A Trip through Home Entertainment Time

A while back reader James came to my rescue with some video tapes so that I could do a VHS vs Blu-ray vs DVD comparison. I grabbed the video fairly quickly, then procrastinated for ages. In the end, though, I finally pulled it together and published a multi-page piece in a recent issue of Sound and Image magazine.

Now I’ve put it up on this site. Basically, I’ve grabbed the same frames from three different versions (VHS, DVD and Blu-ray) of three different movies, and put them side by side.

See the piece here: ‘Gettin’ better all the time: VHS to DVD to Blu-ray‘.

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2 Responses to A Trip through Home Entertainment Time

  1. Simon Reidy says:

    Excellent comparison Stephen. Thanks for taking the time to post that online as I missed the original print version. It’s amazing to look back at just how bad VHS was, but you’re right when you say it was still the biggest leap forward for home entertainment.

    As much as I love the huge improvement to picture quality from both DVD and Blu-Ray, I still think the biggest improvement these formats have delivered is the preservation of the original cinema aspect ratio. Even the original non anamorphic letterbox DVD’s use to amaze me with how much more of the picture you could see, and at last the Director’s original intentions weren’t being destroyed by the horrors of pan ‘n scan.

    The jump from analogue stereo/Dolby pro-logic to Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS is also a profound one. I’ll never forget the first time I heard Terminator 2 in Dolby Digital. Sent shivers down my spine 🙂

  2. Stephen Dawson says:

    My first experience of cinematic surround sound was actually Dolby Stereo (the cinema name), what we call Dolby Pro Logic in a home entertainment context. It must have been 1977 and some friends took me to see Star Wars at a Sydney cinema. The sound of the spaceship coming overhead from behind at the start was amazing.

    My first even surround sound experience predated that, though. It was the four channel ‘quadraphonic’ version of The Doors’ L.A. Woman album. A school friend, Bradley, took me to his home and played ‘Riders on the Storm’. Incredible. I already loved music. From then I was wlao hooked on hifi (although, of course, proper surround sound in the home sputtered out and died for a quarter century).

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