The new Cutting Edge way of delivering videos is not via streaming on the web but via a video file called MP4 and a storage device called a flash drive which we send in the mail just like we did with the DVDs. One big advantage here is that the flash drive weighs less than one ounce and will hold dozens of videos on one drive so shipping is less costly than with DVD. These little drives plug into the USB port on your computer and you can watch the videos. Flash drives are not new and they are available at Walmart, Dollar General and most any store that has a gadget section. They are about the size of your thumb.
We will discuss the good, the bad and the ugly off streaming online and the advantage of flash drives and DVDs in this podcast.
Mp4 and Flash drives
Hi and welcome again to a new Cutting Edge Podcast. This is Jim, the tech guy for Cutting Edge. We are on the internet at cuttingedge.org. It has been a while since our last podcast because I have been very busy on a new project that adds to the way we deliver our videos. I am putting our videos into collections in MP4 format on Flash drives. I will define that for those who don't know what that is in a few minutes but let's take a minute to look back on the way we have delivered our video in the past.
The current method is DVD and we will continue to make our videos available that way. Prior to DVD there was VHS tape. DVD was a vast improvement in quality, a smaller size and the ability to get to different places in the video quickly. VHS tape would sometimes get chewed up by the player and it would have to be taken apart to get the tape out and the tape was ruined. Those days are gone thanks to DVD.
We have delivered our message since the 1990s through our web site and audio tapes. As time passed and technology improved we added video on VHS and then DVD. Then bought cabinets to keep all our tapes CDs and DVDs in. I still have boxes of VHS tapes in storage that my wife and I purchased over the years.
As I think back to my childhood when TV was black and white with two channels, there was no home computer and the phone had a dial on it. No microwave ovens and radio was only AM. Audio tape was reel to reel.
When FM radio and stereo came and transistors replaced vacuum tubes we thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then came 8 track tape players. That seems so ancient now as I get into my car and the audio system connects to my iPhone which is connected to my Spotify account on the internet and it starts to play my favorite music or podcast. IF I want a different type of music I just say “Hey Siri play a certain song by a certain artist and it changes and I don't have to touch anything. Or I can tell siri to play the Cutting Edge podcast.
So the present is here and the future is ahead and we need to be ready to deliver the message in the way people can receive it. Streaming is replacing DVD and there are many ways to do it and I want to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly about it.
I want to quote from an article “from January 2018, almost 5 years ago today. The article is titled “The Death Of DVD Will Haunt Us “ from Huffpost.
First let me say that the DVD is not dead however a CNBC article in 2019 states “Since 2008, DVD sales have declined more than 86%. “ Cutting Edge will continue to produce DVDs as long as there is a demand for it.
Now back to the article. It begins with this statement “The figures are in for 2016, revealing that streaming and download services have finally overtaken physical media as the prime format for home film-watching. It's a decisive win for convenience culture, but will we come to regret it...? “
I would say that whether you embrace streaming or stick with what you have is all about features and benefits so we will talk about that, but lets take a look at this article again. It has 4 points so let me share those.
1. You don't technically own the films you download. Effectively, you're leasing the content. Where you would have been able to give, or sell, a DVD you owned on to anyone you chose, your iTunes account does not allow for this. When someone dies, iTunes has the right to terminate the account and negate all 'ownership' of its contents.
Let me comment here. The new Cutting Edge way of delivering videos is not via streaming on the web but via a video file called MP4 and a storage device called a flash drive which we send in the mail just like we did with the DVDs. One big advantage here is that the flash drive weighs less than one ounce and will hold dozens of videos on one drive so shipping is less costly than with DVD. These little drives plug into the USB port on your computer and you can watch the videos. Flash drives are not new and they are available at Walmart, Dollar General and most any store that has a gadget section. They are about the size of your thumb. You cannot legally make copies for friends but you can copy the videos to your other devices, like a laptop or desktop computer or smart phone. You can sell the original drive or give it away as long as you don't keep copies for yourself because the new owner has the lease so to speak.
Now back to the article and point 2
2. Films can disappear in a digital landscape. Between November and January 2018, Netflix US is reported to have dropped 163 movies from it's catalog and added only 131. Commentary suggests that Netflix is shifting its focus to generating its own material. Which is fine, but when the market moves fully to streaming and the market leader has the power to decide what content is made available to consumers, what happens to a lot of older or quirkier films or even just films where the rights-holders expect to be paid fairly in the future? When you put all of your eggs in the streaming basket, there is no guarantee that the films you want to see will be available to you ever again.
Now for my comments. I do not have a Netflix account and don't want one but I do see the problem here. The advantage to the Cutting Edge flash drive is that you have a physical copy and it is yours to keep.
