30 May 2005

watch stuff at home

One of the things I've learned over the past couple of years is the value of a good VHS. Yeah. Why, you ask?

VHS vs. DVD (and, while I'm at it, I guess this applies to cassette vs. CD too)

Ok, well obviously in terms of straight-up numerical quality, your average VHS can't say peep to a DVD while it's doin business, but, despite its technical inferiority, the tape has a couple of qualities that more than trump any factory-pressed DVD, especially more recent DVDs.

First up, DURABILITY. Man, I don't care what you tell me--CDs and DVDs get crazy scratched up. And then they skip. And that sucks. That just doesn't happen with VHSs, granted you had the occasional occurrence of your VCR eating something, but, at least from my personal experience over the years, it's way easier to get a DVD to break (or at least not play properly) than a VHS counterpart. I'm the kind of person who tries to take care of things, especially movies, but I'm also sort of a klutz, and I think DVDs are more vulnerable (take more damage) from being dropped occasionally than VHSs, while a VHS is more prone to DYING (unlike the easy maiming of a DVD.

Second, TANGIBILITY. Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but I really think something is added to the home theater experience by having a big form of media you can hold on to, something you can GRAB (as opposed to gingerly cradling a DVD). Just a personal opinion I guess.

Third, MENUs. And this is where this article started. I have developed a habit over the past couple of years which, as I understand it, is not uncommon: I like to put on a movie and go to sleep. But the trouble is that some movies that I really love have AWFUL menus. So loud. So busy. So repetitive. Think Ghostbusters. Think Family Guy DVDs. Bad dreams galore, or just interrupted sleep. I remember when an old roommate of mine went to sleep and left on the Family Guy DVD that has the Pope-mobile episode. She sleeps a lot deeper than I do and never got up to turn it off, but I wasn't about to go into her room at night, for whatever reasons. Anyways, I almost strangled her the next day. VHSs, on the other hand, just stop and are quiet.

Fourth, there's the question of AVAILABILITY/PRICE. I, for one, buy most of my DVDs out of bargain bins. I love bargain bins. But even in the bins you'll seldom find anything you actually WANT for less than, say, $7 or so +tax. It's not at all difficult to find VHSs of really great movies for $3 and down. Buying brand new DVDs from major studios at full retail price, of course, is what we call robbery. $25 or 30 for a DVD? I don't think so. I don't care how many extra minutes of crappy footage I'll watch once (if ever) you put in there.

Fifth, NEXT GEN. I would really like to know what the premium will be for Blu-ray discs, especially at the beginning when both kinds of DVDs share the market. I sort of worry that this "technological advancement" that keeps happening is in part just a ploy to get us all to keep buying Star Wars. And the White Album, for that matter.

It seems no wonder to me that I know so many people who are illegally copying piles upon piles of DVDs all the time. Doing so takes care of all of these problems (except the tangibility thing), especially if the originals are Netflix. Durability is no problem, bc you can just make a new copy. You can eliminate the bad menus. Price is no matter, because it's stealing. And as far as future DVDs, well, the rental places will have to step up and make that work too, if they want to stay in business. Plus, there's the anti-RIAA and anti-MPAA sentiment and (I'm told) a psychological perk that comes from stickin it to the man. I guess the basic idea is that they've been ripping the consumer off for years (in and out of theaters), and this is just how they're getting karmically bitch-slapped by a six-armed goddess.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Price is no matter, because it's stealing."

Morality is clearly not an issue here...and thank you for the Bubble Boy quote Pushpop. For that, I will give you....FIVE HUNDRED DALLAH!

12:11 PM  

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