The issues are more commercial than technical. 8Gb USB flash memory might hit the A$50 price point this year - and A$30 next year. There is a 'base price' for flash memory - around $10-$15.
This inverts the current cost structure of expensive reader/writer and cheap media. Which is perfect for rental/leasing of media - a refundable 'media deposit' works. An added bonus for content owners is a significant "price barrier" for consumers wanting to make a copy. If a 'stack' of 100 SD cards costs $1500 (vs $100 for DVDs), very few people will throw these around 'like candy'.
Y'know, the more I think of it, the more the SD-embedded-in-a-credit-card has a lot of appeal when the availability and price point for 8Gb SDs is right. It makes it easy to print a picture, title and credits/notices etc on the 'credit card' - something big enough to be readable and a convenient display format and, as you say, nicely wallet-sized. Snap off the SD and you've agreed to the conditions etc, plus the media is now obviously 'used'.
It's a useful format for other distributions too - games, software, etc (Comes to mind that SAS media still comes on literally dozens of CDs in a cardboard box the size of a couple of shoe boxes).
My complete collection of "Buffy" would come in something the size of a can of SPAM or smaller, rather than something the size of a couple of house bricks for the DVD version, or something still the size of a regular paperback for the Blu-Ray version. For collectors of such things, the difference between having many bookshelves taken up by the complete set of
Vs a small box of credit card (or smaller) sized objects is significant. The ability to legally re-burn or replace and re-burn the media when it fails is critical though.
SJ: Because of the per-copy encoding to a 'key', stealing expensive collections isn't useful, unless the key is also taken. So those 'keys' have to be something you don't leave in the Video player.
You've covered the DRM aspects and better alternatives to DRM - which also means that I can burn and sign the media I might produce and distribute myself without needing to involve the likes of Sony or Verisign - although that is possible also - which protects the little producer. Include content in Chrissy and Birthday cards - you've seen those Birthday cards with a CD of songs from your birth year - why not a sample of the movies from that year, plus newsreels etc. Good for things like audio books - whole collections. And if the content on an SD gets destroyed, as long as the media is OK, it would be possible to re-burn it. Most current DVD players now also have SD readers as standard.
Surely someone has thought of it already! Part of the attraction of DVD over storing your library on a 2TB USB disk from Dick Smith is the problem of backups. DVD is perceived, incorrectly, as permanent storage. Though I notice some external USB drives now have built-in RAID 1 or RAID 5, but Joe public doesn't see the need (how come I bought a 2TB drive and I only get 1TB?).
Yeah, I think the proposition that SD or similar will become the ubiquitous preferred standard portable, point-of-sale, recording and backup storage media for photos, movies and music, has some credence. There is something to be said for - "you pick it up in your hand; you buy it; it's yours" - over - "downloading and buying some limited 'right to use' ".