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In praise of VHS!

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71 replies to this topic

#1 of 72 OFFLINE   Brian Kidd

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Posted January 25 2002 - 12:03 PM

Hold on a minute whilst I don my asbestos suit. There. For a long time now, I've read post after post discussing VHS as if it were a boil on the butt of the Earth. I'm here to defend good old fashioned videotape. Before you light the torches, let my clarify things a bit. I love DVDs. They have brought me great joy. However, we would not have our beloved shiny discs, were it not for the ground paved by VHS and Betamax. Before vcrs began to creep into the average home, the only way to see movies was in a theater. If you missed one, you might be able to catch it on television in edited form if you were lucky. Otherwise, forget it. If the movie was not terribly successful in the theaters, odds are you would never see it released again. Home Video changed all that. Suddenly, you could watch your favorite movies over and over again or rent a movie that you may have missed in the theaters, but still want to see. This changed the way that we entertained ourselves forever! No, the picture and sound wasn't as good as you could get in a theater. No, most movies were not in their OAR. But they were there! You could watch them! Before VHS, movies could very easily die a quick death. Not after. So before you start the bashing, take a second to remember that were it not for VHS, this board wouldn't exist and the world would be a whole heck of a lot less interesting. Thanks for your attention. I'm gonna go pop a tape in the player.
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#2 of 72 OFFLINE   DeathStar1



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Posted January 25 2002 - 12:14 PM

That be very true. We had a Mono VCR in the early 80's that came in very handy for the first Decade or so. I didn't get my first Hi-Fi Stereo VCR untill 1996, and boy do I wish I had done so sooner.

But VHS has so many problems, it's laughable compared to DVD. The most noteable is wear and tear. It seems like a few months of watching a tape can wear it down, case in point my Star Wars, 4-6 tapes. I might have to purchase the new re-releases just to get a better version of 'em, wich means the third time I've repurchased the thing on VHS altogether.

The other major problem, is tape breakage. You have a VCR that starts to go bad, it can chew up your tape, forever ruining the episode in question if you don't have a backup. This has happened to me with many an episode of my favorite TV Series, that I can never replace again. Sure, the tape can be repaired. Unscrew the casing, snip with scicors, and scotch tape it back together with a tiny peice, but it's still not the same...

VHS did have it's advantages, but it seems like the disadvantages where far more troublesome Posted Image.

#3 of 72 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted January 25 2002 - 12:20 PM

A more proper homage might be directed at the LaserDisc as the true progenitor of home theater as we know it today. I never have liked VHS.

#4 of 72 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted January 25 2002 - 12:22 PM

Beta is Betar!
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#5 of 72 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted January 25 2002 - 12:23 PM

But why praise VHS? The only reason VHS caused the home video revolution is that was our only real choice. As for the format's technology: it was outdated when it debuted. Think about it... here in the states, the NTSC video system has been in place for 50 years - and VHS couldn't come close to taking advantage of the resolution, chrominance or luminace ranges of the 50 year old standard. When you get down to it, technology allows far better than DVD can deliver... but we'll never see it. A large part of the barrier to quality images has not been technology, but politics and corporate greed. -Scott

#6 of 72 OFFLINE   Tim Hess

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Posted January 25 2002 - 12:24 PM

No doubt. My SW: Trilogy SE is worked over right now. Gping to have to pick up another set, this will be my fourth set Posted Image (not all SE).

#7 of 72 OFFLINE   Jerry Gracia

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Posted January 25 2002 - 12:25 PM

SHH! Don't tell anyone about the many non-OAR, cable TV recorded movies I used to have in EP mode on VHS...DOH!
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#8 of 72 OFFLINE   Scott Weinberg

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Posted January 25 2002 - 12:26 PM

Heck, I don't think anybody would bash VHS for the years of movie-watching bliss its given us...

But praising VHS for 'paving the way' is like me celebrating my 8-track player because I love my CDs! Posted Image

#9 of 72 OFFLINE   DeathStar1



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Posted January 25 2002 - 01:33 PM

Ahh, 8 tracks. We have an 8 trakc player still, but I beleive only two 8 track tapes left. One is a familly recorded thingy that was dated Christmas 1983 Posted Image.

Gotta convert some of that stuff to CD one of these days before it's too late.

#10 of 72 OFFLINE   Michael Taylor

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Posted January 25 2002 - 01:37 PM


But praising VHS for 'paving the way' is like me celebrating my 8-track player because I love my CDs!


