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Happy 7th Birthday, DVD! Remembering those Early Days

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#21 of 76 OFFLINE   Rick Salt

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Posted March 13 2004 - 02:14 PM

Summer of 98 while trying to make up my mind if i wanted a combo player or just a dvd player since there were so many more movies on laser. Then i found out titanic was only coming to laserdisc i had to get the combo player. I didn't want to get a first generation player in 97 because of too many bugs with first generation anythings. In fact i would have waited longer but i couldn't resist any longer and the pioneer is still working fine in my bedroom on my analog rptv.

#22 of 76 OFFLINE   Sean Bryan

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Posted March 13 2004 - 02:33 PM

I first heard that DVD was coming in 1996. I remember reading a survey of E-Town folks about if they would buy into DVD, and they all seemed to be against it.

I was excitted by the idea and even though I didn't know much about the home theater world (never got into laser disc) it was easy to see that what was going on was simple; the majority of these people seemed to feel "invested" in laser discs and felt like they were somehow being done a disservice by "having" to buy something new. So the majority realy were opposed to it (didn't matter that it theoretically had the potential to be better than what they had).

There was some strong, and I mean nasty, opposition to the coming DVD in late 1996 and early 1997. But I didn't let that sway me. I read as much as I could about it, and I just "knew" that it was going to be bigger than laser disc ever was.

I bought my first player (Toshiba SD-3006?) online for $600-something in March of 1997. When I received the player it was still weeks before the first software titles were being released. The first movie I watch on DVD was Goldeneye.

It's weird to think that there are lots of people here that don't know what it was like to wonder when studios like Paramount would "announce". Rember the joy at hearing stuff like "Fox announced!!". By "announce" I am referring to announcing suport for the DVD format.

Divx (spit) was a scare. I did my best to tell everyone I knew how lame it was and to instead buy into "open DVD". Finding out about it's death was a moment of shear joy.

Wow, what a long way we have come. I'm sitting here and looking at the Extended Editions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers (looking like old, leather-bound books) which are "bookended" by two collectable statues made specifically for the DVD collector's gift set.

I eagerly look forward to "the next big step up" which is, of course, HD-DVD. You can be sure that I'll buy into that as soon as it comes out. It's weird to think that in a year or two (maybe three) I'll have a few HD-DVDs and be anxiously awaiting when some other studios will be announcing support for the format. And of course HD-DVD, like DVD, will have it's detractors at first. But this time it will be the people that feel "invested" in DVD, and resent the idea of "upgrading" to a new format. I can't wait.
I don't believe in transcending the genre, I believe IN the genre - Joss Whedon

#23 of 76 OFFLINE   Andrew Budgell

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Posted March 13 2004 - 02:36 PM

I got my first DVD player for Christmas 1998. I remember first hearing about DVD with the release of Spice World on Home Video, and they were talking about this thing called DVD. My first DVD was The Wizard of Oz, the featureless MGM edition. It is nearly 6 years since then, and I am so happy with what is being released on DVD, especially by Warner. I couldn't live without my classics and britcoms, and they deliver both!


#24 of 76 OFFLINE   PerryD


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Posted March 13 2004 - 02:52 PM

I too was worried about the artifacting of these 'mpeg' movies, until I saw the incredibly clear solid colors coming from my big screen. I wasn't ready to buy into 'first' generation DVD players, but I had heard that the Sony 7000 DVD player allowed you to disable region encoding and macrovision via dip switches and that this was quickly being addressed. The unit was rare, and I travelled to every local store, and calling all mail ordered houses, until I found one for sale for only $849, and it even included 4 free DVDs (for the life of me I can't remember what they were, one was Tony Bennett Unplugged). From that moment on, I've consistently averaged at least 10 DVD purchases a month, you do the math on how many DVDs I have now.

#25 of 76 OFFLINE   Dean Kousoulas

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Posted March 13 2004 - 03:14 PM

I remember my best friend telling me about this new thing called DVD back in early 98...couple months later he bought his first player and I fell in love with it the first moment I saw it. I got my first DVD player as a gift for graduating high school in 98. The first batch of movies I bought were Air Force One, Hoodlum, and Tomorrow Never Dies. 6 years, and 300 DVD's later, I still can't believe how far we've come.
"Earnest Hemingway once wrote 'The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for.' I agree with the 2nd part." - Morgan Freeman, Se7en

My DVD Collection

#26 of 76 OFFLINE   Steve Blair

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Posted March 13 2004 - 03:31 PM

I got in at the beginning too. Bought the Toshiba SD-2006 in March 97' for around $550 and it didn't even have dts or component outputs! OUCH. I was in Orlando at the time and went to BestBuy to check out the selection. They had ONE SMALL RACK with around 8 titles LOL

I remember some of them. Some NFL dvd, Fargo, The Usual Suspects and Africa The Serengeti. I bought The Usual Suspects and Fargo both of which came in the horrible "guillatine" cases which only opened halfway and scratched the dvds up if you weren't extremely careful removing them.

