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Happy 7th Birthday, DVD! Remembering those Early Days


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#61 of 76 Tim Hoover

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Posted March 15 2004 - 06:38 AM

I bought into DVD in late-spring of '97. I was in Sears getting ready to buy a new lawnmower, and since the model I wanted was a bit out of my pricerange, I applied for a Searscharge. I got approved at a rather high limit, and since I had been ogling DVD for a short while, I thought what the hell, and bought a Toshiba 3006. I then ran down to Suncoast (only place in the area then stocking DVDs) and purchased Blade Runner, Austin Powers 1, and The Fifth Element.

The Tosh player was returned a few months later, upon the release of Starship Troopers. It had some video problems which became very apparent during the ST menu, so it was exchanged for a Sony 3000 model. I kept this player in use for about a year, before stumbling across a Panasonic DVD changer. A changer! Being the lazy guy that I am, I immediately grabbed the Panny C220 and the Sony was relegated to bedroom duty for a few months before it was sold to a coworker.

I actually got quite a bit of use out of the 220 before it started going spazzy. It was replaced last summer by a Panny CP72, and the 220 is now pulling CD duty in my office system...
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#62 of 76 MikeEckman

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Posted March 15 2004 - 07:31 AM

My story of DVD is a bit different. I didnt get my first player until spring of 2000 when the first players were starting to hit the $199.99 price point.

However, my introduction was way before that. I worked at Best Buy from 1995 - Aug 1997, so early in Feb when DVD was about to be announced, we had some marketing people (I dont even remember for what company) come in to give us a training on it.

I worked in the Computer department, so my training was about the advantages of DVD-ROM, but I remember the video presentations where they talked about multiple angles, the potential to have multiple versions of the same movie on a disc. Alot of the features they talked about them turned out to not be very popular as the years went on, but the one thing that was clear to me, was the picture and sound quality.

I never bought into LDs, but I knew they looked and sounded cool, but being a teenager back then, I could never afford one.

Since then, I am on my third player and I have over 430 titles in my collection! Posted Image
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#63 of 76 Jesse Skeen

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Posted March 15 2004 - 09:54 AM

Well, it's been alive longer than CED! I thought for sure DVD would look like crap and it would fail, and I'd end up picking up players and discs on clearance for my dead format collection. Then I thought it might succeed, but still look like crap and take out laserdisc at the same time, giving that format an even greater setback than it had before. Glad to see I'm not always right! My main player is a LD/DVD combo player though, and will stay that way at least until I can upgrade to SACD/DVD Audio, if HD-DVD doesn't come along first.
BTW I have that first Panasonic demo disc and while it did look like crap in the stores, it looks fine on my system, even the "Twister" clip.
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#64 of 76 JayHM

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Posted March 15 2004 - 12:56 PM

The first movie on DVD I ever saw was Mortal Kombat on store display. I was actually appalled by the compression artifacts (lots of blockiness), and I swore I'd never replace my precious laserdiscs with junk like that.

Not to mention that there weren't any titles available that I wanted. I forgot about DVD for a few years, and it wasn't until Apocalypse Now was released, in glorious 5.1, that I switched over. I sold my laserdisc collection just in time. I remember I got $150 for the Indiana Jones trilogy on eBay! My laserdisc player didn't fare so well, selling for a measely 20 bucks. DVD players had just undergone a major price drop, and nobody was interested in buying an old laserdisc player.

Now it seems laserdisc players are going back up in price, maybe because some purists have become impatient with waiting for their favorite titles to come out on DVD.

#65 of 76 Patrick Mirza

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Posted March 15 2004 - 10:16 PM

As a devoted laserdisc fanatic, I was dead-set against DVD. Absolutely hated it with every core of my being. But then the Virgin Megastore switched one of its viewing stations (which always ran letterboxed LDs, thank you) to DVD. And that, as they say, was that. I couldn't believe the colors and the black levels... I just stood there slack-jawed. Thanks, Virgin!

