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An Ode to Blockbuster and Other [Video Rental Stores]

The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
Welcome to the future of home entertainment technology.
vcr.png

What is this mechanical marvel!?

This is a Video Cassette Recorder, or 'VCR'. This machine will allow you to record your favorite television shows, important news or even cartoons for your children to watch right from your own television onto extremely convenient, book-sized 'cassettes' that you can keep and watch later!

TV guide scheduling will become a bygone relic of a much crueler era in television viewing.

There are so many buttons! And is that a built-in clock? My God, how many thousands of dollars must this machine cost!?

Thanks to outsourcing it's manufacturing to several production firms overseas, JVC is able to offer it's VHS format recorders to you for as little as two-hundred dollars! When you really think about it, that's a mere hundred trips down the road to go buy a sundae from Mr. Walton's general store. And you don't get to keep those sundaes forever, unlike your own personal VCR.

These sort of Nintenga gizmos always spin my head 'round. Will JVC be offering thrifty servants for hire to properly operate the device?

You are in luck! While JVC is not yet offering full time VCR servants, many independent entrepreneurs have already established 'video rental stores', where you can go and not only learn about the machine, but loan out a variety of videos - including entire Hollywood films - for a mere dollar a dozen! One such up and coming video rental store goes by the name 'Blockbuster'; it comes with my personal recommendation.
blockbuster-store11.jpg

Hey, wait a minute; why would I purchase one of these 'Video Cassette Recorder' machines when I already have a BlueRay player on my Playstation 3? And why the Hell would I walk down to a video rental store when I can just buy videos while shopping at Wal Mart or, better yet, just watch shows on Netflix?

...Y'know what? You can get off my lawn, now.


So, Blockbuster's been dying for a while (and most of it's competitors have long since vanished). It filed for bankruptcy in 2010, was bought by Dish Network, and then this month it's UK subsidiaries were put into administrative status. I have no idea what that means, but it's apparently Very Bad, and could mean about 4,000 layoffs.

It's hardly surprising, but it's been a shock to me nevertheless: going down to the video store to rent games and movies was a staple of my childhood. A dollar for a dozen on Tuesdays at the local non-Blockbuster generic rental store I don't remember the name of! What a great deal that seemed at the time, and it wasn't that long ago (I guess 15-16 years~). I remember when, to their eventual chagrin, my parents bought Beta instead of VHS because the cassettes were more compact. I recall when DVD was first released, showcased with some higher definition (at the time) footage from Independence Day, and my parents poo-poo'd the medium and stubbornly clung to the VHS machine until it started eating about every second cassette put into it, and the little TV repair shop in town had closed-up shop so they couldn't get it fixed.

I also recall getting into big trouble one day when the video store called and charged my parents like $15.00 because we'd returned about 6 movies without rewinding them. :/

To my naive eyes, video rental stores seemed like a technological goldmine, and the local owner / manager would always wow my friends & I with some tech stories / knowledge that sounded impressive even if it meant absolutely nothing to us. They were my gateway to gaming as a hobby.

So, I'm throwing-on my rose-tinted glasses and taking a look back at the video rental business n this thread.

What the Hell is a video cassette anyway?

cassette.png

I imagine most people know them by appearance; they aren't that old. These things started the video rental store craze, which was arguably responsible to injecting a lot of interest & capital into the tech sector (...and, interestingly, the adult film industry).

The cassette itself is just a reel of magnetic tape. The VCR uses a combination of heads to record an analog image signal & separate analog audio signal from the TV; the analog nature of the process, which involves the heads in the VCR physically contacting the magnetic tape, is what causes older machines to start 'eating' cassettes as the mechanical parts start to wear.

How did Blockbuster get it's start?

