Obsoleted Formats - Let's 'ave it! ;D

vbimport

#1

I love obsoleted formats. I think they are great, to be honest guys. Admittedly, I don’t have any such kit other than a Sanyo VCR (Produced around 2003) and a Sony VCR (Produced in 1991), and about a hundred tapes mainly consisting of TV programmes and films recorded from the television a few years ago.

However, I’ll just give my insight into obsolete formats, from what I know of them. Suppose we have VHS / Video 2000 / Betamax / LaserDisc just to rub it in a bit :slight_smile:

Released slightly before the VHS, we had the Betamax invented by Sony and soon the format wars really kicked in between them during the 80s. Although it’s picture and sound quality was slightly better than their VHS, after a gruelling format war between the two formats, the VHS was hailed a winner.

Why was this so? Reason being the “blueprint” if you like to making the VHS system, invented by JVC in 1976, was sold at a very low cost to third party manufacturers who only had to pay a small production fare. As this happened, manufacturers wanting to cash started to really mass produce recorders which drove the prices of them right down.

Betamax VCRs were only produced by Sony, and they didn’t sell out their schematic which meant that Sony could charge whatever the heck they wanted for their recorders. They weren’t as mass produced which meant that Sony could not sell the recorders competatively.

Even though the Beta offered slightly higher resolution, this was so marginal that it became irrelevant. People picked up VHS recorders for two reasons. One - People were starting to pick them up quite cheaply, and as such, tapes were cheaper as well. Two - Beta could only store a maximum of two hours per tape because their shells were smaller, whereas the VHS system could store an ideal length of 4 hours. By the time Beta caught up with tape length, VHS was becoming a clear winner.

But what about Video 2000? Good point. There was no real market because they were pushed out by Beta / VHS - and I think people ( wombler comes to mind :wink: ) only bought such system when popularity was beginning to wane in the late 80s.

They might have not been a great format, but since they were pushed out of the market, they were becoming throwaway prices, and apparently had the best tracking system of all three tape formats. However, it worked very similar to a cassette - To get to the second side, you had to flip the cassettes over, VHS nor Beta had this cumbersomeness.

LaserDisc out of all four formats was actually the best in terms of picture / audio quality, whilst not offering the resolution of a DVD, was certainly stable for an analogue format. However, their price of LD players and equally their discs, which were often 4 to 5 times more the VHS counterpart meant they were out of the price range of the average consumber, in particular when they became content with the VCR.

The fact you had to flip em round after an hour was a bit of an inconvience. LD, had the problem with laser disc rot, occured in a shorter time before a VHS would start to degrade. LD players were expensive to produce, and contained poisonous gasses.

Curiously though, despite being the clear winner, it took nearly 30 years to be able to oust the VHS from the market, by which time the vastly superior DVD had a monopoly on sales - The “Golden Age” of DVDs were between 2001 - 2007, and in either case, DVDs are still selling well.

The first film not to be released on VHS was, if I remember right, Casino Royale, a deliberate marketing attempt to shift consumers away from VHS and onto more up to date formats. The last load of videos was sold in 2009.

Now, people are moving onto DVD and Blu-Ray after a similar competition started against Toshiba’s HD-DVD, which the latter lost. The battle was relatively short, however.

DVD’s, however, can still suffer from degrading from poorly produced discs / handling, but it quickly became “The People’s (Digital) Format” as it picked up, if a little slowly, in computers, meaning those producing home videos / AVI Rips could also burn data to the discs from their computers.

The recordable DVD-/+R However became so undercut by so many manufacturers trying to jump on the bandwagon that discs, even quality discs can be bought for peanuts - They were much cheaper to produce than a VHS tape ever was :iagree:

Any comments guys?


#2

[QUOTE=Chad_Bronson;2582895]But what about Video 2000? Good point. There was no real market because they were pushed out by Beta / VHS - and I think people ( wombler comes to mind :wink: ) only bought such system when popularity was beginning to wane in the late 80s.
[/QUOTE]

Speaking of obsolete formats there was also Sony’s U-matic format introduced in 1971 and not long after that Philips’s VCR, VCR-LP and Grundig’s SVR formats.

