Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How dead is the VCR?

I love the user interface that most VCRs present to me. They make it intuitively obvious to see a movie, to see where I am in a movie, to fast forward, to run backward, to jump back a short distance to catch a spoken word thatI missed. Someday there will be DVD players that present an equally simple user interface, instead of falling all over themselves to make you aware of the strengths, and the non-movie-like differences in the way video is recorded on them. But meanwhile, if I have a choice, I'll rent the tape, not the DVD.

Oh, you say the tape will be half worn out? Well the rental DVD, unlike the DVDs we actually own, will be full of disfiguring scratches that prevent parts of it from playing at all, so let's not go there, okay?

In preparation for the new Harry Potter movie, we've been seeing the previous ones. ON VCR so far! We returned tape two a little late, and I had an inspiration. Our local video rental place is getting rid of its tapes by selling them for little more than a five day rental plus a late fee. The first three Harry Potter movies were in stock, ON TAPE, and I bought them together, a sweet package deal, with a fine discount for having been so foolish as to rent the first two. So now we have them.

And now I know how dead the VCR format is. The Harry Potter DVDs are hot items. No DVDs were in stock for each of the H.P. movies I wanted. It makes sense that the VCR versions of these movies should be hot right now, much more valuable to the rental place as rentals, than as sales.

If anybody wanted to rent them, that is.

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