Hey, There’s No CD in There!

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f you have purchased a new laptop recently, especially a notebook, ultrabook or even a good sized tablet you probably realized right away, “Hey there is no CD drive in there!”  CD drives are in fact starting to become less relevant as consumers demand smaller and lighter form factors from their computing devices. This desire for small devices in conjunction with fast and dependable network/internet connections makes this all expected and logical.

Physical Discs are in the process of becoming extinct.
Computers without a disc drive aren’t so different. Let’s talk about why all of this is no big deal.

First. Can you really download everything? The answer is yes … if your Internet connection is up to the challenge. This is the first item to check before turning your back on physical media.

Let’s imagine that you want to watch a movie on a new Ultrabook. Since you have no disc drive, you decide to buy the movie from iTunes or Amazon. You opt for the HD version, so the file size is about 4GB.

If you’re on a 10 megabit per second (Mbps) connection, and the actual speed of the connection is close to what was advertised, the file will take about an hour to download. If you speed at home is 20 Mbps your download time will be reduced by half. The faster your internet speed the faster the download will be. That is not bad.

Reduce the speed to 6 Mbps, however, and the download will be closer to two hours. A connection of 2 Mbps extends the download to over four hours, and a person on a 0.5 Mbps line could start the download before leaving for work, only to find it not yet complete when he returns home.

Solving the Internet issue is an important step, but it doesn’t address the other big problem: What should you do with your DVD collection?

Second. Buy an external optical drive. Optical drives are boring commodity hardware and inexpensive. Before picking one up make sure that it supports “read and write”. Also make sure the drive supports Blu-ray if you want to watch HD movies from a disc. These external drives connect via a USB connection and just about all of these computing devices still come with these connections, except of course for Apple’s iPAD.

The second way to deal with physical CDs and DVDs is to create digital copies, or ISO images. This is a little more complicated so I will cover that procedure in a future article.