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 FORMAT WAR OF THE 1970s & 1980s

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PostSubject: FORMAT WAR OF THE 1970s & 1980s   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:09 am

Prior to the 1970s we had many format wars most being audio but by the 1970s and the arrival of home cinema entertainment we now had a new war.
In the 1970s we had the arrival of ced video discs , laserdiscs , beta & vhs cassettes. What a choice consumers were faced with ,what to buy?
Well its much easier today to see which format is superior but at the time of the release of all these formats it would have been a difficult choice to make.
Now looking back there was really only one new format the laserdisc, ced was a vinyl record and beta and vhs cassettes which had already been in production for many years. All the other formats would deteriorate over time due to the continued wear that the vinyl and tapes would suffer with each time that they were played. Laserdiscs on the other hand could be played as many times as you liked without any deterioration and so long as there were looked after they would last a lifetime. All other formats that followed were now based on the same technology cds, vcds , dvd , blu ray and most video games from the 90s to the present day. Laserdisc was clearly the superior format but if I had to make the choice of which format to choose in the 1970s and early 80s Im not sure which one I would have opted for.

home entertainment 1981 - youtube video
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PeaceMaker1

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PostSubject: Re: FORMAT WAR OF THE 1970s & 1980s   Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:25 am

Well, if we are going to seriously rewrite history...

I would have had two! Yep, no messing around with settling on one for all. Definately two for me. The two I would have chosen would have been Laserdisc for just watching films and S-VHS for my recording needs.

On a decent screen and with a good machine, there was not too much of a drop between what LD did give and what S-VHS could give. On my old SANYO 32" widescreen TV, my JVC S-VHS machine's output actually looked pretty good, well over that of SD-VHS.

Plus there was always the snob factor that you could aim at folks, out to borrow a recordnig off you "...oh I'm so terribly sorry, mine is in (hides self satisfied inner laugh) SUPER-VHS so it will not play on your (thinks....'common, little') machine"
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laserkb

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PostSubject: Re: FORMAT WAR OF THE 1970s & 1980s   Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:26 am

I seem to be cursed by an uncanny ability to pick the 'loser' whenever faced with a format choice - although that was never how I saw things at the time.

Home video came along in the late 70s: I chose Betamax (it really did have the edge technically over VHS, but the great British public, as always, went for cheapness over quality) and, in the end, with such built-in obsolescence, I was dumping my priceless library of home-taped classics into the council skips.

Then Satellite TV arrived in the early 90s: I invested in the British system, the original BSB (British Satellite Broadcasting) with its 5-channel D-MAC decoder and 'squarial' (does anyone remember those smart white diamond-shaped dishes?) and it was really very good. The Galaxy Channel was one of the prime outlets for DOCTOR WHO re-runs, but Murdoch's Sky sacrificed quality for quantity, got on the air a few weeks earlier and stole BSB's thunder. Two competing systems were never going to work (despite the government's 'de-regulation', 'free market' and 'competition drives up standards' mantras) and both were losing money hand-over-fist. BSB lasted about 8 months before the inevitable merger that wasn't a merger (a 'takeover' by any other name, etc.) so that was, for me, another failure.

Now for the big leap forward: laserdiscs. They'd already been around as a niche-market alternative to VHS for about 10 years when I decided to start collecting. Having been twice bitten before, I took out insurance this time in the form of multiple-player ownership and when, in 1999, I saw the writing on the wall I knew that LDs had had their day. But I didn't abandon them - unlike Betamax tape and BSB dishes, laserdiscs have proven their worth and durability many times over. I haven't spurned DVD, but LDs remain my format of choice.

I'm now at a stage where I no longer feel the need to keep up with every latest advance in technology and every spin-off in product development. I don't, for example, have a mobile phone where, it seems, other people are changing theirs annually because it's the wrong colour or something! If I was in my 20s or 30s I'd probably feel different; I'd be excited about new things and would want to be a 'first adopter', but now I'm happy with what I've got and see no reason to keep up with the technological Joneses.

Still, if anything REALLY new comes along with a format choice, just wait until I've established my own preference, then you'd better opt for the alternative as mine will be guaranteed to fall by the wayside.
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