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We Never Had It So Good...


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#1 of 37 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted March 10 2004 - 02:41 PM

i was doing some spring cleaning today, and i ran across an old copy of Video Watchog from 1993. amusing to read now-especially the editorial wherein Tim Lucas talks about his recent obsession with acquiring the Criterion James Bond discs (that were taken off the market due to issues with comments in the commentary track). he was 'lucky' to find copies of Dr. No and From Russia With Love for their original msrp ($79.95 each) but Goldfiner was proving elusive.


#2 of 37 OFFLINE   john mcfadden

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Posted March 10 2004 - 04:08 PM

AH laserdiscs .......I cant seem to sell off my collection even at $2.00 a piece !!! I guess thats what i get for "jumping on the laserdisc bandwagon".....lol :b

#3 of 37 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted March 10 2004 - 07:41 PM

yeah lasers are still being sold in the three digit range. just a shame that two of the digits follow the decimal point.

#4 of 37 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted March 10 2004 - 08:01 PM

Anybody know how many titles were put onto LD? In just 7 years now of the DVD format, the number of titles out on DVD is staggering -- as of today (March 11), DVD Profiler has 114,200 DVD titles listed in its plentiful database. Did even one-tenth that number make it to LaserDisc in...what was it?...approx. 20 total years on the market (1977-1997 approx.)??

#5 of 37 OFFLINE   jon_farthing

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Posted March 10 2004 - 10:17 PM

I'm probably one of the few people who still collects laserdiscs and pick up quite a few from ebay now theyre a couple of pounds each. Nine times out of ten these days the postage comes to more than the disc.
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#6 of 37 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted March 11 2004 - 02:21 AM

Of course, the DVD Profiler number include many thousands of porn discs....Posted Image

Thing is, since those commentaries have never been (and will never be) reissued, those Criterion lds will probably always have some value...just nothing approaching what they did once. Easy come, easy go.

#7 of 37 OFFLINE   Kenny Goldin

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Posted March 11 2004 - 02:25 AM

I really really really really really really really miss the LD days. Well not the prices but the discs. Yeah, DVDs look better and in some cases sound better, but by God there was just something special about the big old shiny 12" platters. I came into the LD game VERy late (my first disc was Clear adn Present Danger) and my last disc was Saving Private Ryan.
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#8 of 37 OFFLINE   Brian Thibodeau

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Posted March 11 2004 - 02:31 AM

I have an old copy of Widescreen Review at home from a short time before DVD began its rollout. There was an editorial saying that the new format might be doomed because of the sheer breadth of titles already available in a digital format on laserdisc. Clearly defensive of a beloved format they didn't want to contemplate replacing, they figured it could take at least a decade for this whole new format to catch up, and in that time, there would be even MORE laserdisc titles, meaning DVD might never catch up! I think the magic number they mentioned was around 20,000 or 25,000 laserdiscs at the time, but that might be high. Even still, that was 25,000 titles after, what, about 15 years of the format? In retrospect, it's sad that any of us got involved with that format, but it was fun before the lust all died and the reality of massive - and expensive - collections that wouldn't fetch even 1/20th what we paid for them set in. The invention of the CD should have told us that one day video might be possible on a disc the same size. But when you're a film purist, you takes what you can get! Besides, bragging rights counted for something. A lot of the comparitive reviews in WR in the early days also fell in favour of laserdisc, but you could sense they were starting to dig deep to find things to favour in the larger discs, frequently resulting in a 50/50 set of recommendations for many titles. Sure, some early DVDs probably weren't up to snuff, but WR naturally believed, or perhaps hoped, that these inferiorities would ultimately prove the undoing of the format. Oddly enough, I also have two articles I saved from two video magazines of the mid to late 80's. One was from either Video Magazine or Video Review magazine, the other was an oversize British home entertainment mag, not unlike Empire in size, but more slanted towards home theatre. Both of these articles, neither of which are newer than 1988, were about the development of movies on CD-sized discs and the very real inroads that were being made in the field. They even had a name for the format, which of course I can't remember, but in retrospect I realized it was probably the forerunner to the Philips CD-I or whatever it was called that bombed out in the US market, which I guess ultimately became the VCD, the best friend of the Asian movie buff! Of course, I lost patience waiting for these wonder discs to arrive and started spending what now seem like ridiculous amounts of money on laserdiscs. Hindsight and all that, I suppose.

#9 of 37 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted March 11 2004 - 03:38 AM

That was an entertaining post, Brian. I just love how there is always an initial hostility to a new format because of the purists' devotion to an aging previous format. And, of course, who can ever forget the studios' hostility toward DVD in those early days?

#10 of 37 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted March 11 2004 - 03:52 AM

True, Jack. I remember reading the newly created DVD newsgroup back in 1996, and seeing a great deal of hostility towards the about-to-be-introduced format from laserdisc fans, some of whom continued to make bitterly hostile comments until laserdisc production stopped altogether, and even then they would grumble that they would only "rent" DVDs until HD-DVD comes along. As for how much LDs used to cost, some people actually reveled in the high prices, since it help maintain the "elite" image of LD and its buyers (in contrast to the comparative egalitarianism of DVD).

#11 of 37 OFFLINE   Brian Thibodeau

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Posted March 11 2004 - 04:07 AM

Further to my point about bragging rights, these two quotes prove that they can't last forever, and didn't for many people, who took the changeover with typical suspicion and derision. It'll probably hit us a lot less hard if another format replaces DVD some day, since elitism with this format seems largely rooted in early adoption and quantity more than the prices themselves, which are within the reach of anybody who wants it. Personally, I'm now old enough and have a large enough collection not to be interested starting over again (beta to VHS to laserdisc to DVD/VCD was enough!)