Now on to point #3
3. Digital film preservation is not proven to be safe. We might assume that once something exists digitally, it is safe forever, but that is not necessarily the case. Famously, when Toy Story was released on DVD, Pixar discovered that almost a fifth of the original digital files they stored had corrupted - so the DVD had to be mastered from a 35mm celluloid print. Hard drives, discs and chips physically degrade FAR faster than film. Film preservation - traditionally an under-funded area already - will struggle to preserve modern films reliably. And don't expect your streaming service to be investing in preservation.
My Commentary: The first thing you should do when you receive the flash drive is to copy the files to your computer. The flash drive is now your backup. The file type we use is higher quality than DVD and is smaller. Now you can watch on your computer or cast to the TV if it is a smart TV on the same wi-fi network or one of many devices like firestick, Roku or Chromecast connected to your TV. You can also get very inexpensive connectors to connect the flash drive to your phone and transfer the videos to the phone. That is great if you are on a long plane flight and want to watch the video you want instead of the limited choices on the plane that are usually not something a Christian would like anyway.
Now to the last point in the article Point #4
4. What if the internet goes down? We've all got very used to internet access, we consider it almost a basic human right, but what happens if we lose our access? Or are subject to attacks? When you put all of your film access into an online state, you'd better be confident in your provider.
My comments: If the internet goes down you can't use it to stream but you can stream from your flash drive.
Here is another thought. The record of what you stream online is recorded by the provider and they use it to learn your preferences and often sell that information to advertisers but there is another more frightening use. Imagine the future when Christianity is even more persecuted than today. Imagine you are arrested and your Miranda rights are read to you and instead of “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” they also say anything you have watched will be used against you. Think about when someone commits a mass shooting, the first thing they do is go online to social media to see what the suspect has been posting.
Now let's think about what happens after the rapture and believers are gone and what they left behind is printed Bibles, DVD's and flash drives loaded with Christian teachings. All of the Christian films and sermons are gone from the streaming services and YouTube is purged of anything the New World Order defines as offensive. All the online Bibles are gone too. While all those things can be confiscated and destroyed, it is much more difficult than than it is for an online service provider to just delete the video that is not approved by the Antichrist and his new world order.
We have released three collections in MP4 format on flash drives so far including the Revelation collection of 6 videos and the Genesis Collection and the UFO connection which also has 6 videos and the Catholicism collection of 5 videos and I am working on more as you listen to this podcast.
So let's summarize.
1 Flash drives are cheaper and lighter weight than DVD so cheaper to ship.
2 You still have you flash drives and DVDs if streaming services delete what you want to watch.
3 if your devices are connected to the same network and you have a smart TV or a TV with a smart device you can easily cast the video to your TV. I have really enjoyed the fact that my Cutting Edge videos are in one folder on my laptop sorted into folders by category. All I have to do to play one is right click on the file name and select cast to device from the pop up menu and select the TV and now I am watching on a 55 inch screen rather than the 14 inch laptop. The cost of smart TVs has dropped to less than $100 for smaller ones and you can get a 55 inch for under 300.
4 If you have a smart phone you can copy the MP4 files to the phone with an inexpensive connector. Mine was $9 from Amazon.
5 If you scratch a DVD it may not play right. You can make backup copies if you know how but the MP4 files are just a drag and drop transfer to your other devices.
In closing I must say that this new technology is not for everyone. Some will embrace it and find how easy to is to use in so many different ways. Those will enjoy not having shelves and drawers full of DVDs and tapes but only a thumb sized digital storage device with no motors to use up more power or break down. They will enjoy an easier way to find the video they want. On the other hand some will prefer the DVD. They are familiar with DVD and it works for them and there is nothing new to learn how to do.
In short if you have the equipment and have used flash drives before I think you will love this technology. We are not trying to talk you out of DVDs and we will still offer them for those who want them but keep in mind that nobody has wanted to by a VHS tape in a decade. We are adding a new way to watch with more options for those who want this technology. Streaming technologies on the internet do have some drawbacks as I have mentioned and we may one day do that also but we are offering this now and we think it is better. Home computers are starting to come without optical drives and many people don't own a DVD player so we want to make sure that we offer our videos in ways that our customers can use.
We have reached out with the gospel message and Bible study for over 25 years through the Internet and over time added many types of media including podcasts. Over those years we have reached millions and now thanks to many faithful financial supporters we have made the web site articles and the podcasts free to everyone. We publish and send out a newsletter and news alert each week that you can subscribe to those for free. The profits we make on books and DVDs and now flash drives funds future videos and pays our small staff and keeps the lights on. If you would like to donate to this ministry you can do that from our web site or through the mail. Visit our web site at cuttingedge.org for more information.
God Bless you and thank you for listening.