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25 Years of DVD!

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25 Years of DVD!

Old 04-20-22, 01:20 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by milo bloom
I loved spending time on DvdAficionado. Checking out all the various releases of titles and seeing who owned what movies. Itís an absolute punch to the gut that the site was allowed to disappear like that. The idea of the digital landscape was supposed to be that we could have records of everything forever.

It still makes me a little sick that all the work we put into that was just flushed away.
I never used it, though I read about it on this forum. At the time, I didn't think I was such a nerd I'd care about keeping such meticulous records of what I owned. Turns out, I very much am that nerd.
Old 04-20-22, 02:37 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

I've been using the CLZ Movies app the past few years, mainly because I was buying a few used laserdiscs twice not remembering I already had them and passing up some I thought I already had but didn't.

To comment on the past few posts- Tomorrow Never Dies was the second movie ever re-issued on DVD, dropping the included pan and scan version for extras. The first reissue was Animal House, which was originally in a movie-only 4x3 edition and soon reissued as a special edition.

"Special" movies like Jurassic Park would often take a year or so to arrive on home video. They'd play for about a year in theaters, hitting the second-run houses after leaving the main ones. I even remember newspaper ads around fall of that year saying "See Jurassic Park in theaters, because it won't be on videocassette this year." I think Monsters Inc was the last movie to get that sort of treatment, debuting on video almost a year after its theatrical release. After that they seemed to get the DVD out within a few months to encourage buying it right away. Christmas-themed movies were still delayed til the next year's holiday season, but even that has stopped now with them coming out around February and apparently sell decently then.

One of the first hyped features of DVD was that it would be able to show every movie in both widescreen and pan and scan, at least on 4x3 TVs. While players could be set to crop 16x9 pictures for 4x3, very few discs actually allowed for that- ironically one that did was Criterion's Last Temptation of Christ disc which had the flag set for it accidentally. You couldn't automatically crop 2.35 movies though and the consensus was that it was better to just have separate 4x3 transfers. Those got forced off of discs though when room was needed for more extras, and apparently it was hard to make DVD-18 discs which could have solved that problem. Legend has it that Walmart pressured the studios to support pan and scan more when their uneducated customers returned widescreen discs that didn't fill their screens, thus separate releases became commonplace for a while- never mind that nobody who would willingly choose a pan and scan version would care about any of the extras.

Another hyped feature was the ability to hold different cuts of a movie on one disc- that actually seems to be used more recently than back then. Separate "Unrated editions" were certainly annoying, but it seems when those are put out now they also include the theatrical cuts with seamless branching. Star Wars of course was a HUGE missed opportunity to have different versions included, instead forcing only the version that George Lucas felt was "complete" at that time (which has since been further tweaked in later releases.)

Admittedly I didn't understand 16x9 completely at first and the down-rezzing that occurs on 4x3 TVs, but being a sound nut I refused to listen to a 5.1 track downmixed to 2-channel so I only bought into the format when I could also afford a 5.1 sound system to go along with it.

The ability to copy discs with no loss in quality was certainly a big middle finger to the studios. The first blank DVDs cost around $30 each, but now only cost a few pennies when bought in bulk. The protection schemes involve putting in deliberately bad sectors right before the movie starts, and telling players to just skip over them. Since computers have to read literally the entire disc to make a copy, they get tripped up on those bad sectors. My old Pioneer LD/DVD combo would display "SEARCH" several times when starting movies that used that. I'm a bit surprised that the industry hasn't used copyability as an excuse to kill off the DVD format, Blu-Rays at least require a bit more effort and equipment that's harder to find.
Old 04-20-22, 02:56 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

"Milestones" that I'm not sure of- does anyone know what the very first DVDs to have previews play before the main menu, and the first one that did that one better by making them unskippable? Being a non-linear format, I always thought it was stupid to do that. Universal for a while was putting trailers for recent and/or related titles in the Extras menus, but someone got the bright idea of having them be the first thing that plays and that seems to have continued to today. I remember lots of complaints about "The Sixth Sense" having previews that had to be chapter-skipped through; I never bought that title but got another Disney title (The Aristocats) that was set up similarly.
Old 04-20-22, 07:38 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

