I’ve lived through three forms of home video. VHS – DVD – and now Blu-Ray. Sure, there were other attempts made…Beta and Laser-disc being among them…but the ones that lasted (a while, anyway) were those three. The others, I don’t count as having done anything at all, since they folded so amazingly quickly and embarrassingly.
I’m thinking of buying a Blu-Ray player, since that’s the way the world is going (for some stupid reason). But thinking about it, I can probably wait a while, until DVD is officially dead. Thinking back over VHS and DVD, I’m just not too sure it’s worth the money. Let’s do a quick comparison of the three formats and hopefully it’ll show you why I’m reluctant to make the plunge into Blu-Ray until I don’t have a choice anymore.
You couldn’t skip around easily. Sure, you could fast-forward and/or rewind, but you couldn’t quickly skip over large sections of stuff like you can with DVD/Blu-Ray. If you wanted to watch something, you had to watch from front to back or spend loads of time forwarding through things. They rarely had any “extra features” and if they did, they were at the end of the tape, after the closing credits. Easter Eggs were pretty much non existent. Commentaries were unheard of…then DVD came along…
This format brought about the stuff I mentioned above. It also ushered in the era of 5.1 sound. Along with that came digital imagery, which was crisper than VHS (though many, myself included, claimed not to notice). You could zoom in on images to get a closer look — this particularly came in handy to the porno-files out there. Plus, y’know…fun menus and stuff. Once they became recordable, we were all thinking things couldn’t get any better in home entertainment…then came…
Even crisper (apparently). There is now 7.1 sound. They’re putting even MORE features on Blu-Ray discs (though, personally, I think they COULD put that stuff on DVD too, but they put it on Blu-Ray to sell more). The Blu-Ray players are even backward compatible, so you can play your old DVDs on them! (And apparently, the DVDs will be brought up in quality a little bit, to boot, if you play them on your Blu-Ray player.)
Even though I’m bound to have a Blu-Ray player sitting around sooner or later, I must say…having lived through the three brands… I don’t notice a very tangible change in my level of enjoyment. I’m a commentary freak, and I enjoy the chapter indexing…but otherwise. The picture looks about the same and the sound-dimensions don’t mean anything to me at all. Sorry uber-geeks…but I’m still watching stuff I taped off TV in the 90s, before we all had to spend thousands of dollars to watch recordings of shows from the 70s…and I enjoy the VHS tapes just as much as my DVDs. Folks can go on and on about things being “better” with the current format…but sorry. If you just want to watch something…it’s the same.
So Blu-Ray will have to wait for me a little while longer.
The George W. Bush Picture of the Day (15 days remaining in term):
This one needs some explanation. A number of years ago, David Letterman had King George the Second on the Late Show. In-between segments, one of Dave’s staff-members came up to the desk to have a word with him. Bush, needing to clean his glasses, saw an opportunity and took it. Unfortunately, it was captured on tape. This picture’s a little blurry, unfortunately, but it’s all I could find. This is Bush rubbing his glasses on the shawl of a Late Show staffer without her knowledge. I’m pretty sure you can find it on YouTube, if you doubt me.