VHS - RIP

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Postby David Alexander » 12/28/08 06:32 PM

VHS RIP

Having been on its deathbed for some years the end came on a Friday in October in Palm Harbor, Florida when the last truckload of VHS tapes rolled out of Ryan Kuglers warehouse. Kugler, president and co-owner of Distribution Video Audio Inc, the last major supplier of VHS tapes in the country remarked to the Tribune News Service, I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and Im done. Anything left in [the] warehouse well just give away or throw away.

A sad end for the proud, workmanlike format that redefined how Americans watched movies and magicians learned magic.

JVC, the company that launched the VHS format in 1977 announced just before Halloween that it would no longer manufacture stand-alone videocassette recorders.

VHS was doomed once the DVD was introduced to the market in the late 1990s, but the format held on. The inevitable was made clear in 2005 when DVD sales hit $22 billion and VHS only pulled in $1.5 billion.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/28/08 07:34 PM

IMHO It sounds-like the mortician describing death of another mortician. I'm sure the Tribune will be a thing of the past soon.

DVD's will be replaced even more quickly than VHS by new technology.
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Postby David Alexander » 12/28/08 07:52 PM

Kevin, you're right and Kugler acknowledges that.

The final quote in the article was by him and said with a sly smile, "The days of the DVD are numbered, and that is good news for me."
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Postby Gord » 12/29/08 12:10 AM

I politely dis-agree that the days of DVD are numbered.
I spent a lot of years and a lot of money replacing most of my VHS tapes with DVDs, and I am not at all interested in doing it again with Blue Ray, Digital Download or whatever comes next.
And I know I'm not alone. Few of my friends have Blue Ray machines. Fewer still download. Heck, my best friend still buys VHS.
The DVD is going to be with us for a long time, In my humble opinion.

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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/29/08 12:31 AM

David, Thanks. Some others may be left behind cursing the darkness, but progress will drag everyone forward.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 12/29/08 09:13 PM

My stand-alone VCR recently died on me. Now you have to purchase a combo DVD-VCR set if you still want to see your videos. They are not cheap. The days of the inexpensive VCR are also over. I'm hanging on to my tube television. The picture looks fine to me...
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Postby hugmagic » 12/29/08 10:25 PM

I guess I will eventually have to replace the records in the shop also.

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Postby Doug Thornton » 12/29/08 10:31 PM

Leonard - I just purchased a DVD VHS combo (Toshiba 610) from Amazon for $160 (including free shipping). It got great reviews from customers. I have only started to learn how to use it - DVD recording is not as simple as VHS, but you can still play (and record) your tapes so it might be a choice to look at.
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Postby Marc Rehula » 12/30/08 02:22 PM

I think there will be a big difference with DVD's demise: I expect that DVD's will continue to be playable on computers for the foreseeable future. Requiring a separate machine is what led to VHS's demise. If something does 'catch on' and take over the DVD market, I don't expect to mourn my DVD collection the way I did my VHS collection.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/30/08 03:01 PM

Unlike VHS tapes, DVDs are comparatively stable and should last much longer. While some people are buying Blu-Ray machines and discs, the number is not what the industry wants. The best players are too expensive (and the features of the discs frequently outstrip the players' ability to play them and frequent firmware updates are required), and the discs are too expensive compared to standard DVDs (and the Blu-Ray versions frequently do not come with all the special features the standard DVDs did).

My old TV died a month ago. Had to buy a new one--found a place offering a Mitsubishi Hi-Def DLP (the new form of rear projector) for a good price, and they were so desperate to sell that I don't have to pay a penny, and also don't have to pay any interest, for two years. That means if I pay it off anytime within the next 23 months, I pay only the price of the TV, no interest. It's a big sucker, too. The deal was too good to pass up.

My real point is that I purchased an all-region upconverting DVD player (made by OPPO), which pumps a standard DVD up to 1080i. It's really amazing--not true HD quality, but a lot better than my standard DVD player was before. I am quite satisfied with that and am not going to buy a Blu-Ray player for several years. Many people feel the same way (millions of us, actually).