David Cook opened the first Blockbuster in Dallas, Texas in '85. The rental store boom was in full swing by that time; Cook was able to grow his business more rapidly than most of his competitors by identifying what films the local demographic was most likely to rent and tailoring his stock accordingly. He also leaned heavily on what was, at the time, an exploding medium that was in high demand just about everywhere: porn. His Dallas store was not the first video rental space with a 'back room' full of pornography, but that space became a staple of the business model and one that was replicated by just about every large rental store chain to follow.

What was so great about these rental stores anyway?

Speaking realistically: nothing.

Speaking with my rose-tinted glasses firmly in place: the same thing that's great about a good book store. I saw so many damn movies that I'd have otherwise never seen because, hey, I need one more tape or Nintendo cartridge to make an even dozen, and this title sounds fun / scary / action-packed. Yes, most of those films or games were terrible, but that's besides the point! A decent rental store was a giant archive of the best & worst creative endeavors of the time.

Also, my local rental store had a real caramel popcorn machine. You put in a dollar, it popped fresh popcorn, put it in a cap, and then poured fresh caramel over it. Sure, half the kernels were missed and I'm sure it was stupid expensive when you think about what you pay vs what you get, but man, real caramel popcorn.


How / when did it all go wrong?

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when Blockbuster's fortunes reversed; most rental chains had closed their doors by 2008, with Movie Gallery and Blockbuster holding down the fort until 2010, when Movie Gallery was liquidated. The rental space had been being crowded-out ever since digital distribution became A Thing People Did, but Blockbuster itself seemed to be riding that wave (releasing it's own digital distribution platform, offering a DVD by mail service, eliminating late fees in favor of more progressive & cost effective customer experiences, etc) until at least 2009. Store closures began in mid 2010, and have continued to the present day; there are about 500 total stores left in the United States as of this post.

With Love and Courage
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Posts

  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I still remember when Blockbuster rolled into my little town and killed all the mom-and-pop video stores in the area. Now I can't find a single brick-and-mortar rental place to save my life.

    I understand why, but it's still a bit of a trauma. It makes me feel old to see such formerly common-place things disappearing for good.

    The very last thing I rented at a brick-and-mortar blockbuster was, I believe, Breaking Bad: Season 2 Disk 3.

    But fuck their 'new release' wall. If a movie has been out for a goddamn year, it is no longer a 'new' release, Blockbuster.

    RT800 on
    urahonky
  • mageormikemageormike Registered User regular
    The closing of brick and mortar stores (both Blockbuster and otherwise) came as one of the largest culture shocks I had when returning from several years working abroad. When I left in 2008 there were still many Hollywood Videos and Blockbuster stores in the area, but by the time I returned in the summer of 2010 only a couple of the Blockbusters remained and Hollywood Video had disappeared completely.

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    Q6PnspD.jpg

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    IV3hShi.jpg

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • saluksicsaluksic Registered User regular
    There is a place called Scarecrow Video in Seattle's U-District that is the most fantastic video rental store ever. They have tens of thousands of titles from any time and nation you care to think off. Some of the older videos require hundreds of dollars of credit card deposits because they are quite rare. Because they mean business, they rent all tv shows by the season. No going back for each disc!

    I used to love that joint when I lived up there. They got me into a lot of cool generas and older movies that I wouldn't have seen otherwise.

    mageormikeHacksawurahonky
  • Muse Among MenMuse Among Men Suburban Bunny Princess? Its time for a new shtick Registered User regular
    There are still a few video-rental places here, but yes it has been a while since I've been there. I had many fond memories of going down to the video rental store, I feel a twinge of sadness that they are dying out, and I've been complicit.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I've seen a few instances of Family Video built next to a Little Ceasars. That seems to be the way to make a video rental place function: Attach it to a location that be not brick and mortar. People go out to buy a shitty pizza, they see the video store, they rent. Problem solved.

    override367
  • MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    So who else besides me worked at one of these hell-pits and is surprised that they all shut down before ex-employees burned them down first?

