RIP VHS

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
It had to happen eventually.

http://tech.msn.com/news/articlepcw.aspx?cp-documentid=16348943&GT1=40000

I think he had a good run, though. I'll start off the eulogies by saying that I wouldn't be who I am today without VHS.

Never mind that I started to see through the fog of his lies after watching the Star Wars trilogy on laserdisc. Oh no - that couldn't stop you. We all laughed it off - "they're way too big. No one will go that route - it's not worth the marginal difference in picture."

Yes sir - a good run indeed. Old man VHS lasted longer on life support once the plug was pulled than I thought.

And if it's any consolation for the Cartridge family, I never had to wipe my tape to remove finger prints. ;)
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I still use VHS to record the odd TV show when I'm away. Not that I watch much TV. Yes, I know there are a million and one DVD/HDD recorders out there now.
 

Vinman

Vice Admiral
That's funny, I'd pretty much entirely forgotten about VHS until Christmas eve, when the family watched Babe on VHS on the new HDTV. I had no idea that VHS tapes could store video in widescreen, and I guess I learned this just as VHS finally died off for good. Goodbye, VHS, you kicked butt. Likewise BetaMax, nobody really understood you except McGruff and me.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I think this is just a reporter looking for a story and not a reasonable mark of anything. The "last major distributor" it refers to is a company that buys up excess stock and resells it to places like dollar stores, not a manufacturer or a content-producer. As for a time of death -- the last 'Hollywood' VHS release was in 2005... but the media itself is still widely used in (and manufactured for) other areas.

That's funny, I'd pretty much entirely forgotten about VHS until Christmas eve, when the family watched Babe on VHS on the new HDTV. I had no idea that VHS tapes could store video in widescreen, and I guess I learned this just as VHS finally died off for good. Goodbye, VHS, you kicked butt. Likewise BetaMax, nobody really understood you except McGruff and me.

There were widescreen VHS releases -- I remember Suncoast used to have a rack of them, mostly enthusiast oriented stuff. I had a widescreen copy of Dune, IIRC. The biggest difference was probably just that there wasn't an internet full of screaming yahoos making absolutely sure that everyone knows by age nine which is the *right* way of watching movies. Those people existed, of course, but they spent all their time at their own special laserdisc stores.

Widescreen tapes weren't physically different, though - they worked the same way as non-anamorphic DVDs, with the 'black bars' as part of the picture. If your new TV is filling the whole screen with a picture then it's probably using some fancy processing technique (or you're watching a regular copy of Babe with the auto-zoom on, which is probably more likely than there having been a widescreen release of a kids movie.)

I actually added a VCR back into my setup just after Christmas too. I replaced my early BluRay player with a PS3 and ended up having a big fat open space under my TV... so I stuck one of the VHS/DVD recorder combos we used at Mythic in there. I haven't found an excuse to actually pull out any VHSes yet, but I might someday.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I still have a pretty extensive VHS library, which forces me to find ways to hook up my old VCR to my TV. I used to have an old CRT TV, so it wasn't a problem, but I just (as in last week) got my first modern LCD TV (and my first BueRay player, in the form of a PS3), so figuring out how to get the VCR to talk to it, along with the PS3/Satellite box/home theater system/etc. will be somewhat interesting...

And for the record, a relative of mine works in the video editing business. He is of the opinion that not only is DVD on its way out, but that Blue-Ray will be short lived as well, and that very soon we'll completely eliminate readers with any sort of mechanical actuation and go completely solid state (i.e. FLASH drives or similar technology). Already, thumb drives are getting close to the storage capacity and data transfer rates necessary for Blue-Ray quality video. I wonder if in five years you'll walk into Blockbuster and rent movies on thumb drives or little FLASH cards... And you won't need a fancy player like a PS3 but instead will just insert the drive/card into a little plug on the front of the TV...
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
a relative of mine works in the video editing business. He is of the opinion that not only is DVD on its way out, but that Blue-Ray will be short lived as well, and that very soon we'll completely eliminate readers with any sort of mechanical actuation and go completely solid state (i.e. FLASH drives or similar technology). Already, thumb drives are getting close to the storage capacity and data transfer rates necessary for Blue-Ray quality video. I wonder if in five years you'll walk into Blockbuster and rent movies on thumb drives or little FLASH cards... And you won't need a fancy player like a PS3 but instead will just insert the drive/card into a little plug on the front of the TV...

I probably don't see that happening. The major video rental stores, cable providers and stuff like xbox/netflix, amazon.com and more are running very robust streaming video rental services. All the major broadband providers are rolling out 20-50 megabit connections this year, if they haven't done so already. In a year or two, before Bluray and DVD go away, there will be a huge system of streaming high-definition rentals in place.

I'm sure physical rental, just like physical sales, will still exist in some form for quite a while, but the production of optical discs will cost pennies compared to dollars for flash drives. DVDs/Blurays are already practically disposably cheap to make. We certainly will have the ability to put high def movies on flash drives, but I'm not sure what would motivate us to do this will all the other technologies and economics that will exist alongside it.
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
I actually added a VCR back into my setup just after Christmas too. I replaced my early BluRay player with a PS3 and ended up having a big fat open space under my TV... so I stuck one of the VHS/DVD recorder combos we used at Mythic in there. I haven't found an excuse to actually pull out any VHSes yet, but I might someday.

