Everything old is new again

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Re: Everything old is new again

Postby Stalvern » December 21st, 2016, 4:52 am

CharlieR wrote:They are also way more durable, if a DVD gets a scratch, that is pretty much the end, but a VHS tape can last for years.

This is completely wrong. Scratches have to be pretty severe to ruin a DVD, and they can be fixed with heat or a sealer. Videotape actually degrades very slightly with each play (and it degrades a lot if something goes wrong!). A videotape will last for a finite number of years; an optical disk has theoretically limitless longevity if you treat it gently.

Durability aside, VHS is a pretty terrible medium regardless. Blurry as heck, and it gets worse when the colors start bleeding sideways (as they inevitably do). I remember when my family got a DVD player - the difference in picture and sound quality was like night and day, even through our old CRT television.

But the worst thing about VHS isn't the format itself. It's that almost all VHS releases were cropped to 4:3 to maximize what little picture quality they had (a letterboxed picture has less than half of the already pitiful resolution). Try to watch a Kubrick movie on VHS without being distracted by the obvious missing sections of each shot (2001 is so badly affected, many of the shots actually slide across the screen so you can see both sides, and it looks hideous). Even when I was a kid watching the original Star Wars on VHS, I noticed that I could only see half of that pit in the Death Star and that characters didn't quite fit into shots where they were facing each other. Watching the DVD version years later was a revelation; the movie felt so open and natural after spending so long crammed into a space that it didn't actually fit.

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