View Full Version : Video is dead, long live DVD!

Curious Pax
22nd Nov 2004, 09:28
Apparently Dixons (UK electrical retailer for non-UKers) is going to stop stocking video recorders after Christmas, presumably signifying the start of them going the same way as gramophone turntables.

DVD is the future apparently, and indeed I already possess a DVD player, and like the quality. However I know virtually nothing about DVD recorders, other than vaguely remembering hearing that there is a format conflict a la Betamax v VHS. Can some kind soul fill me in on what that's all about? Are recordable DVD discs reusable like VHS tapes? Will I ever train my mother to operate a DVD recorder, having almost given up after 20 years of trying with a video?

It'll all end up as just more cables under the telly for Mrs CP to complain about!!

Mr Chips
22nd Nov 2004, 09:48
Presumably there comes a point where everyone has one of whatever Technical equipment is on offer (gramaphone/vcr etc) and will no longer replace or upgrade. Does this mean that VHS is dead? Or just the retail of the player/recorder?

Onan the Clumsy
22nd Nov 2004, 12:17
is a format conflict a la Betamax v VHS You've got regions. The US is region 1 and UK is Region 2 I think. THis means if my sister brings me out some (non porno) DVDs, I can't play them here.

Unles, that is, I by a multi region player :E :ok:

22nd Nov 2004, 12:45
The DVD conflict is more about 'DVD -R' and 'DVD +R' although many recorders are now supporting both. It is not as divisive as the high quality Betamax, losing out to lower quality VHS.

I think it safe to say that VHS will be around for 20 years or more. Consider how long the audio casette has been around, after MD, CD and now MP3 have arrived. The sheer quantity of material that people have will ensure this.

Dixons will have made this annoucement for one reason only. To make more money. VHA recorder/players can now be bought for GBP40 but at DVD recorder with hard disc is still close to GBP300. No reason for them to have expensive shelf space taken up with equipment that you can buy at the supermarket or on-line or in any second hand electrical shop. I have two VCRs anyway, so if one breaks down my next purchase would probably be a DVD hard disk machine anyway.

Once again Dixons prove that they are a fantastic money making machine who understand their business.

"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

22nd Nov 2004, 13:18
We have a DVD recorder, its not a bad bit of kit, its had the occasional software hiccup, but we're pleased with it.

We bought it to copy and organise our large VHS tape collection and use once-only DVD+R disks for this purpose. For day to day recording when the VCR is also in use, we use rewritable DVD+RW disks.

The picture quality from DVD is far superior to VHS , even a brand new 3hour tape is not a good as a 4 hour DVD disk, although up to 6hours can be squeezed onto a DVD.

22nd Nov 2004, 13:20
Is that -R and +R like in blood groups Rhesus Negative / Rhesus Positive? :confused:

If so I can imagine why they don't get on well together :E:

itchy kitchin
22nd Nov 2004, 13:25
don't lump videos in the same category as record players.
I refuse to but those plastic silvery things- good old records for me- and that's vinyl.

22nd Nov 2004, 15:16
IK, I'd like to introduce you to your long lost cousin, Tyrannosaurus Rex. You make a good pair. :rolleyes:

Tell me again how CD's miss the true depths of sound provided by LP's, only discernible to those with bionic ears who can ignore all the snaps crackles and pops.

Oh, and while you're at it, tell me how many LP's you've bought recently and for how much? And the car LP player? How's it handling the task?


22nd Nov 2004, 15:52
Nice one, Bins.

Hey, it's the LP Walkman that's cracking me up !

Love to see you out jogging with one of those strapped on yer back, IK ! :p

22nd Nov 2004, 16:37
DVD region locking aka RPC2 is a nasty piece of anti-consumer technology introduced so that media companies have more control over who can watch their films, where & when. It has **no** benefits for the consumer.

It leads to the unacceptable situation where you can buy a perfectly legal DVD in one region eg the US but not be able to play it on your perfectly legal DVD player in another region eg the UK.

RPC2 relies on firmware coding ie the built-in software that controls the DVD player, to read what region code a DVD has & restrict/refuse access if the code isn't correct.

There is an earlier standard of region locking called RPC1. This now relies on the movie player software refusing to play an 'incorrect' DVD. In other words, the DVD player hardware isn't locked. So, use player software that *doesn't* implement region locking & you can play DVDs from anywhere**.

In many cases it's possible to convert an RPC2 player/drive to an RPC1 device by overwriting the built in firmware with a version that doesn't implement region locking. www.rpc1.org is an excellent source of information & firmware for doing this.