    9UsHUfk.jpgSteam
    3DS FC: 4699-5714-8940 Playing Pokemon, add me! Ho, SATAN!
    override367Stollsmageormikeblahmcblah
  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I always figured working at a video store would be pretty easy. A lot better than working at, say, McDonalds or Wal-Mart anyway. Easy-to-move, homogeneous stock, lots of down-time to enjoy not being hassled by the stupid freaking customers on the not-weekends, and free rentals. Also one of the video stores I used to frequent always had a movie playing on their display TVs and I figured it was nice that the employees at least had somethin' to watch when things got boring.

    I never did work at one though, so maybe it still sucked.

    RT800 on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    So who else besides me worked at one of these hell-pits and is surprised that they all shut down before ex-employees burned them down first?

    My high school friends mostly had their first job at a video rental store. They had crazy stories, some of which I'm not sure I believe, about the crap (...sometimes apparently literal crap) that people put into the overnight video return slot. One of them sometimes spent whole shifts just calling people to notify them about late rentals, and dealing with all kinds of verbal abuse by people trying to bully their way out of dollar late fees.


    There were lots of great stories too, though - like the time someone printed-out a placeholder shelf label for 'Super Mario Bros 4', stuck it on the NES rental shelf and continually strung inquiring customers along about when it would next be available.

    With Love and Courage
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    So who else besides me worked at one of these hell-pits and is surprised that they all shut down before ex-employees burned them down first?

    Worked at Hollywood Video, Blockbuster and fucking Movie Gallery.


    Hollywood video was as a teenager, and it was amazing. Free movies! Free videogames! Laid-back atmosphere! And honestly, I had a buddy who worked at Blockbuster and man was Hollywood a better store to work for. Like, our goal was to make customers fucking happy. What's that, seven bucks in late fees for Titanic? Man, we had dozens of copies of that on the shelf, let me take those off. No biggie, just try to get it back on time next time. Obviously I realize now this was probably a store manager thing, but ours was a big believer in it. It's what made us "different" than Blockbuster. That, and the (at the time) godawful uniforms. Really? A fucking bow tie and tux shirt?

    Speaking of Blockbuster, at Hollywood as a freaking CSR (register biscuit) I could take off up to ten bucks in late fees without even asking a manager. At Blockbuster, as an assistant store manager, if i took off more than like twenty bucks in a night I'd better be prepared to explain it to my district manager. It was SRS BSNS. Late fees were revenues, period. Didn't matter if we had eight copies on the shelf, and that movie wouldn't have gone out anyway, that was money left on the table far as the company was concerned. Shake that fucker down for $3.50.

    And then there was Movie Gallery. Worked there briefly, while a local chain got transitioned after a buyout. From what I saw of that operation, it was dicked up from top to bottom. I don't have much more to say than that. It was like the ugly drug-addicted stepcousin of the video stores.

    mcdermott on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    RT800 wrote: »
    I always figured working at a video store would be pretty easy. A lot better than working at, say, McDonalds or Wal-Mart anyway. Easy-to-move, homogeneous stock, lots of down-time to not enjoy not being hassled by the stupid freaking customers on the not-weekends, and free rentals. Also one of the video stores I used to frequent always had a movie playing on their display TVs and I figured it was nice that the employees at least had somethin' to watch when things got boring.

    I never did work at one though, so maybe it still sucked.

    Aside from the hours (open til midnight, and generally open on every fucking holiday) the video stores I worked at were the best retail/service jobs I had.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    And if it wasn't obvious up there, I miss real video stores. Kinda. Like, I get it. Netflix. Redbox. Amazon VOD. We are living in the future. But...meh.

    ...Netflix? Man, internet isn't always reliable. And neither is Netflix, as we learned this last Christmas. When Netflix goes down, or your internet is down, then what?
    ...Redbox, you say? Yeah, sure, they have the movie you want...in a box that's like two counties over. Oh, and you want to return it? Sorry, this kiosk is full. Oh, and we only have like a handful of new releases.
    ...Amazon? Hope you like paying $6 for a ten year old movie in HD, also better hope it's even available for rental (or you get to buy it). Oh, and your internet sucks, and will throttle down the second you start streaming...enjoy!

