Anyone remember a retail VCD format from ~1997?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Kyle McKnight, May 26, 2010.

  1. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    I remember buying some movies from CompUSA that came on two discs in possibly a white clamshell with a yellow design. I don't know why I just thought about them, but it's really bugging me that I can't remember the name of the company that made them.


    --EDIT-- Oh, I just found it. I'd been searching terms for about 15 minutes prior to posting this, but finally came across it. MovieCD. It wasn't VCD I guess as it used the MotionPixels codec. Why do I want to buy some?
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    It started a bit before '97, and regardless of the codec it was basically a commercial version of video-CD. I didn't remember a brand-name, but I definitely remembere the blocky, pixelated video (mostly from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) playing silently on the monitors at CompUSA. I don't think there was just one company involved, either. I mostly remember taking pity on the few people who were buying the things, because the quality was barely better than VHS, I already had a laserdisc player, and I knew that DVD was on the horizon.

    Not surprising that VCD and its variants never took off in the U.S. They did surprisingly well in Asia, where major studios like Warner Bros. released product to the format themselves rather than farming it out to third parties. (Well, maybe no so surprising. In some of those countries people weren't allowed to own VCRs or cameras, but a playback-only system for movies was acceptable.)


    Regards,


    Joe
     
  3. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    First I ever heard of the concept that some Asians weren't allowed to own VCRs... maybe the North Koreans?


    But seriously, IMHO the reason VCD prospered (and indeed still survives today) is that it was cheap. In the early days of DVD, DVD piracy wasn't common yet, but CD piracy was already rampant, so the pirates ripped DVD transfers to VCD and sold the VCDs cheap. Later, even when DVD piracy took off, there was an installed base of VCD users who didn't care about PQ or SQ and just wanted it as cheap as possible. So as not to miss out on that segment of the market, official licensees or subsidiaries of the studios therefore also released movies on VCD (and they still do today).

    Even with Blu-ray now being the new media of choice amongst HT enthusiasts, VCDs are still available. If the masses can't be arsed to switch even to DVD, what hope Blu-ray? And the pirates these days are ripping BD transfers and putting them on DVDs instead.
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Definitely North Korea, but also one or two other strongly authoritarian or completely totalitarian regimes in the late 70s or very early 80s. The kind of place (like North Korea) where mimeograph machines and printing presses were illegal, IIRC. Just a piece of trivia I read in a news article at the time and which stuck in my head. I don't think any of the places mentioned in the article (except North Korea) has that kind of goverment nowadays.

    Regards,


    Joe
     
  5. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    The original poster is talking about a company that put out CD-ROMs for play on a computer, mostly New Line titles. I don't know what format they were in as I've never had any, but I think it was a little bit after the MPEG-1 VideoCD format had failed in the US but before DVD had come out. (Just remembered that in the mid-90s, Criterion of all companies put out a few titles on CD-ROM for computer viewing- a friend had "A Hard Day's Night" from them- quality was mediocre at best.)


    The first VCDs in the US were made for Philips CDi systems, which were essentially like a game system except the software was more education-oriented. The first titles were actually in a format only compatible with these systems, then they switched to being compatible with all VideoCD players. The Philips titles I have include chapter menus that you can only see on a CDi player, on a compatible DVD player they only have one chapter.
     
  6. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    Well if anyone comes across any MovieCDs, I'll pay $3-5 delivered.

    --here's the only image I could find of the packaging --
     
  7. berter

    berter Auditioning

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    interesting for me, thanks
     

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