Also do a search on the computer forum. It's been covered before with quite a bit of useful information.

**Note: Some computer operating systems also conform to region locking. Roll up M$ Windoze XP.... If you use XP & a PC DVD drive then you will also need software to overcome the operating system region lock. Plenty of available - and free - software to do this. I use 'DVD Region Killer'. Works a treat. As far as my computers are concerned there is no such thing as region locking. I've flashed the firmware in all my DVD drives & run Region Killer to thwart Microsh!t & use 'Media Player Classic', a non M$ lightweight player to play all my video media files.

Erwin Schroedinger
22nd Nov 2004, 17:27
The DVD incompatibility issue still is'nt convincingly sorted yet, I feel.

OK, so there's multi format DVD machines at the mo, but how long before money making ruses render, for example, some formats obsolete and there's no machines to play them?

Plus (or is that minus?) ......how much do blank DVD disks cost per hour of "VHS quality" recording, for the sake of fair comparison?

Maple 01
22nd Nov 2004, 18:23
Cost of a DVD -R in the UK about 50p, Set to 6 hours VHS quality =8.3p per hour

tony draper
22nd Nov 2004, 18:58
Apparently DVD will only last about another five years something much better on the horizon, twas on the news tonight, I think its called a Raid Disk.it can record twenty hours of tv progs.
I have time lapse VCR that can record 960 hours on a standard 180 tape.
So there

22nd Nov 2004, 21:05
For reasons I won't bore you with I bought a multi-region hard drive DVD recorder a couple of months ago. It is an amazing bit of kit with an instruction manual the size of Space Shuttle user guide. And more complicated. I haven't the first clue of what to do with it other than play pre-recorded DVDs. I don't use the hard drive to record TV programmes for later viewing as I have Sky+ which is a damn sight easier to use.

It cost me 480. :* :{

tony draper
22nd Nov 2004, 21:09
One tends to throw instruction manuals in the bin then have to rumage for them a week later.
Me nephew lent me a digital camers,picked it up and took a few snaps no prob,downloaded them to the puter no problem, then made the mistake of reading the instruction manual, couldn't do a feckin thing with it after that.

22nd Nov 2004, 21:17
Interestingly enough, BALIX, the Space Shuttle User Guide (or SSUG, as we like to call it) is not as complicated as most people seem to think.

It reads:

"Stick your finger on this button and ... HOLD ON TIGHT !!!!!!!"

22nd Nov 2004, 22:59
Also don't forget that if you want to watch US DVDs in the UK or vice versa you'll need a TV that is PAL/NTSC compatible or a DVD player that can output one format to the other or the colours will be b:mad:d up.

23rd Nov 2004, 15:33
Is this digital technology any good?

I've got a digital camera, which takes photo's which look like blocks of lego when enlarged, and a digital setbox thing for the telly, which keeps switching itself off, and freezes if it rains. I'd check the weather forcast, if the damn red button worked.

I've got a dvd player, which doesn't let me fast forward easilly. I can't record any programmes on it, if I could, I couldn't take the tape out, let the kids watch button moon, and put the tape in when I've finished. And I can't watch old episodes of the "A team" so lovingly collected over the years.

CD's - miracle in modern technology ? until they stick and jump.

If I chair a meeting, I need to wait until some pratt works out how to input his PDA before I can arrange a future meeting date. (What's wrong with a diary, rubber and pencil.)

I've got a mobile phone which needs updating every few years, I'm tied to one company because of thing called a "Sim" card. Oh, and now they've gone digital, I can't listen in to my neighbours conversations on my scanner.

And finally, I'm sat in front of this thing, which keeps "reminding" me to do things, I'd otherwise put off.

Emperors clothes ?

23rd Nov 2004, 16:18
Yup Gingernut, and the thing you used to tell us about this overrated digital technology is powered by nothing more than strings of 1 an 0s as well.

And if it is anything like mine it keeps freezing up and causing no end of annoyance.

As they said in Animal House - Digital Technology? Can't live with it, can't live without it.

Or was it women????

23rd Nov 2004, 20:54
There are probably a million kilometres or more of domestic VHS tapes in the world, and perhaps a quarter of a million kilometres of Betamax (or the rare ED Beta).