    Or you can just drive two blocks to your actual video store, talk to an employee about movies you like and movies they like, find something cool, and pay $3 to have it on a DVD that will play right in your player, with no weird frame rate issues, buffering, or dropouts.

    Except when it's scratched, and skips.
    Or when they don't have it in stock. No, none on the return box either.
    And when you bring it back late you owe $27 in late fees for a DVD that costs $7.99 at Wal-Mart.

    Meh, fuck it.

    The EnderQuidmageormikeurahonkyshoeboxjeddy
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Q6PnspD.jpg

    beta1.jpg

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    What the Hell is this 'Beta' stuff?

    Beta was the cassette format used by Sony for it's 'Betamax' line of VCRs. It was the most direct competitor with JVC's VHS format, capturing about 20~ percent of the market at it's peak. Like all cassettes, Beta used magnetic tape to capture and/or playback an analog signal; the Beta VCRs had larger heads than VHS machines, which meant that they could capture more detail (resulting in a slightly sharper image), but the early cassettes could only hold about 60~ minutes worth of footage, making most Hollywood offerings out of reach. Sony's product was also more expensive, because they didn't license-out manufacturing, and a few film genres (most notably, the emerging adult film industry) standardized on JVC's format.

    The last Beta VCR was released in 1993.

    With Love and Courage
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Oh, and jesus you dipshits, don't try to fucking tell me "but I returned it like five minutes after midnight, there were still people in the store!"

    Listen fuckstick. We ideally want it before midnight, because then we might actually be able to rent it out again. But you have to pick an arbitrary time, and midnight when the store closes is the easiest. Believe me, at Hollywood we had a 9pm return time, and making sure every last video in the box got scanned within a few minutes of nine (after which fees got tacked on) while the fucking store was open and customers were asking for help was a bitch. But like I said, we'd like to rent it out again that night, so be glad we're giving you those three extra hours to get your ass off the couch and bring it back.

    And yes, I'm aware that you dropped it off right after midnight even though the date stamp says it was scanned in at 9am the next morning. You're not informing me of anything shitstain. The reason it was scanned in at 9am when we don't open until 10am is because that's when we scan all the movies that chucklefucks like you bring in after...fucking...midnight. It's like Gremlins dude, I just know. So you don't need to tell me. At midnight, we scan the one or two movies left in the box (if any), tell the computer to run the fucking report, and get the fuck out of there. We don't wait around in case you make it down at 12:05am to return that shit, because guess what...it's late, I'm tired, I just worked a fucking double, and I'm opening tomorrow.

    So pay your fucking $3 and shut the fuck up.

    What's that? You're never coming back? Please, don't make any promises you can't keep. If you need directions, hang a right, go down through the light at 11th, and Hasting's will be on your right. Enjoy.


    By the way, every time a customer said "I'm never coming back!" I'd make sure to note the account, just so the next person that checked them out could get a chuckle.

    Salvation122StollsTofystedethmageormikezagdrobshoeboxjeddyEdith Upwards
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    And if it wasn't obvious up there, I miss real video stores. Kinda. Like, I get it. Netflix. Redbox. Amazon VOD. We are living in the future. But...meh.

    ...Netflix? Man, internet isn't always reliable. And neither is Netflix, as we learned this last Christmas. When Netflix goes down, or your internet is down, then what?
    ...Redbox, you say? Yeah, sure, they have the movie you want...in a box that's like two counties over. Oh, and you want to return it? Sorry, this kiosk is full. Oh, and we only have like a handful of new releases.
    ...Amazon? Hope you like paying $6 for a ten year old movie in HD, also better hope it's even available for rental (or you get to buy it). Oh, and your internet sucks, and will throttle down the second you start streaming...enjoy!

