I think the real questions are going to be whether the rest of the world gets wired fast enough for downloads to surpass physical media, and whether they will get sucked into the payware problem. To me, the tea leaves that I download from RSS suggest that they will not, and Microsoft (and Sun and Apple, for that matter) will be running scared soon enough. My bet is that inexpensive, commodity computers with Linux and BSD, as well as hand-me-downs, will overwhelm the sales of Windows-equipped payware boxen very shortly. FreeBSD and Linux efforts are very strong in Asia, and, if you include China and India, it is already no contest. The only place hard media will survive is the US, and people here are getting a clue, too. The new music market includes downloads from artists who realize that record companies aren't their friends any more, and I think that videos will also come out this way, with the artists' money coming from live performances.
in reply to The next successful successor to DVD as a medium for video will be:
I do think there will be two coexisting worlds in the US for a long time; those who have broadband and download freely, and those who lack the cluefulness and pay for dead tar pit platters of one kind or another.
Gawdammit, my 1.4K cassette download of FORTH from Compuserve just got screwed, the cat knocked the handset out of the 300 baud modem. I'm going to have to start over...
"There's more than one level to any answer."