie. Now, Bandai Entertainment has announced that they are going to stop releasing new BluRay and DvD discs in favor of licensing for digital distribution and broadcast. The press release can be found here on ANN.
This, I believe, is the opening salvo for the major licensors and distributors of anime (and other media) to migrate towards the digital domain in order to protect their investments. FUNimation and others have the infrastructure to follow in Bandai's footsteps, along with avenues like Hulu+, Crunchyroll, and Nico Nico, to eventually eliminate all physical media.
Will this stop fansubbing? Certainly not. There are routine fansubs of shows already translated. What this means is that collectors such as myself will have diminishing opportunities to own my favorite anime in a physical fashion like DvDs. Who cares you say? Well, I do. I like having things I can touch. I collect music on CDs and LPs over MP3s or M4A although sometimes I have to get a digital copy and then burn it to disc. This way, my collection is impervious to digital corruption.
Will digital downloads be available to download and archive in a physical format? I have no answer. Only time will tell. What I do know is that when I find an anime that I like enough to own, I want to own it outright. Is that so much to ask?