Oh and wax cylinder before all of those. :bigsmile:

[B]Wombler[/B]


#3

Sony never got over BetaMax and that’s why they fought so hard and spent so much money buying support for BluRay, now they have a winner and finally the price of some of the older movies is within reach.
I got a HD DVD player when the prices finally got stupid cheap just before they gave up, bought a bunch of HD DVD movies while the prices were cheap, then also bought a first gen Panasonic BD-10a Blu Ray player as a demo from Circuit city for 160 so I could keep feeding my HDTV HD goodness when the HD DVD movies would finally dry up.
They should have combined the formats like was almost done but I think Sony was too proud and wanted all the cake for themselves.
Both formats have great video and audio and both machines still play great to this day. I had Laser disk too when I found a great price on a demo player and rented a ton of the disks and taped them for later, no copy guard was built in.
Then DVD came out and in less then a year my favorite store got rid of all their Laser disk players and movies and was renting DVD’s exclusively, which kinda forced me to buy my first DVD player, a Pioneer 525 that had excellent video and audio quality but no extra features like MP3 playback, no JPEG picture support, DIVX, nothing, it just played movies and CD’s.
I also played with reel to reel tape and cassettes back in the day and still own both recorder types to this day though I don’t really use them anymore since I started burning CD’s starting about 98, then moved to DVD’s.
Maybe we need to start a gear and model number thing to compare all the old but mostly good crap some of us used to use and take a trip down memory lane.:bigsmile:


#4

My first ‘Mass Storage’ device was an 8" floppy disk drive. A whopping 128 Kilo-byte single-sided job that used 256 byte sectors. I built the interface on ‘Hobby Blocks’ (a rather flexible breadboarding system) and connected it to my Vic-20. The first OS I assembled by hand because the Vic-20 only had 3K of ram available (1K was for graphics and use by the BASIC interpreter). After I piggy back soldered in another 8 2114 memory chips into the Vic I was able to write a symbolic assembler that was memory resident and developing a primitive page swapping OS was possible. The 6502 chipset that the VIC was based on was 8 bit so the 256 byte sectors each represented a page of memory. I was working on automating the page swapping by using tables and pointers (a primitive directory structure) when I got my hands on the official Commodore 1540 5.25" drive. Now we have 3 Tera-byte drives…


#5

Olyteddy, I did actually mean video formats originally, however, I’ll keep this thread open for other such obsoleted formats :wink:


#6

I’m impressed olyteddy . The first computer I had was a Commodore 64 but I only used it as a gaming console. I did play around a little bit with programing but that was it.
I still have some games on floppy 5.25 & a commodore 1541 drive to play them with.
My favorite is one called Death Sword.
A friend of mine and he is a little younger than me was into the early internet . He has told me about using bulletin boards & a modem with the Commodore. He said the modem had a cradle that an old style telephone receiver was put in. This was used to dial-up a bulletin board.


#7

As far as elderly technology goes - I can only go as far back as the floppy disk - Parents never really bought into the Zip / Jaz drives, which were all but stamped out as soon as the optical disk based technology was reaching it’s height.

We used a floppy disk last, IIRC, in 2003 where we made the transition from Windows 95 to XP. Some of my 50 floppy disks were corrupted, about 4 or 5, but the majority of them were okay - There was nothing of importance on those disks.

I never saught to keep a floppy disk - But I must ask why DO people keep floppy disks? Readers are not produced anymore, their cumbersome is impractical, and when you had two small boxes worth they took up a lot of room compared to the more reliable optical media formats.

Certainly one format I won’t regret throwing out, as with my VHS tapes which are largely either backed up to DVD or recorded again onto DVD :iagree: (Films come to mind) At least, a stable worthy recording solution. Good thing it’s being more and more marginalised as more people snap up Blu-Ray / Hard Drive items.