I still have a VCR as well, even with the new setup. I just have it routed into the amp, limiting the amount of connections I need to make to the LCD TV. It works great, and the picture quality, especially at a reasonable difference, really isn't that terrible.

It's mainly for a collection of documentaries I have that you can't find on DVD, but every once in a while I need it for something else random. I really don't see any need to eliminate this capability from my awesomest multimedia setup. :cool:
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I don't really think DVD is on its way out. BluRay isn't a replacement -- it's a new high end for "us" (enthusiasts, hobbyists - geeks). The average American, many of whom were still happy with the picture quality of VHS, doesn't care about the difference between 480p and 1080p.

Laserdisc, CED, Betamax, DVHS, HD-DVD, etc. all prove that simply being the technically *best* format isn't enough to inspire massive change. DVD was such a revolution because it was such an enormous leap that it sold itself. So much changed beyond the resolution -- the form factor, the affordability, the ubiquity, the quick cross-platform support... and things like the *way* it was sold and the culture behind it. All that came together in a neat and maybe once-in-a-generational way to convince people to upgrade something that they weren't necessarily unhappy about in the first place.

I like BluRay, I've spent lots of money on it, I'm on my second player now and I have shelves of BluRay movies usually purchased to replace an existing DVD... but I couldn't walk into someone's home and tell them they need to do the same thing instead of keeping what they have or at best buying a much cheaper upconverting DVD player. It's inches instead of miles -- it just doesn't matter (beyond the marketing, which did start off very strong selling it as a 'cool' toy - I think that in and of itself has died a natural death...).

(And in fact, there are some heavy negatives about BluRay right now. My parents have a player and my mom can't stand the load times or the fact that she pays an extra ten dollars for each movie.)

As for streaming... I remember people promising exactly the asme thing when DVD was on the rise. It's a great idea and it sounds awfully futuristic and I bet we've all had some cool experiences playing around with it... but there are some negatives.

One big point is that streaming has actually been around for quite some time -- PPV and On Demand and the like over coax. You didn't use these services. It isn't a technical issue that keeps that in the background - it's the fact that you pay for the viewing or digital ownership and end up with nothing at the end of the day. Similarly, we've had video rental over Xbox Live, Tivo/Amazon, AppleTV, etc. for some years now. It's 'there' but it hasn't caught on as a replacement for DVD.

The fact of the matter is that Hulu and Netflix Streaming and the like are so hip at the moment because they're perceived as being *free*. If somebody can give me access to every movie and TV show ever at some sustainable rate for $20 a month, then I'll be as happy as a clam in sauce... but it isn't going to happen. The need to make a profit will ultimately prevent Future Streaming Service X from being the one sort that has attracted us so far.

(In-person rentals are probably doomed -- but more from the long-lasting effects of Blockbuster's failure to control the DVD market years ago than from some immediate supertech that's blowing our minds.)

It's mainly for a collection of documentaries I have that you can't find on DVD, but every once in a while I need it for something else random. I really don't see any need to eliminate this capability from my awesomest multimedia setup.

The only worry is tape decay. My Wing Commander Academy dubs are pretty brittle after 13 years. If you have anything spectacularly rare you might want to move it over to something digital where it can at least be duplicated/backed up easily.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I tend to agree, the predictions about BluRay taking over seem pretty far-fetched. Heck, here in Poland, we still have bargain bins with VCD movies in supermarkets - most of the movie market is DVDs, but I'm willing to bet that those VCDs still make more money than BluRay movies (which get very little shelf space at the moment). And, while BluRay movies certainly do look very pretty, I don't think they'll be making much headway in the current economic situation - they only look pretty if you have a HD TV to watch them on, and that's not something people will be spending money on. I get the feeling that when BluRay is replaced by its successor (when the PS4 comes along, or the PS5?), the DVD will still remain the most commonly used medium.

As for streaming, the problem with streaming is the same as with buying stuff online. Yes, it's great, and hugely convenient and such... but it serves different needs than ordinary stores and rentals do. The former serves only to get you a particular item, while the latter is a form of entertainment in itself. Browsing through a store is really just plain fun - I can spend hours in a book or DVD store with no intention of actually buying anything (and frequently, I come out with stuff I had no intention of buying, stuff I didn't even know existed) - but I can't for the life of me imagine spending hours browsing movies online, because there's absolutely no fun in it at all. Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to buy things online, but only when I actually know what I'm getting. But if I simply want to get "a movie", I'll go to a store.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Oh, neat, I didn't know you had a PS3, welcome to the club!

Yup, I have a PS3 now - feel free to recommend games. The only thing that has caught my interest so far has been Bioshock, so I can play the PS3-unique DLC.

Makes a great BluRay player, though!
 

Vinman

Vice Admiral
Yup, I have a PS3 now - feel free to recommend games. The only thing that has caught my interest so far has been Bioshock, so I can play the PS3-unique DLC.

