DVD: Tomorrow's VHS, or Betamax?

Will DVD bevome the new standard for home movies, like VHS is now, or will it just be another new technology that’s now quite rare, like Betamax (only used by TV professionals) or MiniDisc (I keep seeing ads for it on TV, but I know absolutely no one that actually has seen a MiniDisc or a MD Player). I would guess that it becomes relatively standard, because it has many more features than VHS (for example, easy searching with chapters, subtitles, behind-the-scenes stories, etc). I’ll hopefully be renting a DVD player sometime this week, along with The Matrix, so I’ll find out soon.

And also, does anyone know of plans for a DVD-RAM Camcorder? You know, record movies and play them back at home, with no conversion - if they could do that, DVD would replace VHS in 5 years.

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– George Carlin

I don’t know anything about DVD but unless you can record on it, it won’t replace VHS.

Yes, it looks like DVD is going to replace VHS and not be some Betamax. The comparison sucks however. VHS and Beta were two competing formats of the same medium. DVD is a whole new medium, and there is no other option available which can do the same things.

The only other posibility that could be created now is using solid state memory simlar to a Hard Drive, or flash cards like in digital cameras. This could happen someday, but the materials are costly (DVD/CD’s are very cheap) and they are big and heavy. One competitor now is a solid state digital video recorder. Its basically a VRC type machine that saves TV programs like a VCR does, but uses a hard drive like your computer. There is a limited space, and you can’t remove the stored programs, save them externally and view on another machine. When all TVs are linked to the internet and you can download from one machine to another this may become an option, but any external drive to save to is going to use some version of an optical disk and therefore use the indusrty standard (ala DVD).

The main reason DVD is working, and MD is moving slow, is because there is a greater need for DVD. DVD is a huge improvement over magnetic tapes. CD’s were a huge improvement over magnetic tape. The evolution of DVD and players is going to parallel CD’s, not VHS. MD on the other hand isn’t replacing a greatly flawed system. The only problem is that CD’s aren’t recordable (soon to be a non factor for more people), they skip (not a concern for many), their size (this will help) and their durability (the biggest factor). While the MD improves these factors, there isn’t much that forces CD owners to update. Chances are that CD and MD will exist together, and ther few who need a skip free, recordable, durable sound system will buy one, and copy their CDs to MD as they need them. There is no insentive for people to completly replace CD’s. Cassette tapes were perishable, CD’s last forever, the big difference.

As for the next Betamax, that was DIVX, and it has already folded. It was a different format on the same medium. The buyers spoke and the winner has been crowned, start shopping for a DVD, it’ll be as useful as your CD players and your CD-Rom.

A few more things. DVD-RAM is a misnomer, there can be no such thing. DVD just describes the type of medium used. You mean digital RAM, yes it exists in your computer, and in several digital camcorders.

About recording. DVD recorders will likely be common in the future. Back to the CD-cassette/DVD-VHS comparison. You will notice that cassette recorders are still common, and included in many cars, and almost all portable stereos and bookshelf systems. So it really not fair to say CD replaced cassettes. Now with CD burners becoming common and affordable cassette will soon disappear. DVD will live along side of VHS for a while, DVD being choice for new buyers and renters, but everyone keeping a VCR to tape shows, and make bootleg copies. When DVD becomes cheaply rewritable like CD is now VHS will finally die.

When I said DVD-RAM, I was just commenting on something I saw as an option for a computer - ie, you could get the standard CD-ROM, a DVD-ROM, or a DVD-RAM - which I assumed was a ReWritable DVD drive. I don’t know why it was called a DVD-RAM, and I agree that it doesn’t make any sense.

{quote]I don’t know anything about DVD but unless you can record on it, it won’t replace VHS.

That’s what they said about CDs too…

My opinion is that this is the real deal. A format’s acceptance in these matters is all about the availability of software. One of the things that did in the Beta, in spite of its advantages over VHS, was that the Japs thought that a technically superior product would be enough, whereas Americans asked, “But what can I play on it?”

Turned out that VHS becamse the format that movie companies and distributors wound up using, making Beta a $300 paperweight within a couple of years.

Whereas DVD (well, the companies) are making movies available, and most companies seem to be offering new and catalog titles in the format, often with bonuses like extra footage - kinda like how when CDs came out, they offered “bonus tracks” that were not on cassette and vinyl.

Combine this with the fact that it has been heavilly involved with the computer industry - it just ain’t practical to drag your VCR onto a plane to watch a movie - and this portability (also an advantage CDs had over vinyl) adds to the allure.

DVD is here. Get used to it, as it ain’t goiong anywhere for a while (probably)…

Yer pal,

Why not?

Actually I would guess the reference he saw really was talking about DVD-RAM, not solid state RAM. DVD-RAM is available today, and there are official international standards for it and everything, although I’m not sure why somebody would buy it since the recorded media (as far as I understand) are not compatible with normal DVD drives.

DVD-R and DVD-RW seem like more interesting formats to me, since the resulting recorded media can be played in normal DVD-ROM drives. They’ll start out expensive, as CD-R was, but get cheaper over time, as CD-R also did, I wager.

peas on earth

I must point out, contrary to the OP’s message, Betamax is NOT used by TV professionals. The Beta in common use at television stations and production companies is only tangentially related to the Betamax gathering dust in your closet. They use a similar internal transport system, and the tape cases themselves are nearly identical, but the formats are NOT interchangeable. The professional Beta (originally known as High Speed Beta, but now refereed to as BetaSP) records a much higher quality and higher resolution image than the standard Betamax. The tape runs much faster through the professional machine, also. A standard small format BetaSP tape runs for 30 minutes. The same length of tape packed into a Betamax case recorded at the standard Beta II setting would last for two hours.