#8

@ Chad_Bronson , The floppy you have used was a 3.5 inch & you’re correct those have & can be successfully replaced by CD-R & DVD discs.
The floppy that the Commodore 64 uses & this is from an external 5.25 floppy drive is what it uses for data input. There are game cartriges & I have & use them . Not all games were available on cartriges . I will add there was also a drive for the Commodore that used an audio cassette tape . I’ve never used one but there was an external drive that did. The tape was used for data not to play music.
The best part of Death Sword is the jumping spin . When done correctly you cut off your opponents head. Then a little ghoul comes out & drags the body off screen while kicking the head . Pretty cool for a computer that only has 64k memory & only 38k usable . It’s hard to beleive the “quality” of the color graphics in this game.
This is an image from the game:



#9

Hehe Cholla, I know that, I just thought I would throw my floppy disk two penneth in! :stuck_out_tongue: Shoulda made it clearer though, sorry about that!


#10

[QUOTE=Chad_Bronson;2582938]Olyteddy, I did actually mean video formats originally, however, I’ll keep this thread open for other such obsoleted formats ;)[/QUOTE]

Here’s one obsolete since the mp3 came along: MOD files.
Some people back then were highly exerienced and very talented in bringing you 4 channel music with you played via the printer port. You can still listen to such music right here.


#11

Believe it or not (after my comments in the VCR thread) I do actually still support a recently deceased format: Yup, HD-DVD owner here. Then again I made out like a bandit on the format so I really can’t complain.

Bought my player in January 2008 before the format ended (Called in quits in February of '08). Bought it at best buy when they had it plus 2 free additional movies of your choice for $150. I got them to price match it to Amazon at $135 (amazon didn’t have the 2 free titles of your choice in their price, but best buy didn’t seem to care). One of the free HD-DVDs that came in the box wasn’t one that I really cared for, so off it went on ebay for $10. The 2 movies that I picked myself were worth about $15 each and even to this day are still worth it. So my total investment in the player itself was arguably about $95 at that point. Shortly after the format was canceled, I got notification from Best Buy about them being sorry that the format was canceled and to help out with being stuck with the losing format that they were sending me a $50 gift card. So when all was said and done I spent about $45 on the player itself (The HD-A3) and it still is a decent up-converting DVD Player (better than most you could find in the $45 range). About a year later the real fire sales started on the left over HD-DVDs that had not been sold and I was picking up brand new high-def titles in droves for about $5 or less with shipping included. Hard to go wrong when you can own the movie for not much more than a rental.

Even though the HD-DVD format definitely had it’s flaws (ie not scratch protected, more limited capacity), there are still things about it that I love over blu-ray:

  1. The format is region free. You can pick up an HD-DVD from anywhere in the world and it will work on your player
  2. The HDi interface versus Java. Just a personal preference, but I have always found Java to be a buggy POS.
  3. There are still some titles out there on HD-DVD that still haven’t been released on Blu-Ray and even some of the ones that have been released it took them almost 2 years to finally get them on Blu-Ray and they certainly weren’t $5 when they were released on Blu-Ray. Looking at my collection of approximately 50 HD-DVDs I still see 7 titles that have yet to be released. Obviously tastes in movies are subjective but to me it is worth it to have them and the others I got for free/dirt cheap on HD-DVD.

#12

The other really cool thing about HD-DVD was it was final standard from the start, no constant updates, then having to buy yet another newer player if you wanted the latest features. I got the A2 as I like the fact that it converts anything to DTS that it doesn’t output directly to the analog audio outs so supposedly the sound is a bit better. It also does a excellent job of upconverting standard DVD’s and is one of 2 players I use when I want to see my DVD movies as good as they can possibly look.
The Panasonic BD10a is very good as well but not quite as nice as the A2 or my Denon 757 multiformat DVD/SACD/DVD Audio player.
I also got my 5 free movies they did at the very end, many months after Toshiba gave up, plus they continued to release firmware updates for quite a while as well rather then just completely dumping support for their players:clap:


#13

Well I do know that the best time to move on onto a new format is when it is about to be ousted out by rivalry technology or a new format - For example I bought my DVD recorder because they can’t get rid of them now, a brand new one can be got for less than £50 now.

