Internet killed the video star

CAT-5 versus VHS: And the winner is...

While ripping what’s left of my VHS collection I was reminded of the tedium of physical media — especially that of visual media: Movies. Videos.

No sooner had I transferred the first batch of videos onto my digital media player’s hard disk did it occur to me how convenient it is to pick a selection from an à la carte menu and play whatever I had fed the device with.  There’s no indecisive head-tilting in front of a shelf of movies, no boxes to put them back into, no rewinding of video cassettes, no tapes getting eaten by an ageing VCR — all that falls away.

In fact, halfway through the ripping process I asked myself, “why am I even doing this?”

Why bother when there’s a host of services like iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Maxdome or Vimeo out there? Why convert and store instead of just stream on demand? Why am I wasting my time if most of my music videos are already on YouTube? TCP is the new tape. Besides, there’s little I can do to improve the picture quality other than re-purchasing on DVD/BD/4k (availability permitting). Seriously: Why the fuck am I doing this?

Sertifikaat van goedkeuring

This prompted me to start asking people the following questions:

  1. Which were the last two movies you actively watched?
  2. How did you view them (via which medium)?

According to Deloitte’s Media Consumer Survey 2014, Australians’…

[…] use of digital media rather than physical formats to watch video content (e.g. recently released movies, TV series) is set to increase.

Physical formats should not however, be overlooked just yet. Some 42% of survey respondents still believe they are most likely to watch and use physical media formats (DVDs and Blu-ray discs) in the coming year, although this preference has declined over the last three years at a similar rate (8%) to the corresponding shift to digital.

Strangely, I just don’t feel the same way about audio media carriers.

With the exception of “collector’s editions” or box sets, movie studios just don’t seem to put the same effort into VHS/DVD packaging as record labels do. The collectability and indeed desirability of visual media in physical form just isn’t there in comparison to, say, a vinyl record or a compact disc.

Visual media demands to be digital while music wants to remain analogue and physical.

Image credits: Photo and video grab by hmvh DOT net

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