Last night I rented the venerable, Oscar-nominated film “Kung Fu Panda.” The McDonalds Redbox device sure comes in handy for those evenings Rebecca and I want to watch a movie on a whim. The problem is that we are usually, if not always, unable to enjoy the full-length of the film. This unfortunate state of affairs is due to the rather troubling disadvantages that come along with DVDs. We agreed that it’s a shame that VCRs may permanently sail off into the sunset. There are many reasons why VHS is vastly superior to DVD that include:
1. No scratching. The primary problem with renting DVDs is that you rent something that bears the permanent abuse of past renters. Their careless actions scar the delicate DVD surface making some chapters literally unwatchable. Filmakers should be outraged at the notion that many viewers have to forsake 5 to 10 minutes of the movie to move beyond the damaged section of the disc. True, VHS tape can also be damaged, but it is rather uncommon and cab be blamed on a defective VCR rather than a clumsy renter.
2. Rewinding is much easier. DVD rewind features are simply absurd. You either get painfully slow or stupidly fast when trying to isolate a specific scene of film. Too often you do not have the fineness to find the happy medium. VHS had one speed that was coherent and sensible and a fast one for taking on large sections. Though, I have not compared the two, I do know that you can to where you want with VHS pretty easily.
3. Queuing up a scene is easier. If you have ever had the unpleasant experience of sitting through a lecture where the poor soul fumbled with the problems of finding the right chapter and using the clumsy fast forward feature (see #2 for details) you will know that the days of public speaking with VHS were much easier.
4. You can fast forward through all the crap at the beginning. I loath watching previews and advertisements for things I don’t care about (this also applies to movie theaters). DVDs regularly lock their start-up sequence forcing you watch whatever the producer wants you to watch. It’s tyranny of the remote and want my clicker to be free from all constraints.
5. Dolby Pro-Logic is adequate. It is true that DVDs have a clearer picture and better sound, but you really don’t capture it unless you have a high end sound system and TV. I got into home theater during the Pro-Logic days and it is more than adequate to meet the listening needs of the average consumer (they are low as evidence by the home theater systems you can by from any electron store). Those that want the improvements DVD brings become technology snobs and end up spending a lot of money that could be spent on books or time with friends or loved ones.
I have only liked DVD for watching a TV series (the chapter selection feature is advantageous). Other than that, bring back the VCRs.