Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the world’s richest man, has said that movie-watchers of the future will regard the notion of buying a shiny disc with a movie stored on it as “ridiculous” and instead will watch TVs able to download films and programmes via the internet.

But the industry has claimed movie-watchers will still want to feel that they own a film and that the DVD market is still a growing one.

In an interview with the leading German daily newspaper Bild-Zeitung, Gates said: “The entertainment of the future will definitely not be on a DVD player, that technology will be completely gone within 10 years at the most. When you consider that today we carry music and films around on silver discs and then have to insert them in computers, that is actually pretty ridiculous. These discs could end up being damaged, or simply getting lost.”

Gates, who founded Microsoft in 1975, said he envisaged a situation where the TV would be able to download and store our favourite shows, along with family photo albums.

“The TV of the future will show us exactly what we want and when we want,” Gates said. “It will know what we don’t want our children to see. It will be able to show us a display of family photos and on a command will remove the ones with the mother-in-law in them from the display, if we want it to.”

Gates’ vision would see a film collection reduced to being a list of bought films stored on a computer memory within the TV. The films could also be transferred to a portable player similar in format to the iPod portable music player.

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