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Old 23-11-2012, 10:14
Soundbox
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Last evening I was watching the BBC Doctor Who movie from 1996. The film still felt fresh and up to date with some good CGI and would still look good on TV today (if not better than what we get now).

However watching it made me realise how stagnant the AV market was at that time. That the film was only released on VHS is not a problem as such, but thinking about it such shows should be seen in as high a quality as possible and as digital was not up to speed at that point the following could have been implemented in the mid 1990's.

1. Offer new and popular titles on S-VHS.
2. A new analogue format after 10 years of VHS (around 1992) with 500+ lines resolution. This is needed for modern films.
3. Bring down Laserdisc prices and get the format into homes (like DVD after a few years).

As much as I like VHS it hurts that we are still relying on this format for so many films that are still not out on DVD or BR.
Why is it that the AV market got so stagnant around this time just when films started getting 'modern'?
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Old 23-11-2012, 10:40
Chasing Shadows
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Don't know if you are aware but it is available on DVD - and has been for eleven years. Amazon have it second hand for seventeen quid.

The reason it wasn't released on DVD at the time is that the mass DVD market started two to three years later.
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Old 23-11-2012, 12:36
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7.98(used) on Play.com http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/33876...ngDetails.html
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Old 23-11-2012, 13:38
captainkremmen
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Last evening I was watching the BBC Doctor Who movie from 1996. The film still felt fresh and up to date with some good CGI and would still look good on TV today (if not better than what we get now).

However watching it made me realise how stagnant the AV market was at that time. That the film was only released on VHS is not a problem as such, but thinking about it such shows should be seen in as high a quality as possible and as digital was not up to speed at that point the following could have been implemented in the mid 1990's.

1. Offer new and popular titles on S-VHS.
2. A new analogue format after 10 years of VHS (around 1992) with 500+ lines resolution. This is needed for modern films.
3. Bring down Laserdisc prices and get the format into homes (like DVD after a few years).

As much as I like VHS it hurts that we are still relying on this format for so many films that are still not out on DVD or BR.
Why is it that the AV market got so stagnant around this time just when films started getting 'modern'?
S-VHS wasn't a big seller. Unfortunately the Hollywood studios and major film/TV companies generally wont release large numbers of films/TV series on a product such as S-VHS until it starts to pick up momentum. Although quite a number of S-VHS recorders were available they were never mass market enough for the studios to justify releasing on the format. A few titles were available from what I remember, but they never sold well. Plus too many people really didn't have the larger TV screens at the time to justify a higher quality format. It was much better quality than VHS, but perhaps not quite enough for most people to consider switching, and the recorders were over double the price of a standard VHS VCR too. I owned (and still do own) 2 S-VHS machines, a Panasonic and a JVC, and they are both still going strong.

There was a better format, D-VHS. OK, it wasn't analogue it was digital, but it had that high resolution and excellent sound too. But my God was it expensive (the cheaper recorders were around 1000 back in the mid 90s if I remember) and the tapes were very expensive too. Only a very limited number of pre-recorded films were available, and it suffered the same lack of support as S-VHS, in fact even more so. Plus it was way too late, DVD was on the horizon.

Laserdisc had several launches. During the early 90s it was again relaunched, and this time it was moderately successful. Lots of titles were released and there were quite a few brands of players available (although most were re-badged Pioneer players). But just as it started to appear in rental places and more local branches of HMV etc. DVD was announced, with promises of higher quality picture and sound and it was the final nail in the coffin of Lasedisc.

DVD could have went the same way as the others mentioned, but it had several things going for it. It had the backing of most of the major film studios, had the backing of pretty much all of the major hardware companies, the PS2 was launched with it's built in DVD capabilities, it was in some respects backwards compatible in that it could play CDs (and in most cases VCDs which were never very popular here) and the picture and sound quality were very markedly superior to VHS.
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Old 23-11-2012, 18:57
David (2)
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I think also a lot of people didnt like the idea of over sized discs, eg Laserdisc.

I do remember that early on the D-VHS thing (even at 800+) looked like it might take on DVD, as it was tape, and the machines could play your current VHS collection, and you could record as well (you couldnt on DVD for some time after pre-recorded dvd launched), and D-VHS even had slightly higher res, was it 515 lines compared with 500 on pre-recorded DVD? However, the rest of us thought we would wait just a bit longer for DVD to get sorted, afterall we wanted to get away from tape, even if it was digital, and in the real world i wasnt sure anyone would notice the extra 15 lines quality on D-VHS. So it came to pass, DVD won, and then came recordable DVDs and PVR (hard drive recorders like Sky+), and from there the rest is easy.
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Old 23-11-2012, 21:09
Soundbox
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I remember the DVD launch - working in the trade at the time I went to a show about it. It seemingly took years to get going though and for the first few years releases were not that great quality - I remember some very grainy ones even from the big studios. Also I am sure it took until at least 2002/3 for all titles to get a simultanious DVD/VHS release - especially the comedy and live shows.