    Or you can just drive two blocks to your actual video store, talk to an employee about movies you like and movies they like, find something cool, and pay $3 to have it on a DVD that will play right in your player, with no weird frame rate issues, buffering, or dropouts.

    Except when it's scratched, and skips.
    Or when they don't have it in stock. No, none on the return box either.
    And when you bring it back late you owe $27 in late fees for a DVD that costs $7.99 at Wal-Mart.

    Meh, fuck it.

    We have an understanding, sir.

    Pfft. 'Netflix'. Can you walk into Netflix, and then walk out with your arms full of stuff after throwing down just a couple of dollars? Can you rent a duffel bag with a console, 2 controllers, and 6 games for ten dollars on Netflix, literally feeling all of that bang for your buck trying to pull you to the ground?

    Now, some of you will say, "No, and that sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me, I just want to click a button and watch a movie or play a game," and my reply to that will be, "Off. My. Lawn."

    With Love and Courage
    DasUberEdwardmageormike
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    RT800 wrote: »
    I always figured working at a video store would be pretty easy. A lot better than working at, say, McDonalds or Wal-Mart anyway. Easy-to-move, homogeneous stock, lots of down-time to enjoy not being hassled by the stupid freaking customers on the not-weekends, and free rentals. Also one of the video stores I used to frequent always had a movie playing on their display TVs and I figured it was nice that the employees at least had somethin' to watch when things got boring.

    Sangheili91
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    And if it wasn't obvious up there, I miss real video stores. Kinda. Like, I get it. Netflix. Redbox. Amazon VOD. We are living in the future. But...meh.

    ...Netflix? Man, internet isn't always reliable. And neither is Netflix, as we learned this last Christmas. When Netflix goes down, or your internet is down, then what?
    ...Redbox, you say? Yeah, sure, they have the movie you want...in a box that's like two counties over. Oh, and you want to return it? Sorry, this kiosk is full. Oh, and we only have like a handful of new releases.
    ...Amazon? Hope you like paying $6 for a ten year old movie in HD, also better hope it's even available for rental (or you get to buy it). Oh, and your internet sucks, and will throttle down the second you start streaming...enjoy!

    Or you can just drive two blocks to your actual video store, talk to an employee about movies you like and movies they like, find something cool, and pay $3 to have it on a DVD that will play right in your player, with no weird frame rate issues, buffering, or dropouts.

    Except when it's scratched, and skips.
    Or when they don't have it in stock. No, none on the return box either.
    And when you bring it back late you owe $27 in late fees for a DVD that costs $7.99 at Wal-Mart.

    Meh, fuck it.

    We have an understanding, sir.

    Pfft. 'Netflix'. Can you walk into Netflix, and then walk out with your arms full of stuff after throwing down just a couple of dollars? Can you rent a duffel bag with a console, 2 controllers, and 6 games for ten dollars on Netflix, literally feeling all of that bang for your buck trying to pull you to the ground?

    Now, some of you will say, "No, and that sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me, I just want to click a button and watch a movie or play a game," and my reply to that will be, "Off. My. Lawn."

    I don't know about the stores any of you went to, but I took it as a point of pride to be knowledgeable and helpful to customers too. Like, when you walk in and ask if anything good came out this week...I actually took the time, as an employee, to watch most of the movies that came out that week (we get them Friday, they hit the shelf Tuesday). That's why they give us free rentals...it's not a benefit, it's customer service. I watch a ton of movies. I'm always up to talk movies with you, figure out what you like, and try to recommend something. If you enjoy it, I'll smile and feel like I did my job. If you don't, and I recommended it, I'll give you another rental for free, because I'm cool like that.

    Yes, for some reason our district manager was much more forgiving of free rentals than forgiven late fees. Probably because she assumed free rentals were a chance to make more in late fees. Chick was the devil.

