Friday, November 11, 2005

What Ever Happened to VHS?

The other night, my wife and I were watching something on television. E.R. maybe? I don't remember. But that's not important right now. What is important was the advertisement for the release of some movie on DVD and...get this...PSP.

"What's PSP?" my wife asked me. "And what ever happened to VHS?"

Good question, on both accounts. Although, I suppose the video-gamers out there already know what the PSP is. PlayStation Portable. Frankly, I'm surprised by this. I realize that portable video devices are about to become The Next Big Thing and all. I mean, look at Apple's latest iPod with iVideo for people on the iGo. Still, how many people will really want to buy a video in PSP format instead of DVD format? Doesn't that limit playback to a 2-inch wide screen. (Forgive me if that isn't the actual dimension. I'm not really into video game systems.)

Regardless of the PSP, the other question still remains. VHS. The movie is not available on VHS. Remember those? Kind of like audio cassettes, only bigger. Uh, wait. Audio cassettes. You know what those are, don't you? Anyhow, it seems the end of the age of VHS is over. In fact, the only thing that really kept the VCR around this long was the fact it could be used to record TV shows so easily. But with the advent of DVRs and recordable DVD players, such a need is over.

If you are still holding out and buying VHS tapes, I strongly suggest you stop. Today. Because in the next couple years, they will be not just obsolete, but collector's items. (Hmm. Which means, perhaps, you should buy them!)

(While I'm on the subject...kind of, sort of...am I the only one annoyed that Disney can't just sell DVDs like everyone else? Instead they say, "Coming soon on DisneyDVD!" As if they have created a whole new and improved type of DVD. Which they haven't.)

Of course in a couple of years we'll face the same problem with DVDs. The BluRay DVD and HD-DVD are at our technological doorstep. Which means the $15 I just paid for the DVD release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is a complete waste, since I'll undoubtedly want the high definition version in a couple years. (Or not. Actually, I can't see spending any more money on Star Wars since the latest set of movies left me horribly disenfranchised from the franchise.)

Now that I think of it, I'm thinking we shouldn't bother buying much of anything today, as it becomes obsolete faster than you can say, well, anything that takes a few months to say. In fact, the very food we eat might very well be obsolete.

In the meantime, our VCR just died. We have a backup. But I'm wondering about the financial benefit of bothering to replace it. Yet, we still have some movies on video. Yentl, for example. Why is it that such a fabulous movie is not released to DVD yet? Hurry up, you people who release movies to DVD...the VHS is going the way of the dinosaur.

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