Makes a great BluRay player, though!

Everyone who has a PS3 needs Uncharted, it's one of the best games I've played in a long time. It's better at being Tomb Raider than Tomb Raider and better than Indiana Jones at being Indiana Jones.

I also really enjoyed Valkyria Chronicles, an amazingly good strategy rpg, but people tend to be put off by the graphic style, so I don't know if you'd be interested.

Little Big Planet is a really good platformer and I enjoyed what little I've played of it so far.

Civilization: Revolution is also a great time-waster, as are all of the civ games.
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
Yup, I have a PS3 now - feel free to recommend games. The only thing that has caught my interest so far has been Bioshock, so I can play the PS3-unique DLC.

Makes a great BluRay player, though!

I'm probably wrong, but I thought I caught wind of a new Wolfenstein that looks set to be aimed at the PS3. When I get my hands on a PS3, that and Gran Turismo 5 are my top two choices. (I GUESS I'll settle for the prologue... geez.)

That's an interesting observation on tape decay. I've been concerned about this, but for another reason. My father is an audio engineer and has several really cool projects on tape-reels. I want to convert them to a modern format like CD or MP3, but obviously none of the studios are operating the old and massive equipment used to play and duplicate those reels!

On another note, it always impressed me watching a professional string one of those reels up, especially in a room where 20 or 30 copies were being made simultaneously...
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I don't really think DVD is on its way out. BluRay isn't a replacement -- it's a new high end for "us" (enthusiasts, hobbyists - geeks). The average American, many of whom were still happy with the picture quality of VHS, doesn't care about the difference between 480p and 1080p.

Laserdisc, CED, Betamax, DVHS, HD-DVD, etc. all prove that simply being the technically *best* format isn't enough to inspire massive change. DVD was such a revolution because it was such an enormous leap that it sold itself. So much changed beyond the resolution -- the form factor, the affordability, the ubiquity, the quick cross-platform support... and things like the *way* it was sold and the culture behind it. All that came together in a neat and maybe once-in-a-generational way to convince people to upgrade something that they weren't necessarily unhappy about in the first place.

I disagree. You say it's a high end for "us", but I think it goes beyond that. BlueRay has already pervaded in a way that Laserdisk or Betamax never did. I would say it goes beyond hobbyists and geeks--it's a high end for almost everyone middle class under the age of 40. When we got our PS3, we were in BestBuy trying to pick out a movie or two to buy to test it out, and my wife pointed out the disproportionately large number of recent action movies and 1980's movies of every genre. I commented that it was odd that 80's movies in particular were being transitioned to BlueRay, and she pointed out that it was probably demographic...People in their 40's or later are generally slower to embrace new technologies, and people under the age of about 25 or so are not in established careers and don't have cash to burn on new electronics, so the demographic most likely to be buying BlueRay movies are the 25-40 year olds--exactly the people who get nostalgic over 1980's movies.

Thing is, we're going to grow older and BlueRay will be entrenched with us by then, and only picking up new disciples as they get older and get cash. I've only had the PS3 and an HD TV for two weeks now, and I'm already thinking I forgot to put in my contacts when I watch ordinary TV--it just looks blurry to me now.

The fact that BlueRay is now carried by a major gaming platform that controls a significant market share (and hence will likely be included by competitors in their next platform releases to keep up) also gives it a boost that Betamax and Laserdisk never had.

Plus, it's getting harder and harder to buy a low-definition TV, so your contention that few people have the HD TV to enjoy BlueRay is probably going to change pretty soon.
 

Youngblood

Rear Admiral
I must say I bought myself a PS3 just for Blu-Ray I already have an xbox elite but when ever i look at game to buy on the PS3 Ive noticed most of them dont run at 1080p only 720p where as the same game on the xbox runs at 1080p i know its not a whole lot of difference but i like to get the most i can for my cash:D
 

Vinman

Vice Admiral
I must say I bought myself a PS3 just for Blu-Ray I already have an xbox elite but when ever i look at game to buy on the PS3 Ive noticed most of them dont run at 1080p only 720p where as the same game on the xbox runs at 1080p i know its not a whole lot of difference but i like to get the most i can for my cash:D

From all I've heard, very few games for either system actually render at 1080p. For example, Fallout 3. The PS3 got a lot of flack for its version of Fallout 3 being stuck in 720p resolution while the 360 version can go up to 1080p. The thing is that both systems render in 720p, but the 360 upsamples the image to fit 1080p, like if you put a picture in photoshop and blew it up 50%. It's pure marketing to say that the 360 has more 1080p games.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Plus, it's getting harder and harder to buy a low-definition TV, so your contention that few people have the HD TV to enjoy BlueRay is probably going to change pretty soon.

A small CRT television is now actually more expensive than a comparable TFT or Plasma. But modern large CRT still last over 15 years with ease. And I can't fire my NES zapper at a TFT.
 

Captain Obvious

Rear Admiral
Does this mean nobody will be selling blank VHS tapes anymore? Because I still use them to record things (Screw TiVo). I'm going to have to go out and buy up a stockpile of them.
 
Top