    Oh, and if I tell you a movie is bad, it's probably bad. Like, really bad. I don't say movies that I don't enjoy are "bad." I say that movies that no reasonable human should enjoy are bad. So when I tell you that you should just give me your $5 instead of renting Ghosts of Mars, and I'll kick you in the junk, and you'll be happier because it was over faster and hurt less you should listen.

    And yeah, I actually told a customer that. College town, we were a little more laid back. He rented it anyway. Brought it back later that night, apologized for not believing me, so I let him swap it out for something that wasn't godawful. Can your fucking Redbox do that?

    Off my lawn indeed.

    I guess Netflix gets around that problem, by letting you watch as many movies as you want for a flat rate. As long as by "movies" you mean Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus.

    blahmcblahshoeboxjeddy
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »

    By the way, every time a customer said "I'm never coming back!" I'd make sure to note the account, just so the next person that checked them out could get a chuckle.

    And eventually none of them came back... Who is laughing now?

    How do you spell Justice?B D S Non-Violent Resistance to Israel Apartheid & Occupation.
    MegaMekgjaustin
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    RT800 wrote: »
    I always figured working at a video store would be pretty easy. A lot better than working at, say, McDonalds or Wal-Mart anyway. Easy-to-move, homogeneous stock, lots of down-time to enjoy not being hassled by the stupid freaking customers on the not-weekends, and free rentals. Also one of the video stores I used to frequent always had a movie playing on their display TVs and I figured it was nice that the employees at least had somethin' to watch when things got boring.

    "You will be missed..."

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »

    By the way, every time a customer said "I'm never coming back!" I'd make sure to note the account, just so the next person that checked them out could get a chuckle.

    And eventually none of them came back... Who is laughing now?

    .....Reed Hastings?

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »

    By the way, every time a customer said "I'm never coming back!" I'd make sure to note the account, just so the next person that checked them out could get a chuckle.

    And eventually none of them came back... Who is laughing now?

    Low blow. Low blow.
    I don't know about the stores any of you went to, but I took it as a point of pride to be knowledgeable and helpful to customers too. Like, when you walk in and ask if anything good came out this week...I actually took the time, as an employee, to watch most of the movies that came out that week (we get them Friday, they hit the shelf Tuesday). That's why they give us free rentals...it's not a benefit, it's customer service. I watch a ton of movies. I'm always up to talk movies with you, figure out what you like, and try to recommend something. If you enjoy it, I'll smile and feel like I did my job. If you don't, and I recommended it, I'll give you another rental for free, because I'm cool like that.

    The local no-name video rental place I used to go to was owned by a tech enthusiast, and yeah, he'd do the same. "[X] is great, you seen it yet?" "[Y] is awesome, you played it?" "You hear about [Z]? There's a great Nintendo Power article about it..."

    And he'd talk about all the various marvels of home entertainment technology of that time. I think my mother referred to him as 'crazy' one time because he suggested video calls would be A Thing People Do in a few years. My mom does video Skype calls just about every day with my stepfather during lunch these days.

    With Love and Courage
  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    As a kid I liked looking at the covers in the horror section even though I was too scared to rent any of the titles

    5BIQG6q.jpg WTzqwnR.jpg 5YKC9BN.jpg
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    wandering on
    atcwebmqawjl.png
    DasUberEdwardDarkewolfeblahmcblahurahonkyMike DangerEdith Upwards
  • Jubal77Jubal77 Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Man. I remember my friend renting Faces of Death. I know shit like that happens all over the world but watching it during my personal time is not a thing I care for....

    I also remember a time where I was sent down to rent a movie during college for the pack of us to watch in the dorms. I rented Meet the Feebles because well it was directed by Peter Jackson (at the time he wasnt very popular but I had watched Dead Alive and the Frighteners) so I decided to rent it.

    Has anyone else watched that movie? Because that had to be one of the best accidental rentals of all time. Note: There were a bunch of "kids" (ie freshman) in the audience. Needless to say I wasnt asked to walk down to the U Village Blockbuster and rent any movies from there on.

