I think streaming is going to grow… even amongst the illicit media scene.
I think my viewing habits are somewhat normal for the standard p2p fiend. I download a movie from bittorrent, watch it once, then either save it to watch again (I rarely do), or delete it off my system. From a data perspective, that seems pretty inefficient.
A better idea, I believe… Develop a centralized data bank with a number of movies, tv shows and assorted media. Whenever I want, I can stream that media to my computer and watch it there. That IP system would use Peercast or some sort of bittorrent-powered distribution system to maximize performance as it scales. Of course, I still want the ability to download a file, in case I want to view it offline. This system should allow me to maintain my own file system and IA. I don’t need other people’s media mixed in with “mine”, though I sometimes will want to browse them. I haven’t yet seen a UI that offers this mine/everyone toggle inside a filesystem, but it’s completely achievable.
In addition to benefiting from having a larger potential library to use, you also shift legal responsibility, which is a nice perk, too.
I’d expect such a service to have some sort of cost associated, but given the savings of hard drive expenses, that cost is quickly justified.