We are rushing head-long into a future where all of our video, audio and photographic content will be stored digitally, so believes storage-specialist Western Digital, and specifically the company's executive vice president and general manager of Branded Products and Consumer Electronics. And Jim Welsh boldly expects that, by 2014, all households, on average, will store a massive 1TB of digital content.

He also predicts that there will be 1.4 billion PCs, 450 million smartphones and 300 million connected devices (including TVs) worldwide. However, unlike some, he doesn't think that we'll ever reach a point where we'll be storing our files solely in the cloud:

"I’m a MobileMe user, and I’ve got 20GB from Apple, but I can’t fit a lot of home movies on that. And a lot of users are going to be in the same situation", Welsh told Pocket-lint at a briefing in London.

"When you need a lot of space, the best value is still going to be external storage. There’s also a fear out there that the service could go down. There have been some companies out there that have lost some files. And, for the consumer, there will always be some doubt that will inspire them to own a drive of their own content".

"I think people will always have personal storage. I think they will co-exist together. But the movement entirely [to the cloud]? I don’t think so".

"WD wins both ways, of course. We sell drives for the cloud, and we sell drives for the external storage market".

However, either way, cloud-based or stored at home, Western Digital expects that the rise in immediate digital content could spell the end for DVD and Blu-ray:

"We will see the hard drive - digital content - overtake DVD". he said. "I think you’ll see, in notebooks, the elimination of built-in optical drives".

"[Blu-ray] will continue to do fairly well, because of the richness of the content. But the convenience of people being able to download [is a massive factor]. It's that convenience that's really very very important. So a lot of devices will not have optical drives".

"Hard disk drives are really convenient, though". Naturally.

What do you think? Are we facing a future of digital content only? Or do you like collecting DVD/Blu-ray media? Let us know in the comments below...

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