I only liked FULLSCREEN then but when I heard Se7en was being released I had my mother pick it up for me in Maryland since it wasn't available in Florida yet. I watched it and tolerated the black bars but wasn't too happy about them. Then I had an epiphony. I started reading WIDESCREEN REVIEW magazine and they explained widescreen and I never looked back. Bought Toshiba's first analogue TW40 widescreen tv a few months later and am up to a 50"plasma now and loving every minute of the last 7 years.

I also still have myself on tape being interviewed by Fox news in Orlando back in 98 about dvd. After my short segment praising dvds for being in widescreen, having excellent picture quality and no deterioration they put on a local video store owner. He said "I don't believe this format will ever take off because VHS is already in every US home" LOL, what else is a VIDEO STORE OWNER with thousands of vhs tapes for rent going to say? Posted Image

Happy birthday to dvd and can't wait to be the only one on the block again when HD-DVD comes around Posted Image

#27 of 76 OFFLINE   Greg Krewet

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Posted March 13 2004 - 04:51 PM

My big thrill in the early days was rushing home from work and reading newsgroups headlines and speculations saying my third cousin's ex wife met a man who had a friend whose neighbor was washing a dog for a guy who worked at Paramount who thought possibly that FOX WAS IN and should Paramount get on before Columbia. Those were heady times

#28 of 76 OFFLINE   Mark Hamilton

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Posted March 13 2004 - 05:16 PM

First saw DVDs for sale at the music store on the top floor of the Beverly Center in LA in 1997. A collection of Warner Brothers discs that were "On Sale..." I remember seeing Batman, Space Jam, and perhaps a few others. Got my Sony DVP-S7000 later that year ($1299CDN)... that player is still used many times a week hooked up to an older Sony projo, although I'v now got a Toshiba HDTV and a newer Sony progressive-scan player as well.

Columbia was producing amazing stuff right from the start. Their discs may have been featureless (Jerry Maguire, Bad Boys, etc.), but the picture and audio was amazing. WB discs were neat because they generally had P&S and WS versions on the same discs, plus colorful MENUS! New Line stuff was very good but terribly underated. Most discs those companies produced had anamorphic transfers as well. Way to think ahead guys. MGM discs were of course very similar to the WB product and also came in snapper cases. The discs that Disney were spitting out were generally crap (tho I remember The Rock DVD had a cool function where if you put the language track to French the opening The Rock screen was in French) and the Universal discs were terribly inconsistent and very expensive.

Then throughout 1998 we constantly heard rumours about Fox and Paramount joining the party, although the big rumour was that the Fox execs were more interested in D-VHS or something. Then in the fall I read on DVD Resource that Fox and Paramount were both in and I was pumped. I grabbed "The Saint" and "Face/Off" from Paramount's first batch and they still look good today (great 16x9 enhanced transfers). Fox's initial product was dissapointing, but they produce great stuff now.

#29 of 76 OFFLINE   Johnny G

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Posted March 13 2004 - 07:45 PM

The UK suffered from the "What's DVD" questioners for at least a couple of years after the US. I read about DVD in the first issue of T3 magazine from Nov '96 comparing a Japanese pressing of Bladerunner, I'm not sure if it was against LD.

Anyway my LD collection comprised of mainly titles I'd picked up on the cheap, I'd never brought myself to go out & spend £200 in an afternoon on 5 LDs like friend I have now used to.

Being instantly sold on DVD, I have to wait until my next vacation in California which was booked for July '97 and as soon as I got there, I was looking for the best deal on a good player.

I went for a Toshiba, I don't remember the model but it was the second one up in the range, I don't remember the feature that sold it bur I have a feeling is was S-video but I find it hard to believe the sell a player without this.

Anyway, I packed my case home, along with a new center spealer & a case half full of DVDs & another case packed top to bottom with LDs. Needless to say, my LD collection & player was soon sold for a pretty good price (at least 5 times what I'd get for them now or even a year after I did).

My cosin was the next convert but still keeping his LD collection for many years. My other freinds took a bit longer, buying players at the time Panasonic were bringing out reasonably price DTS players, but still having their LD collections to this day, mainly due to the fact they're worth nothing.

Anyway, that's my story this side of the Atlantic.

#30 of 76 OFFLINE   Tin-Lun Lau

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Posted March 13 2004 - 08:44 PM

i just got my first dvd player last year. and i was quite aware of it since 1997, considering i live next to a chinese mall. my parents wouldn't invest in a dvd player till i waited for a time when dvd players are cheap. in toronto, u can get a dvd player for 50 bucks at a supermarket in Market Village.
The World Is Yours.