    Jubal77 on
    Mego Thor
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Here's the thing: you can't name one thing about VHS that is superior to DVD, BlueRay or even artifacted HD YouTube footage. This isn't like records vs CDs, where one has a very distinct sound that, while not 'superior', some people find more enjoyable - VHS is just a grainier, dirtier experience

    Two words:

    Movie. Marathons.

    I'm sorry, but cassettes (be it VHS, Beta or any other more obscure format) are the 'Ironman Mode' of movie marathons. There's none of this 'Skip Scene' bullshit; you've got to watch the whole movie - even if you fast forward through some of it, the visuals are still there, and it still takes time. If it ain't a cassette set, it ain't a real marathon.

    There you go. One thing VHS has that DVD doesn't.

    Yes, I am positing a convenience feature as a drawback. No, of course my rose tinted glasses aren't becoming more and more opaque as this discussion continues; that's just your imagination!

    Which DVDs have ruined, by the way!

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
    Jubal77wandering_J_Deebasermageormikefedaykin666Edith Upwards
  • Jubal77Jubal77 Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    Here's the thing: you can't name one thing about VHS that is superior to DVD, BlueRay or even artifacted HD YouTube footage. This isn't like records vs CDs, where one has a very distinct sound that, while not 'superior', some people find more enjoyable - VHS is just a grainier, dirtier experience

    Two words:

    Movie. Marathons.

    I'm sorry, but cassettes (be it VHS, Beta or any other more obscure format) are the 'Ironman Mode' of movie marathons. There's none of this 'Skip Scene' bullshit; you've got to watch the whole movie - even if you fast forward through some of it, the visuals are still there, and it still takes time. If it ain't a cassette set, it ain't a real marathon.

    There you go. One thing VHS has that DVD doesn't.

    Also, VHS is the only place you can go watch the original Star Wars trilogy movies before Lucas went nuts.

    Mike DangerEdith Upwards
  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    I have a shit ton of old VHS tapes gathering dust in my garage.

    I also have 1 VHS player that I hope never breaks down because I don't know where the hell I'd ever find another one.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular

    With Love and Courage
    Geth
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Jubal77 wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    Here's the thing: you can't name one thing about VHS that is superior to DVD, BlueRay or even artifacted HD YouTube footage. This isn't like records vs CDs, where one has a very distinct sound that, while not 'superior', some people find more enjoyable - VHS is just a grainier, dirtier experience

    Two words:

    Movie. Marathons.

    I'm sorry, but cassettes (be it VHS, Beta or any other more obscure format) are the 'Ironman Mode' of movie marathons. There's none of this 'Skip Scene' bullshit; you've got to watch the whole movie - even if you fast forward through some of it, the visuals are still there, and it still takes time. If it ain't a cassette set, it ain't a real marathon.

    There you go. One thing VHS has that DVD doesn't.

    Also, VHS is the only place you can go watch the original Star Wars trilogy movies before Lucas went nuts.

    As an aside, and please god let's not let this go any further, I'll just point out that you can get the original trilogy on both Laserdisc (not feasible, reallyi) or you can find the Special Edition copies on DVD that were sold individually a couple years back...each of which came with a second DVD that as a "special feature" had the original theatrical release.

    Still just laserdisc quality...no anamorphic, just Dolby Pro Logic sound, generally low bitrate, basically just a straight transfer of the Laserdisc edition onto a DVD. Still beats VHS, though.

  • Jubal77Jubal77 Registered User regular
    I think Blue Ray was the first superior technology to win the play back video wars and then look what happened :)

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Raise your hand if you owned a standalone videotape rewinder.

    *raises hand*

    DeebaserDasUberEdwardTubularLuggagey2jake215shrykeStollsLoveIsUnityHacksawblahmcblahMarathonwanderingGiggles_Funsworthzagdrobgjaustin
  • Jubal77Jubal77 Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Raise your hand if you owned a standalone videotape rewinder.