#66 of 76 Dave H

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Posted March 16 2004 - 01:57 AM

In 1999, I was at Media Play buying the newly released, remastered version of Raiders of the Lost Ark on widescreen VHS. They had The Matrix on display playing. However, the player was $500-600. Finally, the day after Christmas of 1999 I went to buy a player and almost every place was sold out. I ended up buying one at Montgomery Wards for $299.00 (Sony).

#67 of 76 Devin_C

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Posted March 16 2004 - 04:39 AM

I was never into Laserdiscs, and only moderately into VHS (mostly Disney; including buying the widescreens when available). I had first heard of DVDs in an IT context back in the 1994-1995 timeframe; one of the guys I worked with at the time told me about this new optical disc specification that would hold as much as 4 CD-Roms; I recall thinking "whatever would one put on that?" Hard Drives were still being measured in MB back then...

A couple years later I saw a copy of Tomorrow Never Dies at Zellers (think wal-mart, only canadian). This was the orange case, and I thought "slick!". Bought it as an incentive to getting a player. Bought a Toshiba SD-1900(?) at Price Club a few weeks later (I had a friend with a membership sneak me in); paid ~$300, iirc. (A heady price for someone at the income level I was at at the time).

Got it home and to my horror my Sears brand 21" TV didn't have component... or composite, just coaxial. After that purchase, a new TV was not an option. After some 'net research, I learned I had to race off to the Rat - er, Radio Shack and buy some kind of plug-in converter thing that would take the video feed and convert it for my TV. The salesman didn't even know what I was talking about, but I managed to find it. Fed the audio into my 2 speaker crap shelf stereo (KOSS?), which was the only way to get sound.

Get it home, fire it up, and I was still impressed. For some time, I was the only person I knew with a player; and I rented more than I bought (I told myself it was because I was trying to encourage adoption, not because I couldn't afford to collect a lot). I extolled the format to everyone, even as the "status symbol" effect dwindled with increasing adoption. I recall being delighted when Blockbuster indicated they'd devote a third of their stores to DVD, and was bemused by the death of DivX (which didn't seem to make it up to my neck of the woods anyways).

I recall early buys as much for the discs I sent away for (US Marshals, anyone?) as for the purchases themselves (Alien Legacy was my first box set). My first big system upgrade about two years later was a new 27" Toshiba TV - with component. I went out and bought those component cables and nearly fainted at the price (~$80); I had to distract my girlfriend (now my wife) from seeing them getting rung in by telling her to go enter some contest at the store. The picture was fantabulous - blew away my old crappy picture by far.

Bought a home theater in a box setup later that same year. Blown away again; this time by the sound. I tried it out with the DTS Saving Private Ryan. Great stuff. Since then I've expanded to two more DVD players, a Pioneer and one of them newfangled 'progressive' Sony players, and expanded to a 34" widescreen toshiba (should I mention I was blown away by seeing an anamorphic movie on that screen?). Each new tweak/investment has surprised and delighted me. Happy birthday, DVD.


#68 of 76 Chris Bardon

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Posted March 16 2004 - 07:15 AM

Well, I remember being aware of the DVD launch, and actaully being really anti-DVD for a long time after watching a few on a friend's player in 98. Specifically, his copy of the Usual suspects had some really bad pixellation at the beginning, which put me off DVD for a few years. Around late 1999 though I started to become more and more convinced that I needed a player, if only to get widescreen and special features. I was already buying a bunch of WS VHS (and P&S when I couldn't get WS), mostly through a few Columbia House runs. Held out on the player until June of 2000 though because of the student budget thing, and finally broke down one Tuesday for a couple of reasons. First, Fight Club was being released that day, and second, I could get one of the Apex AD-600A players for $200 CDN. The player got good reviews at the time, and the "loophole" menu sealed the deal. Of course, I ended up getting the version with the corrected firmware, but by that point it was already bought and installed.