#31 of 76 OFFLINE   Mike Wadkins

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Posted March 13 2004 - 09:58 PM

i got my 1st laserdisc player when i was 15 i saved up for years Posted Image then late 1997 -1998 i saw in my local sony center Jerry Maguire on their 32 test tv and it looked like crap i dont know what thwy did to it but it looked nasty.
deciding to hold out with lasers i lasted till the day the phantom meneace was relesed in cinemas and got my 1st player a panasonic dvd 160a i held off long enough for one with dts optical outs and allready had twister with no player and bought ronin that day 950 dvd's later i watched out of sight on laser yesterday and was suprised at how good it looks :0 lol
they now call me dvdmike which i dont mind lol

#32 of 76 OFFLINE   Chris Parham

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Posted March 14 2004 - 01:02 AM

After lurking for years on this site, I've finally registered after reading these posts!
The exact year escapes me, but I remember reading a review of the Panasonic A100 on Steve Tanahill's site and being excited by his assertion that the panny's video d/a converter was the same as that in the much more expensive sony model! I rigged a bet with my wife at the time and soon the funds for this purchase were available.
After a visit to the local A/V store, a buddy convinced me to wait a week or two for panny's second generation A110 which featured an optical out for DTS. Interestingly enough, I didn't watch my first DVD for awhile after that as, living in Toronto, I wss very fortunate to have a "local" rental place that not only stocked every available LD but rented them as well! ( It was called BestBuy and had a logo very similiar to the American monolith which has recently moved into Canada). Having been an OAR snob for some time I well remember waiting weeks and sometimes months for titles to come to LD before I would dare rent them on p/s vhs!
When DVDs started being released day and date with VHS, my LD player got less and less play.
Does anybody know what happened to Steve? I remember the last few posts on his site had a very sombre tone and his signoff as I recall it seemed to indicate a personal tragedy. I don't want to snoop. I just hope he's alright. His passion for this "new" format and film I think made for certain kinship with all who read his site.

#33 of 76 OFFLINE   Adam_R


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Posted March 14 2004 - 01:51 AM

First DVD player, 1997, Panasonic A-300, $799, maybe it was $699, still have it in the bedroom. Works like a charm. Now DVD players are literally 1/10th the price. Well, not a good one, but still. 10%.

Guess what...

#34 of 76 OFFLINE   JohnTRU


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Posted March 14 2004 - 01:53 AM

I came into the DVD scene rather late, with a player given to me on my 22nd b'day in 2001.

Up until then, DVD seemed a luxury I couldn't even think of trying to afford. It seemed a rich-person's tool, much in the same way that laserdisc had seemed to be. Working in a video store at the time, I would of course tell customers of this thing that begun to take more and more shelf space from the videos. Unfortunately, the video store I worked in was in a less-than-affluent neighbourhood and having to pay hard-earned money for another player was a stupid idea to many of the customers.

I was also completely anti-widescreen and had no notion whatsoever of OAR or anamorphic - these terms were another language. DTS?? No clue on that either. I distinctly remember that The Insider was released on video in its OAR. I took the movie home to watch and was horrified at those stupid black bars on top and bottom of the screen. I liked the movie nonetheless, however every time I felt like recommending the movie to someone I felt obliged to tell them that it was in widescreen. Many said something along the lines of "don't bother" and went and picked up something else.

So I got my player, with three free titles inside - There's Something About Mary, Die Hard and X-Men. Within a couple of hours I had gone and picked up some other titles - Se7en was one and I think Year of the Horse was the other and I was hooked (and haven't looked back).

Then - the 'net took over. All these websites I found, all detailing titles that weren't released here in Australia. Ultimate Editon of T2?? Oh, I gotta get me that - but hang on, that's a region 1 title only (only released in R4 last year), same goes for the Bootleg Edition of Almost Famous (which still hasn't had a R4 release).

I applied for a credit card - which was surprisingly approved and the overseas buying started. Those two titles were bought first, followed by all of Kevin Smith's movies, which had R4 releases but were notorious for their mediocrity.

Into my fourth DVD year, and I won't look back.

#35 of 76 OFFLINE   Kevin Korom

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Posted March 14 2004 - 02:30 AM

This is a fun thread! I was a LD guy, and I remember the threads on the original HTF, some of which were quite heated, about whether DVD would supplant LD or not.

I was very interested but skeptical about the format's possibilities. After all, it was only 80 or so more lines of resolution- how much better could it be?

