||I cannot believe what I am reading here. You guys post some pretty sensible, common sense opinion pieces, a bit extreme at times maybe. But this is just rubbish, like hiding your head in sand in the face of facts. I'm so worked up I can't create an account here fast enough (just send my password already!)
Here's the deal about DVD vs VHS, as I see it.
- 1. DVD picture quality is better
It _is_ better. A properly transferred and encoded DVD will have none of the artifacts you see on VHS tapes, even on first play. The picture does not degrade, and whether you like it or not, you cannot see the compression. The image is clear, sharp and rock solid.
In regards to the study you mention, well, a study is a study is a dime a dozen. College students are hardly qualified to judge picture quality (there are _many_ other factors affecting response, like order, viewing conditions, instructions, etc). And 'Big Momma's House' is hardly a movie worth using for a picture quality test. You show me a study, I'll show you a dozen contradicting studies.
- 2. DVD sound quality is better
I hesitate to tread into the tired old digital vs vinyl territory, but looks like I have to. I don't care what anyone says, what they demonstrate or however many sound wave curves they show me. You just can't compare vinyl to a high quality digital recording. Here is why I say this, even if I never heard vinly (which I have, I own a dozen records which I enjoy). People who are vinyl advocates usually spend tons of money on sound equipment, and as a result even a Barbie walkman recorder would sound better on it than on your average stereo. You play _anything_ from _any_ source on a $100,000 system, and the difference you'll hear is the sound of $99,500, not the difference between vinyl and CD.
Warmth my ass. If you like the hissing and crackling from analog sources, good for you, save yourself some money. You can't tell me 48kHz, 4 channel + bass doesn't sound as good or better than (at most) 4 channel VHS sound track. It's bullshit, but of course you're welcome to believe whatever you want.
And while the human ear demonstrably cannot distinguish more than 4 sound sources, the keyword you omitted is 'separate'. Four _separate_, _distinct_ sounds. Your brain will just concentrate the most 'important' 4, and ignore the rest. But 5.1 is not about _separate_, it's a more immersive 1 or 2 sources, spread around you so your brain preceives them as more believable. If there is anything selling DVDs, it's the sound. It's so easy to dismiss until you hear it properly, then anything else just pales in comparison.
Finally, the reason CDs appear to sound like crap is because the popluar ones do. They're designed to be played on FM radio. I dare you to venture outside the Top 40.
- 3. DVD preserves better than VHS tapes
Obviously the DVD media is more fragile than the bulky industrial strength VHS cases. Anything is. You don't listen to audio on VHS tapes, do you, you have CDs right? (or vinyl, whavever makes you happer) Hardly convinient.
Yes you can _play_ VHS tapes dozens of times, and again, it's fine for your kids, and it's fine for _watching_, but the picture quality is no longer there. You can see it, you can measure it, don't try and deny it. VHS is 'good enough', but doesn't compare to DVD quality after several viewings.
- 4. DVD has lots of "special features"
You got no argument from me there, I fail to see the value in most of the 'special' features out there, most DVDs will have the movie trailer, some commentary, maybe a couple deleted scenes. All equally useless.
Where I do see the value of the DVD features is in the multi-language soundtracks and subtitles. I enjoy watching a foreign film in its original sound with subtitles. It's great. Also if a movie is widescreen, most subtitles will go below the picture on regular TVs (the movie is letterboxed), and I usually watch even English language movies with subtitles.
But you completely miss out on all the advantages of DVDs, and even slag them for one of them. Seeking. How can you possibly think VHS seeking is better than DVD? First of all, it's way better quality than VHS, your friends must have some really shitty bargain-basement players. Second, try seeking to the middle of the movie on a VHS player... not very convinient, is it? Not only can you seek faster on DVDs (my player has at least 6 seek speeds, FWD, FFWD and VeryFFWD, duplicated for rewind), but DVDs are also divided into chapters, which are conviniently indexed on the case insert. Skip chapters for even faster seeking!
I would recommend anyone buying new AV equipment (like, say, those moving out, or replacing old stuffs) get a regular VHS player (today's sub-$100 CDN players are easily better than even the best platers of 10 years ago), and a good mid-range DVD player ($200-400 will do you fine), a SVHS or component input TV set. If you need to save money anywhere, do it on the sound system, even though that's easily the best attribute of DVDs, save up and get something decent later.
DVDs _are_ the AV future, all upcoming equipment is geared towards them. Widescreen, high resolution TV sets are getting more affordable, so are better quality sound systems as more and more people demand them. Think it's silly to letterbox movies? You won't be the one laughing when your neighbours are enjoying the classics in all widescreen glory on their new widescreen TV. Virtually all new movies (and more and more older ones) are being released on DVD, and old classics are given new life (remastered, etc) on DVD.
Yes, the DVD industry _is_ designed to extract the maximum cash from its customers, but in this case customers are getting a decidedly better product. Just because someone happens to be making someone money on DVDs in the process is no reason to be fighting it.
I can see arguments based on the technology implementation (viewing controls, ie, can't skip the fbi warning, etc) (as a sidenote, many DVDs allow you to skip these warnings, and not just the 'underground' obscure titles), zoning (which is just ridiculous), licensing (a CSS license costs, what, $200,000?), and the whole big brother, conspiracy air about DVDs. But the points you mention are just laughable, you can do better.