Four years and 257 more dvd purchases later, and the Apex is still going strong! Happy birthday DVD!
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#69 of 76 SteveW

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Posted March 16 2004 - 07:38 AM

Wow I can't believe it's been that long already. I was one of those people who took to DVD quick. Before video stores ever thought of renting them. I got my first player, a Sony DVP-S500D, in November of 1997 as part of my first full HT. Alot of people I knew and associated with on the net said I was stupid for it because there was no way DVD would catch on. I had a gut feeling. The only place to get DVDs for a reasonable price was online though. The first batch I bought was from dvdexrpess.com. Got a real good price for being a first-time customer.

Personally I never got into LD just because of the cost factor so I put my money on this new format. I always loved the pq and the sound of LD from my days of selling a/v equipment in the late 80's. I remember the Pioneer LD players we used to sell and loved doing demos with our Top Gun LD. I'm really glad my hunch paid off and DVD caught on. And the future looks even better.

#70 of 76 Britton

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Posted March 16 2004 - 09:15 AM

I remember first reading about DVD sometime ranging from late 1995 to early 1996 in Electronic Entertainment Monthly back when I was a high school freshmen and immediately thought it was a great idea.

However I didn't get on the DVD wagon until July 1998 when Best Buy was selling the Creative Dxr2 DVD-ROM drive bundled with a mpeg2 hardware decoder card for $200. My dad bought The Terminator and T2 while I picked up From Russia With Love. The funniest thing was that I didn't know what the hell the options for English 5.1 or English 2.0 in the T2 audio menu meant. If there were different versions of the english language, someone sure as hell forgot to tell me about it!

#71 of 76 oscar_merkx

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Posted March 16 2004 - 09:36 AM

the first time I encountered Laserdisc was at a show in the Netherlands called the Firato perhaps 10 years ago when they show T2 Judgement Day in full glory. Stunning but so expensive that I never considered that an option.

Forward to 1999 and the first I heard about DVDS was when George Lucas was interviewed on Channel 4's Breakfast show promoting The Phantom Menace and was asked when would Star Wars be available on dvd, and we all know how long it has taken.

I did not know what dvd was at the time but TF.N was quite vocal about dvds and I found The Digital Bits website which in turn led me to the HTF not long afterwards.

Long time lurker at first and my first dvd was R1's T2 UE before I had my first player. My first player was r2 because a friend sold his and I was buying online dvds from r1 suppliers so I had a problem. I was not able to watch them, so I sold the player and a few months later got my multi region player and have not looked back since

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#72 of 76 Mark Basile

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Posted March 16 2004 - 04:28 PM

I remember first seeing DVD in Best Buy in the spring of 1998. I had been a laserdisc owner and had a few titles, but the cost was fairly prohibitive. New Line had put out Dumb and Dumber, and Se7en, on a format known as MovieCD, and I thought that was an interesting idea, but never quite bought into it, as I figured it to be lower-res than laserdisc. Then I saw DVD being touted as a quality delivery system for movies, both in picture and 5.1 sound. I had to have one and bought a Toshiba 3108. My first three titles were Tomorrow Never Dies (which I'd never seen), Twins (still MAR to this day), and Conspiracy Theory. I was blown away by the superiority over even laserdisc, and instantly became hooked on it.

I'll never forget hooking up two separate amps and three different speaker sets to hear Dolby Digital 5.1 for the first time when Top Gun came out in late 1998. I'd had the laserdisc, and heard it in Pro-Logic for years (like the rest of the world), but I remember the channel separation being astonishing, especially in the split surrounds effects. Then I heard about DTS being even better (LOL..from who else but Widescreen Review. God bless them...) and ordered Apollo 13 from DVD Empire (formerly DVD Express), and bought a 5.1 receiver. Sounded excellent, but I didn't appreciate the difference in the two formats until I got my Paradigm Active 5.1 speakers and Denon 5800.