Yesterday at Borders I bought the two-disc special edition of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, normally $34, for only $12.99. I don't need no stinkin' Blu-Ray! :)
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Postby mai-ling » 12/30/08 05:31 PM

you can now buy blank Bdr's, personally, i wouldn't touch
them or start converting stuff from DVD to Bluray since most
people don't even own a Bluray.

i also understand that Bluray's can ruin a LCD TV over time.
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Postby Jim Riser » 12/30/08 05:52 PM

I tend to be practical about such things. When we built our house around 40 years ago, I wired the whole place for stereo. It's too bad cable and internet weren't around so I could have laid in those cables too. Things change over the years.

Fortunately we never bought too many VHS shows - just blank tapes for recording TV shows when desired.

A year ago we bought a 46" LCD HD TV. It was side by side with a Blue-Ray set. The difference could be seen but was not worth the extra cost of the set plus jacked up prices for the DVDs. We do have a combo VHS and DVD recorder with a HD tuner. This resolution is all we will ever need. As we age, the vision goes and the Blue-Ray difference can not be appreciated. There are many who will never buy into Blue-Ray as there is no need. Not all of us need to keep up with the latest and greatest. Hell, we're still using our roof top antenna to receive HD digital TV. Works fine - who needs cable? In another ten years we'll be doing well to just see the screen!

I think the entertainment industry may have a hard sell with their latest generation of unneeded improvements at premium prices.

I bid farewell to the low resolution VHS tapes and embrace the current HD DVD systems. They are all I need at this time and into the foreseeable future.
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Postby erdnasephile » 12/30/08 10:19 PM

mai-ling wrote:i also understand that Bluray's can ruin a LCD TV over time.


I have been building a home theater and have put in several months of research on these issues. I must admit I have not heard this warning before. May I repectfully ask where this information is from please?

Many thanks!

P.S.: While it is true that the CE industry botched the release of high definition prerecorded media (e.g., format wars, confusing specifications, missing features, high prices, etc.), in any objective comparison, Blu-Ray beats DVD (even upgraded DVD) in terms of picture quality, and just as importantly, sound. (I've personally done A/B comparisons and I would have to concur with the professional reviewers)

Nevertheless, I also agree with ya'll: for many folks, DVD is fine and all they'll ever need, especially if they do not have a large display, sit back more than twice the width of the screen, or do not have a 7.1 surround system.

However, given that prices of Blu-ray players are falling fast (many are sub-$200), and with Blu-Ray discs of some popular films at $15 street, the critical mass of users will likely advance quickly over the next several years. Plus, if others follow Disney's lead and pack features not possible on DVD into their Blu-Rays, it really will be worth having for movie fanatics.

For me, it's like Johnson Cups compared with Sherwood Cups--both will get the job done well--it's just a matter of horses for courses.

Now, back to magic! :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/30/08 10:36 PM

Blu-Ray Live is just a load of crap right now. Who wants to blabber about a disc you're watching at that moment with others? It's just more jabber-jabber endless noise stupidity.

The Blu-Ray players that are low-priced are also early versions (like 1.1), not the latest (2.0), and cannot even access the high-end features (like Blu-Ray live) that disc makers are touting.
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Postby erdnasephile » 12/30/08 11:36 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Blu-Ray Live is just a load of crap right now.


No argument there, Richard.

I should have written: "Plus, if others follow Disney's lead and pack exclusive features into their Blu-Rays..."

I actually wasn't thinking of Blu-Ray live, but rather some of the loads of extras in the new 50th Anniversary Sleeping Beauty Blu-Ray release (plus it also includes the upgraded DVD version for only $5 more than the DVD set at Amazon)

The Band of Brothers Blu-Ray set also comes to mind, with an exclusive picture-in-picture commentary by the actual 101st vets, plus some other interactive extras, DTS Master Audio, 1080p, etc. --for only about 10 bucks more than the DVD set (at Sam's.)

Richard Kaufman wrote:The Blu-Ray players that are low-priced are also early versions (like 1.1), not the latest (2.0), and cannot even access the high-end features (like Blu-Ray live) that disc makers are touting.


Point taken. As I alluded to, the manufacturers haven't come close to the successful rollout they had with DVD, and stuff like this doesn't help. However, there are also over 14 million folks out there with 2.0 compatible Blu-Ray players (PS3) right now, so I do think Blu-Ray will eventually succeed despite all of the disadvantages you and others have noted.