I agree! I never even heard of home theater, let alone cared about one, until the advent of laserdisks. VHS only opened the eyes of the studios to the fact that there was a lot of untapped marketing potential.
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#11 of 72 OFFLINE   Nate Anderson

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Posted January 25 2002 - 02:16 PM

I also agree that VHS first introduced the masses to movies at home, but I also agree that laserdisc was the better format at that time. That said, I've never owned a laserdisc or laserdisc player.
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#12 of 72 OFFLINE   gregstaten


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Posted January 25 2002 - 03:48 PM

True, if it weren't for VHS, I wouldn't have bought my very first full length movie: STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. It was the very first film released for sell thru way back in 1982(?) or thereabouts. (I had previously purchased short films and cartoons on Super 8mm.) By 1989 I had about sixty films on VHS. Then I bought an LD player and within weeks had dumped all of my VHS titles. I haven't watched a film on VHS since the eighties (and I know I'm not the only one on here). To be perfectly honest, this forum has LaserDisc to thank, not VHS. If it weren't for LD and innovators like Criterion, the material some take for granted on DVDs (widescreen, commentaries, special editions, and so on) wouldn't exist today. I'd put money on it. -greg

#13 of 72 OFFLINE   Jonathan Perregaux

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Posted January 25 2002 - 03:57 PM

No! Now, go away or I shall taunt you a second time-a.

#14 of 72 OFFLINE   Drew Mertz

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Posted January 25 2002 - 04:21 PM

Yeah, and before clothes were created people wore leaves! So should we all go hug a tree? Get Real VHS sucks.

#15 of 72 OFFLINE   Kyle McKnight

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Posted January 25 2002 - 05:41 PM


Before vcrs began to creep into the average home, the only way to see movies was in a theater. If you missed one, you might be able to catch it on television in edited form if you were lucky. Otherwise, forget it.


So you're telling me that you don't consider P&S to be an "edited" version of the film?
Kyle McKnight

#16 of 72 OFFLINE   MitchP



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Posted January 25 2002 - 06:21 PM

Never brought a pre-recorded vhs tape in my life. Had many copies of movies on vhs though. I got into laser disc when they first came out though, big time.

#17 of 72 OFFLINE   Lance Kern

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Posted January 25 2002 - 06:51 PM

Agreed. We have a lot to be indebted to VHS. I still purchase VHS for various titles that have not yet made it to DVD. So VHS is okay by me (for now). However, I have two qualms with VHS (other than the obvious superiority of the DVD image): 1.) Limited shelf life (videos will eventually "expire" no matter how well they are taken care of); and 2.) the studios/manufacturers seem to have let quality control slip. An inordinate number of VHS tapes I have purchased recently (from major "name" studios) suffer from "drop out" at certain points on the tape (usually near the very beginning or the very end). Mind you, not all the videos I have purchased are defective but a noticeably growing number have "drop-out issues". I am told that the manufacturers are using cheaper tape nowadays. Obviously, this will not help their longevity. Although it seems the days of VHS are definitely numbered, the posts I've seen about DVD "rot" over the past few months have left me with questions about the future viability of DVD. Personally, I would rather invest in a VHS tape that lasts for 7 to 12 years (sometimes longer) than the much more expensive DVD counterpart that lasts potentially only.....say.....3 to 5 years? What is that old saying?.....A candle that burns twice as bright lasts half as long? I am very interested in a definitive answer to the DVD rot phenomenon.....but that is another thread.....

#18 of 72 OFFLINE   Dan Hitchman

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Posted January 25 2002 - 07:44 PM

Pay homage to Criterion laserdiscs. Without them paving the way for OAR and extensive supplemental material, we wouldn't even be where we are today.

Down with VHS!! Posted Image


#19 of 72 OFFLINE   Jesse Leonard

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Posted January 26 2002 - 12:58 AM

Everyone may now hate the quality of VHS, but we cannot deny its importance. VHS, for the first time, brought cinema into the home at a very affordable price. New releases as well as old classics were given new life. It gave the masses the ability to watch movies at their convenience, not having to rely on television reruns or movie house revivals. Sure, Laserdisc was far superior technically to VHS. But, the cost and availability of LD kept it out of the homes of the masses (which many will agree was a good thing). While LD is the forefather of the technical side of DVD, VHS is the forefather of the "watch a movie at home" concept.
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#20 of 72 OFFLINE   Gary Kellerman

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Posted January 26 2002 - 04:15 AM

VHS gave the opportunity to go out in the field with a tv camera and a portable recorder to make personal videos of family, friends and vacations with sound. In 1984, there were cameras and portable recorders that were recording in linear and hi-fi stereo. Depending on the machine,the camera and the quality of the microphone used(whether built into the camera or the use of an external mic)one could get quite good results on this format at that time. Of course, today we have much smaller units to handle that can outshoot VHS and record digital stereo sound. I believe I read on some website that Hitachi will have camcorders that will record in DVD-RAM and DVD-R for the new year which could be the forunner of getting away from tape. Lets, face it, when you are born and wake up the next day, you are not an adult. All things take time to supposedly be made better. VHS and even BETA gave us something we never had before their arrival, the ability to control what time you wanted to see a program when it was convenient for you to do so. If the phone rings, or somebody comes to the door, you do not have to worry about missing a particular show it you personally have pre-recorded it off the air. You just stop the machine, do your business, and sit back down and finish what you were watching. I have Laservision and DVD,but I will not put down tape formats against the other two formats even over the 250 line resolution. The other two formats have their ups and downs too.

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