    *raises hand*

    Hells yeah. My parents didnt want to pay that extra money for returning the tape unrewound so they bought a rewinder. Bought something so they wouldnt have to pay fees. And also, you know, tax the VHS player.

    Jubal77 on
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    Video rental stores are to cinema what speakeasies are to booze. Bright and beckoning from the outside, the inside was actually rather seedy and depressing, but you quickly learned to develop a form of situational blindness so that the suffocating sense of hopelessness wouldn't spoil your pursuit of an entertaining evening. Some form of membership was required before you were allowed to become a patron, and anyone looking for a good time on a Friday night had a membership somewhere. If you had a taste for the good stuff, it was hidden away behind a curtain, sequestered where the judging gaze of society's moral authorities wouldn't find it. And while they were ubiquitous in every community in America at one time, they became obsolete almost overnight as the world grew up around them.

    I guess in this analogy, Red Box is the freestanding coin operated vodka dispensaries that used to dot Muscovite street corners during the heyday of the Soviet Union. What I'm saying is that I miss the sense of danger I used to associate with hunting down a copy of Clue in a strip mall.

    Edith Upwards
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Jesus, those Star Wars DVDs with the theatrical bonus discs are going for $240 for the set on Amazon. New, but still. Jesus.

    EDIT: Third party seller, fulfilled by amazon, that is.

    mcdermott on
  • Jubal77Jubal77 Registered User regular
    Oh those should get shot down quick by Disney.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I'll just point out that you can get the original trilogy on both Laserdisc...

    The fuck is 'Laserdisc'?

    Laserdisc.jpg

    My God...

    Laserdisc was one of the first commercial optical disc formats, first arriving in the late 1970s. It was never popular in Europe or North America, largely due to the high cost of bother Laserdisc players and the disks themselves, but gained traction in Southeast Asian markets.

    Among tech enthusiasts, there tends to be a lot of nostalgia for old Laserdisc releases, and a lot of Laserdisc releases are considered collector's items.

    With Love and Courage
  • ShivahnShivahn Unaware of her barrel shifter privilege Eastern coastal temptressRegistered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Jesus, those Star Wars DVDs with the theatrical bonus discs are going for $240 for the set on Amazon. New, but still. Jesus.

    EDIT: Third party seller, fulfilled by amazon, that is.

    I um. May or may not own a set.

  • Jubal77Jubal77 Registered User regular
    I remember watching The Hobbit, Emmit Otter's Jug Band Christmas and the Last Unicorn cartoon on Video Disc when I was much younger.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    I think everybody can agree that LaserDisc was the most ridiculous of the formats.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I think everybody can agree that LaserDisc was the most ridiculous of the formats.

    I have to say, a Laserdisc in person is quite the thing to behold, and I have to give a world of credit to anyone that can manage to keep one in shape. Scratches over that surface must be a nightmare.

    I also liked the Laserdisc cover for Ghostbusters.

    EDIT: For anyone who doesn't know, a Laserdisc actually stores data on both of it's sides - there isn't a 'cover' side like on a modern optical disk. Most films would be split 50/50 between the two sides, so halfway through the movie you'd have to flip over the disk (unless you had a more expensive player that could read from either side; then you'd just tell the machine to play side 2 or whatever).

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
    Mike Danger
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I think everybody can agree that LaserDisc was the most ridiculous of the formats.

    As the format itself goes, okay, sure. But my God. LaserDisc. The name is evocative of everything the future was supposed to offer us. Lasers! Discs! It was like living in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Very much like living in 2001: A Space Odyssey when you consider that people still used something like a phone booth to talk to their families while they were waiting for their flight at the space port. Stanley Kubrick thought we'd be taking shuttles to the moon by now, and he also thought in this same bright future, we wouldn't be able to imagine a way to do peer to peer video telecom without a kiosk the size of a blackboard. Wrong again, Kubrick! Wrong again.

    Gnome-Interruptusshoeboxjeddy
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