R.I.P DVD 1995-2014

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Technology can be a blessing or maddening. It changes all too often for some of us who are just getting used to one device when another hits the shelves. Some people just can’t resist the latest smart phone, tablet, or flat screen TV in principle. They want to brag about it! If that sounds familiar, you better be flexible these days, particularly in the world of entertainment. If you are like most, you didn’t catch the latest movie or TV show when it first appeared and are now craving to see it. You used to buy DVDs or rent them at Blockbuster (who?). Well, they have gone the way of beta tapes, cassettes, and other obsolete gadgets whose names we can’t even remember.

You might not even recall the groundbreaking appearance of a new invention in 1995 thanks to Phillips, Panasonic, Sony, and Toshiba (was there a mole that leaked info to competitors?). Known as digital optical disc storage (DVD), it solved the problem of the fragile tape cassette. It was an extension of the CD with enhanced capability, although it did require a specific player that you didn’t yet have. We all ran out and bought them of course! They had better data lifespan and were even interactive. It was all about high quality at your fingertips. Then came the DVD-R and a new player to boot! And so it goes on.

It was thrilling. No more broken tapes or damaged playback as with VHS. They were smaller and easy to stow away on a shelf.  They were better than CDs. Players were more streamlined and you could use your computer if it was up to date (or you ran out and got a new one). It was a magical time! You were in charge. Then came Blu-ray and you had to toss everything (at least those obsessed with keeping up). One thing always supersedes another!  Sony gets the credit for this advancement in 2000 (although it was officially released closer to 2006) that boasted of even higher definition than the DVD.

Well sooner or later, there is something else on the horizon, something new to covet in fear of becoming obsolete. Now you can sign up for Netflix, use On Demand, or simply download what you want. There is Hulu and other services to view TV episodes as well.  You can pay for them on Amazon Prime. I must say it is getting easier all the time with online video. Data shows a rise in usage with these platforms with billions spent in the process. It’s a free-for-all out there!

Don’t incinerate those DVDs just yet my friends. You can still use them to burn stuff. They may even become collectors’ items if they stop making them! Kids still use them and people who can’t be bothered with learning the new resources available. However, most will want to opt for dish installation, subscription services, cable programming, and other assorted modalities to be in the know and up to speed.