DVD vs VCR

As time changes, so do advances in technological devices. Nowhere is this
more apparent than in the area of popular entertainment where home videos are
found in nearly every American’s home. The fact that many people own home
videos isn’t as intriguing as the type of equipment that is being used to view
these videos. At one time video cassette recorders were commonplace in homes
across the U.S., but nowadays, a trend towards a new device is making headway;
digital video disk players. The videos these two devices play may be the same,
but there are also stark differences between the two.

The first television sets hit households in the U.S. in the late 1930’s and
by the 1970’s the first videocassette recorders, more commonly referred to as
VCR’s, hit the market. Marshall Brain’s website Howstuffworks.com states;
“When people think about the history of television, there are a handful of
events that stand out as extremely important. …The VCR marks one of the most
important events in the history of television because, for the first time, it
gave people control of what they could watch on their TV’s.” This is a
comment that is widely accepted by a wide variety of people worldwide. Before
VCRs, consumers had to watch what the broadcast stations decided to put on the
screen but with VCRs, these same people could now buy, and record their favorite
shows and view them whenever they wish. VCRs work by storing video information
on a plastic cassette filled with an 800-foot roll of oxide-coated Mylar tape.
The VCR reads this tape and projects its information onto a television where the
user views it. Putting information onto videocassettes is easy enough that
nearly all-new VCRs are capable of doing so.

VCR prices can be found below $100 and videocassette prices hover around ten
dollars at many large retailers across the Midwest. A major reason for this is
that VCRs have been available for years and competition to make cheaper VCRs
have driven down the prices. Also, new advances in technology have led to new
devices again driving down the prices. The storage space that VCR’s consume is
moderate when compared to other types of multimedia, but the videocassettes take
up more room because of their composition.

Operating a VCR is a common routine in middle class America mostly because
they have been around for so long. Manufactures have been coming up with new,
interesting features to keep users coming back. Some of these include,
automatically skipping commercials, programming a VCR to record in conjunction
with a TV guide, and allowing a VCR to start and stop recording at particular
preset times.

Nearly every major retailer carries videocassettes from exercise videos to
great American classics like Gone With the Wind and Casablanca. VCRs are often
common at places like Best Buy, Circuit City, Target and countless other stores.
The availability of VCRs and videocassettes is better today than it ever has
been.

In the future, VCR and videocassette prices will continue to drop as
manufacturers keep devising new ideas to appeal to their customer base. By
becoming commonplace in homes across the United States, VCRs have a stronghold
on the market but with new technologies hitting the shelves, VCRs forecast for
the future bears a burden.

Leading these new technological devices is digital videodisks recorders more
commonly referred to as DVD players. These players become available to the
public in the early to middle 90’s and have grown in popularity ever since.
The major problem with digital versatile disk players is that most people don’t
know what they are and why they are superior to their current media players.
John Ross’ book DVD Player Fundamentals claims, “DVD or "Digital
Versatile (Video) Disc" is a new audio/video/data format that promises to
offer consumers more quality, flexibility and value than any other previous home
entertainment format.”(3). Simply put, DVD surpasses any type of home video
players on the market.

With DVD players, consumers can still buy and watch their favorite shows
repeatedly but with distinct advantages. For example, many current DVD players
have features not available on VCRs because of their digital characteristics.
One of these more interesting features is zoom. With this feature, users can
pause a video and zoom in on a particular area between four and 12 times.

DVD players work by reading information stored on a disk digitally. The disks
themselves, look identical to conventional compact disks, but store more than
double the information. Since DVD technology uses digital disks, they can play
not only videos but also audio compact disks. One downfall of this complex
digital media is that manufacturers have not