This is a common misconception, BTW. Tom Clancy, who takes great pride in his novel’s technical accuracy’s, has a reporter take a BetaSP tape home to play in his Betamax machine. Couldn’t happen! If you want to watch that BetaSP tape, you need the same $20,000 playpack machine that I have to use.

And back to the question at hand… I agree that the proper model for comparison is CD vs. audio cassette tape, not VHS vs Betamax. There are no format wars with DVD, just as there were none with CD. DVD and VHS will co-exist for a time, with most consummers seeing and using advantages in both.

Well, not since DIVX died a deserved death.

Someone upthread asked about MD and someone else mentioned it in their answer but didn’t explain what it was. MD is “MiniDisk”. It’s a recordable mini-CD. The disks come in small square cartridges 1-2 inches on a side. The disk stays inside the cartridge. (Think of a floppy disk; the magnetic disk stays inside the plastic housing.)

MiniDisks are recordable. The recorder/player looks like any other piece of stereo equipment. There are also walkman type players.

Sony is trying to position MiniDisk as a replacement for compact cassettes.

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DVD is essentially nothing more than a small laser disk. They didn’t catch on particularly well. And the ability to record is still a major advantage for VHS tapes.

Of course, there may be other factors at work. Vinyl records went kaplooey not because of better quality from CDs (though that was a factor) but because it cost manufacturers less to make a CD and they could charge more – in other words, higher profits. I don’t know the price structure for DVDs, but I suspect they cost less to produce than tapes.

Still, the ability to record is a big selling point for tapes and until DVDs can do that, there will be plenty of people who will want the recording capability enough to pass up DVD players. Once they can record, then tapes will phase out. (There could be a middle ground, where VCRs are used only for recording and DVDs only for playing movies).

And, of course, something will come around in another ten years to make DVDs obsolete, too.

Not to divert the topic–but does anyone remember RCA’s CED disks???

Actually, it has been proven that CDs did NOT and DO NOT offer better sound than vinyl. This has been proven by audiophiles the world over by simply playing CD and vinyl back-to-back of the same material.

On even a cheap stereo, vinyl offers richer lows and better highs. CDs might be better for midrange, however, but again the seperation was far better when 12 inches was the medium.

You are correct that the manufactuers and labels helped usher CDs along.

Also, vinyl degrades a lot easier and as anyone who has ever listened to old records can attest, this degradation results in popping, hissing and other audio anomalies which also gave CDs the perception of sounding better.

Durability is the point, Satan!

Yes, I know… “vinyl offers richer lows and better highs” but most listeners don’t hear these distinctions, and it’s only true of virgin albums, anyway. The only vinyl that EVER sounded better than a CD was straight out of the wrapper plyed with a new stylus. Run that diamond through the groove a few times, and subject it to normal handling and you loose that edge. And playing new vinyl side-by-side with a CD is meaningless because the difference is so slight as to be only noticable on comparison.

Where CD really shines is its permanence and durability. No scratches, pops or hiss. That’s worth the bucks right there as far as I’m concerned. And yes, CD’s can go bad too, but they last much longer than vinyl and sound better over the length of that lifetime.

The same goes for LaserDisc and DVD. I suppose eventually the aluminum recording surface will fall away from the plastic bonding, but those discs will outlast any given VHS cassette, will survive extreme conditions better and will give a nicer image throughout it all.

Well, goddam, so now all my VHS tapes and my new VCR are going to the junkpile in a few years? Sonofabitch.

I am still ticked off at how the music industry ripped us all off by saying, “oh, all your albums ands cassettes are now obsolete–you have to junk everything and buy CDs. Hahahahah!” Bastards. I still haven’t bought a CD player, because I know the second I do, they’ll come up with some new piece of crap to make THEM obsolete.

I just give UP.

Recordable DVD machines will be marketed next year. I’m sure they’ll be expensive initially, but you will see huge price drops.

DVD software sales are beginning to match and in some markets surpass VHS sales each month. I bought my player in January, and the visual and sonic advantages over VHS are so obvious from the get-go, I can’t imagine going back.

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

This may be true with commercially available movies and DVD players but it is not true with DVD-R. There are several different formats and, unfortunately, if you record with one brand/format, it will most likely not be playable in other brands/formats. Do a search and you’ll find that the storage capacity for recordable DVD media varies (all typically around 4 GIGs though). So if you have a Pioneer DVD Recording drive, you must buy Pioneer (or Pioneer compat.) media, as well as having a Pioneer compat. player.

All of this is somewhat moot as a recorder will set you back about $5,000 and media isn’t cheap either.

Sound quality, schmound quality.

The nice thing about CDs is you don’t have to get up after twenty minutes to flip 'em over. This has done wonders for my sex life.


Made my sex life better too, although I like flipin 'em over every twenty minutes!

I’m not enough of a connoisseur to tell the quality difference between vinyl and cd, or between vhs and beta. I even listen to music on AM radio.

To me, the big attraction in DVD is all the extra stuff that it has, like interviews and outtakes and such. My question: If and when DVD finally kills the vhs market, do you think the manufacturers will continue to go to the extra expense of those goodies?

Goodness, Ike, from what I heard tell, a 45 rpm was quite sufficient, she said, digging her spike heel into his foot.