P.S.: FWIW, I've no personal burning desire to defend Blu-Ray, nor do I wish to see DVD vanish (I have a significant investment DVD's like most other people). It probably isn't "worth it" for many people to upgrade now. However, I will cop to being a home theater enthusiast, and I'm glad we are finally making the transition to Hi-Def sources and displays.
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Postby Gord » 12/31/08 01:11 AM

Last year I went to a party at the home of my one friend that does have all the latest and greatest gizmo's.
On his fancy TV was the high def version of Scarface. I could see that some would say it was vastly improved, but to me it was too clear, clearer than real life. And sadly, one of the great movies ended up looking like bad 70's porn without the sex.

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Postby Tim Ellis » 12/31/08 03:45 AM

LCD, Blu Ray, DLP... it's all old skool...

3D TV by Phillips, in store by 2010! ;)

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Postby Leonard Hevia » 12/31/08 02:41 PM

Thanks Doug for the information on that DVD-VCR combo. I still don't think the price is cheap. I agree with Richard about Bu-Ray, and see no reason to switch to that format. Blu-Ray isn't going to improve the picture quality of analog films.
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Postby Feras Kharboush » 01/02/09 12:50 AM

I still have couple of small-sized VHS ( with a player that plays them!), they contain footage of my 1st birthday! Time to convert them to DVDs ..

I'm 22, I recall playing with VHS alot as a kid. We had a camcorder that records directly into VHS, after comparing it to the size of nowadays digital cams, we call it "The Bazooka"!
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Postby Bizzaro » 01/02/09 02:27 AM

Does this mean I should trade in my Betamax machine finally?
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Postby Magic Newswire » 01/02/09 11:17 AM

The HDTV format that was competing with BluRay died in Jan of last year. Everyone expected a stampede to buy BluRay players and Discs but it was more of a trickle. DVD's are fairly stable, but there is also talk of may DVD disc's, especially those that were among the first released dying or experiencing extensive data loss. Until there is a significant revolution in display technology, and by that I mean 3D or something far beyond the 2D experience currently on the market, I'll be going digital.

Hard drives are dirt cheap. I've converted everything that I value to 1's and 0's and have it backed up in multiple places. I rarely buy a hard copy of anything and use my AppleTV to manage it all on the TV. Windows users can do the same using Media Center. Bought a 500 GB pocket drive this weekend for under $100 and a desktop terabyte drive sitting next to it on the shelf was $129.

I for one am not going to fall into the trap of making a major investment in new playback gear and media anytime in the forseeable future.

As far as it relates to magic, those offering Digital Downloads of their material have it right in my mind.

For those discussing the investment to move to a new format, take a minute to determine what it is really important for you to OWN or have immediately at hand. Convert it with one of the many tools on the market and stick it on a hard drive. You can always burn it to disc when you find you really need one for something. I was amazed at the money that I had wasted on movies and such that I never watched more than a couple of times. I'd have saved money renting them every time I decided to watch it and with digital downloads and streaming technology, I'd have saved on the gas that I used driving to the store.

For those wanting a reliable and easy to use backup solution, have a look at a Drobo ( http://www.drobo.com/ ) . Fantastic product!!

DVD's will certainly continue to work and have a market for some time, but their lifespan is finite. Think digital and you'll save yourself a lot of hassle down the road.

When I want to take a movie with me somewhere, I drop it on my iPhone and plug it into the monitor when I want to watch it. At home, the AppleTV displays a HiDef version as good as the DVD player and I have far less gear cluttering the shelf.

Just my 2 cents. ;-)
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Postby mrgoat » 01/02/09 11:32 AM

Magic Newswire wrote:At home, the AppleTV displays a HiDef version as good as the DVD player and I have far less gear cluttering the shelf.


Well, kinda...

I am an appletv fan and user too. However, unless you ripped your media from a blu-ray disc, it's not going to be High Definition. If you are talking about the iTunes 'HD downloads, then a) they are only 720P and b) the bit rate they use is very low. It isn't *real* HD. Also the audio is compressed massively.

If that's good enough for you, then groovy. I just watched Wall-E on Blu-ray, and I wouldn't downscale apple tv rip of it :D

I think for certain types of film, it's worth getting the blu-ray version. Anyone who has seen the Planet Earth series on Blu-Ray will know what I mean!
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Postby Magic Newswire » 01/02/09 01:39 PM

Totally true about the quality. Planet Earth might be one of the exceptions and Wall-e maybe (depends on personal taste). I just don't see the need to own anything on Blue Ray. Renting it every time I wanna watch it is still far cheaper.. with very rare exceptions.
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