A discussion with my salesman at the local A/V store led me to bringing my LD copy of The Fugitive to the store; this was the only title we could compare (I think there were like seven titles available at the time). Almost everyone in the store crowded into the demo room to see the shootout.

All the skepticism melted away in about 2 seconds. The difference was so obvious, I walked out with a RCA 5200 that day ($499, the cheapest they had- it's still working perfectly at my parent's house).

The only thing I miss about the format is the fun we had searching & waiting for different studios to throw their hats into the ring, or eagerly awaiting the announcement of some favorite title. The fury over Steven Spielberg refusing to release his films on DVD until the format matured. The epic battle against the evil DivX, and the glee we felt when it was defeated.

Seven years later, DVD is a household name; titles come out faster than you can keep track of. They're available everywhere.

So what's next? HD-DVD! That's where the hardcore guys like me will end up- back scrambling for titles, eagerly looking for studio support, etc. We'll have another battle over online registration via WM9, much like Divx. The more things change, the more they stay the samePosted Image

#36 of 76 OFFLINE   Wan



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Posted March 14 2004 - 04:13 AM

I've always been an avid follower of home theatres, software and hardware, since early 80's when one of my rich cousins - and obviously I'm not Posted Image - paid someone to build one. The guy wasn't really a movie fan, though, putting more money into the leather seats and a designer dog to "decorate" the place. Go figure Posted Image

It was really hard to justify the cost/benefit of LD to myself so I never took the plunge. The main issue was the selection. It was for the same reasons I never bought Atari Jaguar or TurboGraphx, for those of you who know what they are.

I took the same cautious approach to dvd. However, once the whole divx fiasco started, I decided to support the format and from then on, dvd is not only a movie delivery format, but it also becomes a line item in my home budget Posted Image

I've probably bought around 1200 dvds and sold the majority of them because I only want to keep the ones I really want so there's about 350 in my collection now. Netflix and Nicheflix - another vital contributors to the format - make blind buys minimally necessary.

#37 of 76 OFFLINE   Robert Spalding

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Posted March 14 2004 - 04:20 AM

I too bought early on in April of 1997 up in Spokane Washington. I got a Toshiba SD-2006 which came with some freee movies and a free black Toshiba T-shirt that says "you've got senses, use them" I remember buying the player off the net for like $600 and couldn't buy any titles locally except for a Laserdisc store that would "import" them from one of the test cities Seattle. I think my first title was Rocky. So, I sold the Tosh a year later for $300 and bought a Panasonic A-110 which now works great at my in-laws house. I think I am on player number 6. I also have a cheap Apex for playing other regions.

#38 of 76 OFFLINE   Dave F

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Posted March 14 2004 - 04:55 AM

It's interesting to see the relationship between when someone first got into DVD and when they joined this forum. Me, I jumped on the bandwagon the week before Criterion released Beauty and the Beast (I think that was mid-98). I said that I would wait until Criterion started making DVDs, so I placed a preorder for B&B and bought a DVD player. Posted Image

DVD List

#39 of 76 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted March 14 2004 - 05:16 AM

Welcome to Home Theater Forum, Chris Parham. What took you so long? As for Steve Tannehill, he is very much still a member here (and, I believe, a number of other A/V-related message boards). His most recent post that I can recall is in the "I remember HTF when" thread in After Hours. JB

#40 of 76 OFFLINE   Lance Rumbolt

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Posted March 14 2004 - 07:00 AM

I'm trying to remember the first time I had heard about the upcoming format. Believe it or not I think it was in a 1992 or 1993 Video Magazine. There on the front cover was someone holding what looked like a CD but the words "Top Gun" were blazoned across the shiny metal surface. The article went on to tell of a format that could fit movies on the small disc. I don't even think the term DVD was being used yet. I remember a few years going by, and still looking at that magazine thinking, when the hell is it coming? I wish I hung onto it now, I believe it went out with the last Spring cleaning.

Hey Ric, do you think that might have been a format called CDi that phillips were hoping would become the next big thing in home video viewing? One of my mates had a player and it was terrible, blocking all over the place and flippers to boot!

I remember getting into laser disc in about 95, I remember showing off my super clear discs to my friends and swelling up with pride as they left my house blown away by the experience. Then one of my friends got himself a Panasonic dvd player (this had to have been early 98) and he called me round to check out this new fangled technology. We'd both got a copy of "Starship Troopers" me on laser disk him on DVD. To say I went round there with a firmly closed mind would be an understatement, I was determined not to like it(after all I spent 3 years of my life importing and amasing quite a sizeable laser disk collection!). I can safely say my jaw hit the floor! So much so I made a telephone call to my brother to borrow some money to buy me a dvd player! In the end we imported a Sony from the states at the cost of about £500 and I have never looked back.

Happy birthday DVD.

Lance UK.