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Are You DVD Crazy?
Time was we - avid consumers of video products and technology - would spend hours and hours collecting and taping VHS versions of movies and television shows - which was the state-of-the-art technology at the time. But times have changed, and now DVD’s have swept the marketplace clean, and forced us to re-evaluate our movie collections and home theatre equipment. Now we’re dissatisfied with the quality of our existing collections, and we just can’t wait to convert all those VHS tapes to DVD’s. How did this happen to us? And so quickly!
It’s no surprise that we all want to keep up with the latest gadgets and technology, but the growth of the DVD market has been truly amazing. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, VHS tapes had a clear superiority in the marketplace, but it still took about fifteen years - from their introduction in 1976 - to achieve that top spot in the market. By 1991 three out of four homes in the U.S. would own a VCR.
But their success was relatively short-lived in the marketplace - DVD players were introduced in 1997 - and the sales of DVD’s had overtaken the VHS market by 2003 - a mere six years by comparison. So what’s the attraction? DVD’s have noticeably sharper picture quality and superior sound quality - not to mention the fact that VHS tapes can - and do - deteriorate over time and can get shredded in your VCR heads.
DVD’s are also smaller to store - an important consideration if your storage space is limited - and are way more convenient. By that I mean you can jump from “chapter” to “chapter” or segment to segment with the click of your remote, eliminating all that fast forwarding and rewinding that’s necessary with a VHS tape. The amount of data you can cram onto a DVD is vastly superior to what can be included on a VHS tape - which is one reason you can see a movie, plus all those cool special features like cast interviews and how they made the movie and how they did the stunts - all of that can be included on a single DVD.
The “format” war between VHS tapes and DVD’s is all but over - with DVD’s the clear winner. Not only is the DVD technology cooler than VHS - it now has the unquestioning support of the movie industry. Many studios aren’t releasing new movies in VHS format - they’re skipping that format entirely and sending out new releases in DVD format only. And many movie rental companies are slowly dispersing their inventory of movies in VHS format - and stocking only DVD format movies for rental. So even the movie studios and rental places appear to be “DVD crazy.” Can’t say that we blame them!
As consumers - and videophiles (is that even a word?) - we’re usually the first one on the block to come home from the store with the latest technology and coolest gadgets, so in all respects we have to add ourselves to that “DVD crazy” category. We ran right out and experimented, then purchased, the latest in DVD technology - DVD players and recorders, even an integrated VCR that interfaced with the DVD recorder so we could convert all those VHS tapes to that great new DVD technology. We just couldn’t wait to update our collections.
Now a new “format” war appears to be brewing - between the “Blu Ray” technology and the HD-DVD technology for High-Def DVD’s. We talk about this in greater detail in one of the other articles on our website, but essentially DVD’s of today are read and written by a red laser - the new technology uses a violet-blue laser that can be focused more tightly, thus more information can be packed onto a single DVD. Blu Ray technology is backed by several hundred movie studios, consumer electronics manufacturers, music studios, etc., so it enjoys widespread industry support.
The other side of this argument is HD-DVD technology - backed by Microsoft and Intel - which are some pretty formidable opponents. The differences stem in large part due to what technology will be available when - the HD-DVD people say the storage capacity of the Blu Ray discs aren’t anywhere close to a release date - the Blu Ray people say that’s hogwash.
Whatever the outcome of this latest “format war” - we as consumers will be caught right in the middle, as we usually are - which I guess is what we deserve for being “DVD crazy.”
For a more detailed version of this article in html & pdf format go to: http://www.mx123.com/cms/2006/10/03/are-you-dvd-crazy/ we are always adding new content to the site so come check us out!
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