Broadcast TV stations probably have about the same amount of broadcast formatsarchived, going right back to the old 2-inch Quad format. If you think domestic tape formats are bewildering, try dealing with Quad, 1-inch C-format, Umatic, High-band Umatic, Standard Betacam, Betacam SP, Digital Betacam, Betacam SX, DVCpro, DVCpro-50, Digital-S...thats a list of the commonest western-world broadcast tape formats used over the last 30 or so years.
(If you want to see how many different videotape formats exist, search for "Quadruplex Park" with any search engine.)

On that basis alone, cheap (and "repair-by-throwaway") VHS players are likely to be around for quite a while yet. The technology of tape is well-established, excptionally reliable and cost-effective. There is what manufacturers like to call a huge "established user base" out there - and they are your potential customers for the next technology. You have to look after them.

On the broadcast front, TV stations the world over face the daunting problem of which footage to archive - and how best to archive it. Domestic users have the same poroblem on a smaller scale.

Already 2-inch Quad machines are becoming scarce, as are technicians who know how to operate, adjust and repair them. 1-inch C-format machines are starting to appear on scrapheaps now. About a year ago I junked 50 C-format tapes - unscrewed the flanges from the hubs, smashed the tape off the hub with a hammer and sold all the aluminium bits for scrap. Kept the lovely metric machine-screws (12 per hub) though. The tape was dumped in a skip.

Umatic decks are sold for a few dozen dollars in full working cindition - and the seller will usually give you two hundred Umatic cassettes included in the price. Standard Betacam decks can be had in working condition for a few hundred dollars.

The venerable (and bomb-proof) Sony BVW-75 Betacam SP player/recorder, once selling for an equivalent rate of ten thousand dollars per ten kilos weight, now changes hands for a few thousand dollars, probably with several spare circuit boards. A BVW-75 could only be destroyed by a a direct hit from an anti-armour round...well, not quite, but it was, and still is, a very rugged piece of gear.

Even early Digital Betacam decks are appearing on the second-hand market at genuinely affordable prices...and they are backwards compatible with all the analogue Betacam formats. One Betacam SX deck, known as the DNW-75, we call "garbage bin"...provided the cassette can physically fit via the loading-slot, the deck will play the tape, with output in SDI with embedded audio as well as analogue video and audio outputs. We really love this machine although I am not enamoured of Betacam SX compared to Digital Betacam.

As for the miniature formats (DVCPro etc), they too have their place, most commonly as newsgathering formats...putting them direct to air was not the intention, although you can put almost anything to air - once - if it is news.

Digital Versatile Disk (DVD) offers the next generation solution to the image storage problem, as well as shrinking physical storage requirements due to the ruthless compression techniques associated with MPEG2. Like many others I am currently archiving all my camera-tapes (in three different formats) to DVD, simply to preserve them from the insidious onset of tape signal-to-noise degradation, visible as "black noise" on the replayed image. Wise domestic and professional users are all doing likewise.

The problem with tape is two-fold:-
i) the tapes themselves gradually deteriorate, both electrically and physically, over time, and
ii) older formats become technological orphans when the playback equipment necessary for them is no longer available due to unservicability, for whatever reason. Such images are effectively gone forever.

Is tape therefore dead? Not, not by a long way yet. But it is dying, albeit slowly. Today's domestic videotapes are not being produced to the same quality levels as they were twenty years ago. My best archived VHS tapes happen to be the oldest ones...when tape was built to last. Each VHS tape I burn to DVD is junked once the DVD has been verified as properly burnt and playable. The Betacam SP tapes get bulk-erased and marked for re-use unless there were serious dropouts, in which case the tape is also junked. The S-VHS camera-tapes are burnt and archived ...the footage on these was expecially difficult to get and I haven't come to terms with throwing them out - yet.

So, if you want to preserve your VHS (or Betamax, or any other format) tapes, buy a DVD recorder, or build a computer to edit video, render it into MPEG2, author and burn DVDs, and preserve what you wish to retain.

And just hope that whatever the boffins/manufacturers introduce to replace DVD is backwards compatible. Commercially it makes sense to do so...sales of non backwards-compatible equipment are likely to be rather slow.

23rd Nov 2004, 21:02
I don't understand, but can appreciate, the signal to noise ratio argument. If I transfer my precious tapes to a silver disc, will it still work in 20 yrs time ? My abba cassettes from 20 yrs ago still seem to work. (ok they're a bit dull).

Looking back at my kids growing up, should we forsake reliability for quality ?

Capn Notarious
28th Nov 2004, 14:39
I have an inkling that Maestro Draper is on a hot trail.
For on many occaisions he Pprunes of the guitar. So shall we take up our instruments and do away with all the formats. This may even re-kindle the art of polite conversation.