I'm still using the 3108 to this day with a 55" analog Toshiba. I still think the picture is great, although HDTVs blow it away with progressive scan. For anyone who has owned one the early players, honestly how much better are the newer players as far as picture quality? I know my TV needs serious upgrading, but are the new DVD players a significant jump as well?

This was fun. And whoever said we'll be doing this again when HD-DVD comes around, they are right. I don't know if it will be as much fun, but most of us will definitely enjoy it.

#73 of 76 Dean_Jonesy

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Posted March 17 2004 - 01:55 AM

Like many other posters here, I skipped the LD generation due to the cost of LD's. I did read about DVD when it was first launched and I immediately knew it was going to replace VHS and LD, but knew it would be a matter of time. The players were so expensive and it was hard to find a good selection of titles (for me anyway) at first so I held off. My parents had bought a player when the price came down to around $300 (Sony DVP560D) and were enjoying theirs. I was out of college and living away from them but I got appendicitis and had to take medical leave (darn!!). So, I bought "Braveheart" and "The Green Mile" at Sam's Club before I even owned a player. I watched them while recuperating from surgery at my parent's house. That Christmas I asked for "Toy Story Toy Box" and got it! And I still didn't have a player. So after Christmas, I decided it was time. I had 4 great movies. I got my first Sony DVD560D for $300 just like mom and dad. And coupled with a Sony Theater in the box surround sound system I was immediately hooked. I was living with 4 other guys in this huge house at the time and I was a little selfish with my DVD so it was in my 10x13 room in the house. But after I bought my condo, I also bought a HD ready Sony 34KBR800 widescreen direct view tube. That is when I started joining Columbia House again and again and started collecting more DVDs. Last year I gave my brother my Sony and upgraded to a Pioneer progressive scan player. Personally, I hope HD-DVD is a long way away cause, I dread having to upgrade my library! I know how LD owners must have felt a little bit when a little known format called DVD was coming out.
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#74 of 76 Mike~Sileck

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Posted March 26 2004 - 03:16 PM

Just out of curiosity ~ I know a lot of people mentioned "when i first bought my first dvd player I couldn't hook it up because I didn't have the RCA/Composite imputs, so i bought a new tv..." or something along those lines...

Didn't they have the RF Modulators that they have out now? I know they existed for video games (N64, Playstation) so I find it hard to believe they didn't exist for straight rca to co-ax. I dunno, I was just a young'n back then, so maybe I'm just a spoiled kid with a Radio Shack nearby, and didn't realize this was the way things always were.......I just thought I'd comment because I was concerned all these people bought brand new tv's when they really didn't need to...

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#75 of 76 Steve Schaffer

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Posted March 26 2004 - 04:12 PM

Mike,

While you and I knew about RF modulators most wives didn't....
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#76 of 76 Jay Blair

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Posted March 26 2004 - 08:52 PM

I embraced DVD almost immediately, having followed the birthing pains of '96, and then purchasing a Toshiba 2006 for $485 at the dearly departed Dave's in Studio City the first week of April 1997. First DVD was Blade Runner. It took literally 30 seconds of watching a DVD demo for me to know that laserdisc was dead. I resisted all of 3 days before laying down the cash, even with concerns about pixelation (that fortunately were largely unfounded). That hurt because I had a very large LD collection at the time, starting from the early 90's when laserdiscs finally started becoming widely available widescreen. Criterion has cost me a lot of money, because without the siren call of their product, I probably would not have gotten into LD.

My home theater roots go way back to the 70's with a 16mm projector purchased with two friends. I mostly skipped over the Beta/VHS and early laserdisc phase of home theater because the software wasn't letterboxed. So my home theater experience was 16mm until the 90's, and even then as much of a fan of LD as I was, I was still disappointed in it because it suffered in comparison to the 16mm films I was watching. But then came DVD and I knew 16mm was in many ways (but not all) finally beaten and laserdisc would also soon die out.

DVD was film paradise, at last, having both the quality I wanted at an affordable price and the extras that 16mm lacked (other than trailers).