Well, okay: maybe that's hyperbole about the death of DVD. On the other hand, maybe it's not. In what has to be seen as a major vote of confidence in online content delivery, almost all of the major studios (including Fox, Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros., Universal, Lionsgate, and what's left of New Line) have signed with Apple to offer many of their movies on the iTunes Store's download-to-own service -- simultaneously with the release of the DVDs. This seems to show that they're not squeamish about losing DVD sales -- or at least not squeamish enough to turn down the attractive deal Apple no doubt offered.

Most new movies currently offered for sale on iTunes cost 10 to 15 bucks and about 1 GB in hard drive space (depending on the length). AppleTV, the device that Apple hoped would make the iTunes Store even more prevalent by making content purchased there watchable on users' television sets, has been beset by problems, and free advertising-supported content providers like Hulu.com also present a challenge. But whether or not iTunes wins, we're getting inexorably closer to the day of physical media obsolescence. The studios have now shown they're willing to go there (this announcement comes on the heels of Time Warner's decision to offer all of its movies via On-Demand cable day-and-date with DVD releases).

Of course, videophiles will still want their Blu-Ray, and it's hard to blame them. But it's only a matter of hard drive space. Tick-tock.