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted March 11 2004 - 06:24 AM

I complained about laserdisc prices a lot on alt.video.laserdisc and got flamed for it, I even got an email from someone saying "If you don't like laserdisc prices, I suggest you find a less expensive hobby." I wonder what they think now about people who complain about $20 DVDs! A lot of DVD prices are actually insanely LOW; I would've been happy as long as they stayed between $24-29! I was skeptical of DVD though until I actually tried it out at home; DSS looked terrible (and still does!) and I thought any digital video format would look just as bad, with pixelization and digital artifacts everywhere that people would pretend not to notice.
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#13 of 37 OFFLINE   Rob Gardiner

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Posted March 11 2004 - 06:48 AM

Jack, My initial hostility towards DVD was due to the fact that the video was to be stored in MPEG format. At the time the announcement was made, MPEG videos (at least the ones I'd seen) were crappy postage-stamp sized things that you downloaded. EDIT: I had the same reaction to the announcement that HD DVDs might use a 9 GB disc with MPEG-4 video, compressed at a MUCH higher rate than standard DVD. That hostility remained until I experimented with MPEG-4 on my own, and realized how much more efficient it is than MPEG-2.

#14 of 37 OFFLINE   Jeff_HR

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Posted March 11 2004 - 07:44 AM

You're not alone. Posted Image I'm still picking up LDs from eBay. Usually those titles that I really want that I'm sure the Studios won't release because of their "attitude" about sales. That is what I miss about the peak days of LD, the studios pumped the older titles out.

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#15 of 37 OFFLINE   Ian_H

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Posted March 11 2004 - 08:08 AM

Why sad?? I would much rather pay $40 for a LD instead of $100+ for a new VHS that was priced for rental which at the time was probably about 95%. I didn't want to wait 6 months to a year and in some cases never going to sell through for movies I wanted. That was my whole reason for getting into LD. Better quality and I didn't ahve to wait for sell-through. I will always have LD just for the titles that never will come to DVD (original Star Wars anyone?) --Ian

#16 of 37 OFFLINE   Brian Thibodeau

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Posted March 11 2004 - 09:04 AM

Only sad now, I suppose. Particularly as I stare at my rather modest laserdisc collection in the cabinet I handmade for it (and which will one day house DVDs!). A couple hundred discs over about 6 years of collecting which probably set me back over ten grand. Now I probably couldn't get more than $400 or $500 for the lot of them, if even that, and don't really feel like taking the time to unload 'em one by one online. But I knew all that then, I suppose, and that's why I always figured I'd build my collection and stop, regardless of what format came along next. Then DVD came along next and, in addition to being better in so many ways, allowed me to amass nearly TWICE as many titles (around 390 at the time), if not more, for the same ten grand that my LD collection cost and in a fraction of the time. And with the price drops and used availability and bargain bins for DVD, well, that rarely happened with LD until the writing was very clearly on the wall. In the last few years I've worked up a collection of over 2000 discs and if another format comes along, screw it. This time I'm out for real. I hope... Still, having to actually SAVE money to buy a laserdisc special edition in those days meant the purchase was something to savour. Now, I can buy 5 or 6 SE's for the same price and it feels like work since EVERYTHING is larded up with commentaries and bonues, not all of it worthy. Six of one, I guess... incidentally, I was never one of the ones who couldn't wait for sell-through on VHS titles. My tastes were strange enough that a lot of the b-movies and genre stuff I was interested in, especially the older junk, was readily available at sell-through prices first, because there was no rental demand for a lot of it. I didn't start collecting LD until 1991, and by then, there was a sizable sell-through and ex-rental market for VHS, so I rarely had to wait long to find things I was after. Had I been collecting laserdiscs in the mid 80's, however, it might have been a different story.

#17 of 37 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted March 11 2004 - 09:17 AM

Rob, buddy: I wasn't thinking about your post but responding to Brian's, which hit the change-resistent nail on its head. Having seen many an audio and video software format come and go, I'm always amazed at how staunch the loyalty to a format can be!

#18 of 37 OFFLINE   Mark Cappelletty

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Posted March 11 2004 - 10:57 AM

Don't get me talking about my old laserdisc collection unless you want me to start drinking before happy hour...

#19 of 37 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted March 11 2004 - 10:59 AM

"I have an old copy of Widescreen Review at home from a short time before DVD began its rollout. There was an editorial saying that the new format might be doomed because of the sheer breadth of titles already available in a digital format on laserdisc. Clearly defensive of a beloved format they didn't want to contemplate replacing, they figured it could take at least a decade for this whole new format to catch up, and in that time, there would be even MORE laserdisc titles, meaning DVD might never catch up!" Get ready for irony, because the same exact things are being said about HD-DVD. "It'll never catch on. It will be a niche market." etc. etc. etc.

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   ChristopherBlig

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Posted March 11 2004 - 11:09 AM

just think, 2 of the best sets of commentaries are not on DVD because of bogus rights issues...The commentary by Terry Gilliam for Fisher King that makes many references to Criterion. The other set being all the commentaries on They Shoot Horses, Don't They which would become a reality had Fox still had ownership of that title...I know MGM probably won't acquire it because of the cheapness of acquiring and full frame only...and those commentaries can only be heard on LD...it does have it's advantages...on top of DVDs I still collect them for hidden extra value
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