[B]Wombler[/B] was explaining to me about how he bought the Video 2000 format when popularity is waning - i.e. Going cheap, which I think is the best time to get them, which makes them an excellent format for time-shifting - Same reason why I would advise people that can’t afford Sky + to bag themselves a VCR - Charity shops sell these over here for £5 - I know I bought my Sharp for £2.50 from a market! :iagree: #

PS - Quality isn’t too shabby for a VCR :wink:


#14

[QUOTE=Dartman;2583508]The other really cool thing about HD-DVD was it was final standard from the start, no constant updates, then having to buy yet another newer player if you wanted the latest features. I got the A2 as I like the fact that it converts anything to DTS that it doesn’t output directly to the analog audio outs so supposedly the sound is a bit better. It also does a excellent job of upconverting standard DVD’s and is one of 2 players I use when I want to see my DVD movies as good as they can possibly look.
The Panasonic BD10a is very good as well but not quite as nice as the A2 or my Denon 757 multiformat DVD/SACD/DVD Audio player.
I also got my 5 free movies they did at the very end, many months after Toshiba gave up, plus they continued to release firmware updates for quite a while as well rather then just completely dumping support for their players:clap:[/QUOTE]

Yup, forgot to mention the finalized spec. We were getting all of the V2.0 blu-ray features long before Blu-Ray had their 2.0 players out at a reasonable price.


#15

Dartman, I agree with you 100% there - I hate constant updates for things, as far as I see it, bugs in software /firmware should be fixed well before they are sent out to be mass produced. Same reason why I refuse to download iTunes, not only is a slow resource hog, it’s bloated, needs an iPod to sync (Which I don’t have, just a Phillips for me) and constantly needs updating.

BS! :a


#16

I also remember going to buy the original transformers movie, on a great sale, and watching many upset folks trying to get the Blu Ray version:sad:
It took them a bit to release that version and I had it in stock and watched it in glorious HD way before the other format got it.
I think I have about 25 HD-DVD movies, and FINALLY have about the same in BD since the prices finally started hitting reality.


#17

The main problem with Blu-Ray, compared to HD-DVD OR the original DVD format - Is the fact that there are too many needless gimmicks which simply non-plussed consumers.

Many complained that when the DVD came out, there was the problem with menus, needless gimmicks etc being thrown in - VHS never had this, it was just simple press play, stop, eject, rewind. Repeat. They were more expensive than a VHS when they were released - But now technology has shifted so much which makes magnetic tape more expensive to produce than tapes.

Whereas the DVD was revolutionary in it’s own right compared to the VHS - (Stable pictures, chapters, significantly improved sound) The Blu-Ray / HD-DVD format offers no significant advantage for people to move on from DVD. Many more refuse to move onto the HD generation, like myself.


#18

[QUOTE=Chad_Bronson;2583522][B]Wombler[/B] was explaining to me about how he bought the Video 2000 format when popularity is waning - i.e. Going cheap, which I think is the best time to get them, which makes them an excellent format for time-shifting - Same reason why I would advise people that can’t afford Sky + to bag themselves a VCR - Charity shops sell these over here for £5 - I know I bought my Sharp for £2.50 from a market! :iagree: #

PS - Quality isn’t too shabby for a VCR ;)[/QUOTE]

Nope! :disagree:

I never actually bought the Video 2000 format I was just citing it as one of a number of obsolete formats that hadn’t been mentioned yet.

I used a VHS recorder in the pre-digital days like the vast majority of people here in the UK.

[B]Wombler[/B]


#19

Oops, my most sincere apologies Wombler :eek:


#20

[QUOTE=Chad_Bronson;2583703]Oops, my most sincere apologies Wombler :eek:[/QUOTE]

No apologies necessary. :flower:

Was just putting the record straight.

[B]Wombler[/B]