In about four iterations of Moore's Law, I'm going to be promoted to fulltime grandpa. So I'm hoping for a terabyte handheld media player as a retirement present -- though I'll probably have to buy it myself. The 60-GB video iPod is already an 18-month old technology, so we should be able to see a TB unit by 2012 without breathing hard.
So what will it hold?
I currently have a 4-GB iPod nano and a 20-GB Archos AV-320. The former holds 1,000 songs and the latter holds about 20 movies. A 60-GB iPod holds 25,000 photos or 150 hours of video. Even my grandkids won't be that well photographed. A 1-TB handheld would have 250 times more storage than my nano, 50 times more than my Archos, and 16.7 times more than today's video iPod.
But just as memory chips are gaining capacity, compression technology continues to improve. A Boston-area company called Euclid Discoveries just announced that for certain videos (read, "talking head" videos) its object-based video compression technology had achieved a 460% improvement over MPEG-4. From the press release:
"... EuclidVision testing has focused on what the firm calls 'streaming commentator' applications. This is video that shows the head and shoulders of the subject, which makes the current generation of the technology optimized for video conferencing applications, or simple newscasts. ¶ For streaming commentator video, Euclid can reduce a 23 MB video file to a 1,519 byte file – effectively enabling sub-4Kbps, low-bandwidth streams for wired and wireless applications. The streaming commentator application provides a rigorous proving ground for EuclidVision. ¶ In the coming months, Euclid Discoveries expects to complete tests demonstrating its ability to process all video types including full-length movies, and at increased compression rates. Ultimately, EuclidVision should be able to reduce the current MPEG-4 attainable 700 MB file size for 2-hour long videos down to 50MB – finally making feature length movies as “swappable” as MP3s. ..." Link: Euclid Discoveries press release.
So that gives my hoped-for retirement present the capacity for 20,000 movies, three orders of magnitude more than the capacity Ihave now. That is, assuming video compression technology stands doesn't improve further from this. --Dennis