I just wish the studios had pushed for better quality themselves. Remember how some directors refused to release pan and scan cuts? They should have done the same with S-VHS - say that our film gets the best treatment only or push for S-VHS and VHS realeses together.

The late 90's is not long ago really, yet we were still being fed low quality. People deserved better. The technology was there yet not sold/markeded correctly and was stifled for some reason. People don't even know what S-VHS is and yet it would have been great with films like Jurassic Park or Terminator 2.

To cap it all the VCR's from the late 90's (when DVD was not yet established) were worse quality that those from a decade prior. Madness...
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Old 23-11-2012, 21:28
alan1302
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The late 90's is not long ago really, yet we were still being fed low quality. People deserved better. The technology was there yet not sold/markeded correctly and was stifled for some reason. People don't even know what S-VHS is and yet it would have been great with films like Jurassic Park or Terminator 2.
Most people would not have cared though - it all comes down to price. People will buy something that's not as good if it's cheaper. Many people would rather pay 5 for a DVD over 10 for a Blu Ray or watch something streamed off YouTube rather than paying a few quid for it.
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Old 26-11-2012, 19:17
D.Page
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Last evening I was watching the BBC Doctor Who movie from 1996. The film still felt fresh and up to date with some good CGI and would still look good on TV today (if not better than what we get now).

However watching it made me realise how stagnant the AV market was at that time. That the film was only released on VHS is not a problem as such, but thinking about it such shows should be seen in as high a quality as possible and as digital was not up to speed at that point the following could have been implemented in the mid 1990's.

1. Offer new and popular titles on S-VHS.
2. A new analogue format after 10 years of VHS (around 1992) with 500+ lines resolution. This is needed for modern films.
3. Bring down Laserdisc prices and get the format into homes (like DVD after a few years).

As much as I like VHS it hurts that we are still relying on this format for so many films that are still not out on DVD or BR.
Why is it that the AV market got so stagnant around this time just when films started getting 'modern'?
It's true, S-VHS was only ever a niche market in the UK. I do know that in Canada, for example, pre-recorded material was available on S-VHS, but the market was way too small for anything like that, here in the UK.
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Old 26-11-2012, 19:31
D.Page
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S-VHS wasn't a big seller ... I owned (and still do own) 2 S-VHS machines, a Panasonic and a JVC, and they are both still going strong.
That's certainly true, here in the UK, but other countries took to the format in a bigger way. I'm a great fan of S-VHS, myself. Like you, I have S-VHS decks to this day - a Panasonic NV-HS1000 and a couple of Panasonic NV-SV121's (I also have a couple of JVC HR-S7000's still in the attic). I used to have an awesome Grundig GV280S S-VHS deck, which was a beautiful machine. I paid 1295, back in the early '90s for it!

There was a better format, D-VHS. OK, it wasn't analogue it was digital, but it had that high resolution and excellent sound too. But my God was it expensive (the cheaper recorders were around 1000 back in the mid 90s if I remember) and the tapes were very expensive too. Only a very limited number of pre-recorded films were available, and it suffered the same lack of support as S-VHS, in fact even more so. Plus it was way too late, DVD was on the horizon.
I had a JVC HRD-725EK VHS deck, back in the latter part of the '80s, which cost about 750 (first JVC deck with Hi-Fi Stereo / Dolby 'B' NR-equipped Stereo on the linear tracks). When comparing the price of this JVC deck, and also taking into account inflation, 1000 for a D-VHS deck in the mid-'90s seems very good value!
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Old 26-11-2012, 19:50
Menoetius
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I was working for a well known hifi retailer in 1996.
'96 saw the introduction of a beast of an AV amp by Yamaha - the DSP-A3090. Their flagship model and their first to have a brand new format: AC-3. There it was - the introduction of Dolby Digital. No DTS decoding, that came later on the DSP-A1.

But the 3090 was a fantastic piece of kit. I've owned two. With its multichannel analogue input it would still do a great job today with a suitable blu-ray player.

I still work in home cinema and hifi sales. Today, Yamaha have the excellent RX-A3020 at a similar price point.
But, sixteen years on, the DSP-A3090 can almost do the same via the multi channel analogue input. This old amp can still belt out DTS Master Audio. The sound quality was top notch.
It sounds brilliant. Built like a tank, weighing 20 odd kilos, awesome with music and movies.

So there we have it, 1996 was the year that brought us the future of surround sound.
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