I was in High School in Fall of 99 when we got a new family computer with a DVD Rom drive. I was working at Wal Mart at the time, so I would see the DVDs come in each week and had wanted a player for awhile. It was a build to order computer, and before it even got delivered I had already purchased American History X and The Matrix. I'd come home from school each day so I could lay on the floor in the office and watch a movie on the 19" CRT screen. That got old pretty quick, so for Christmas that year I got my own DVD player and a 5.1 shitty surround sound system (that I didn't even have hooked up correctly to get discrete channels) which went with a 27" CRT TV I already had. I also asked for a bunch of DVDs as well, which began my history of shopping at Amazon. I don't remember a lot of what I owned back then, although I remember being able to name every single one of the 20-25 DVDs I owned at the time. Shawshank was the big one though, and I probably watched that a couple dozen times over the next few months. There was also American Pie and the five freebies that came with the player. Probably Austin Powers as well. Like others, I looked forward to the Sunday ads to see what would be coming out that week and who would have the best price as well as just browsing Circuit City and Best Buy. It really opened my eyes to the world of film, as my exposure growing up was really just action blockbusters and some comedies. My spending was initially pretty tapered as I didn't have a ton of discretionary income. That changed when I found this forum and learned about Columbia House. Being able to get DVDs for $7.26 each delivered compared to the $20 it would cost to buy them in store seemed like such a bargain. Pretty soon I was that college kid that had shelves and shelves of DVDs.

And here I am almost 25 years later with a 4K projector on a 110" screen with 9.2.4 surround. My collection consists of almost 2500 Blu Rays and 130 TV Shows stored on a 128TB Plex server that I can watch from almost anywhere in the world and about 500-600 UHDs.
Old 04-20-22, 02:08 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee
Admittedly I didn't understand 16x9 completely at first and the down-rezzing that occurs on 4x3 TVs, but being a sound nut I refused to listen to a 5.1 track downmixed to 2-channel so I only bought into the format when I could also afford a 5.1 sound system to go along with it.
I worked in the video duplication industry in the late 1990s/early 2000s and it was really difficult to explain 16:9 anamorphic in a world where just about every consumer TV was still 4:3.
Trying to explain widescreen versions that were formatted in 4:3 compared to proper anamorphic 16:9 or 16:9 "Enhanced" 4:3 TVs which could squeeze the pixels into the 16:9 area of the screen.

Don't get me started explaining 2.35:1 scope films letterboxed but still being 16:9 anamorphic; "I still get the black bars on my widescreen 16:9 TV??!!"

Old 04-20-22, 02:51 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

I worked as a projectionist then so I knew about aspect ratios right away. I even knew about squeeze LDs but didn't really see it as a big deal til I saw a 16x9 TV at a friend's house. Even then it seemed like kind of a pain since you had to manually adjust the screen format for everything. I was afraid that cropping 2.35 movies would become the norm, but thankfully that didn't really happen. What didn't help matters was the Laserdisc Newsletter reviewing every DVD as being the proper ratio in 4x3, but cropped slightly in 16x9. That turned out to be a mistake on their part and they stopped saying that after a while.
Old 04-20-22, 03:40 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
It seems plausible that you bought both exclusives, kept only the DVD that went in the gift box with the poker set, and simply made an error when cataloging it. Were you using DVD Profiler, by chance? You may have entered the one from Best Buy first and didn't catch that it auto-filled that in the Retailer field.

To bring us back on track, DVD Profiler played a big part in my evolving feelings about my DVD (and Blu-ray) library. I started tracking at-home viewings when I started using Profiler. That gave me an organized look at what I(/we when I was still married) owned and hadn't watched. Also, because Profiler's default is to just organize everything alphabetically instead of by things like director, franchise, or genre, I started organizing my disc library that way. My wife was initially opposed to the idea but she let me try it. It won her over, though we had different ideas about how strict the system should be.For example, The Adventures of Indiana Jones* box set. (Aesthetically, that might be my favorite box set I've ever owned!) She felt it should be in the I's for Indiana Jones. I argued for the A's because the first word in the box set title for alphabetizing is "Adventures". I eventually won that one. For one thing, there were other multi-film collections that were nearly impossible to alphabetize without using the collection's title. An example would be the "Price-Lee Horror Collection", a cheap 2-disc set. One had three Vincent Price movies crammed onto it and the other had three with Christopher Lee. There was no franchise, as with Indy. Would you go by the first movie in the collection? That was House on Haunted Hill. Also, the box spine was so prominent there was no confusion where to find Indy.

*That Indy box set came out right around my birthday that year. My then-girlfriend/current ex-wife was excited to get it for me as a gift, which was exciting to receive... Except she bought the Full Frame version. I asked if it was okay for me to exchange it for the Widescreen version. She said it was, but she sulked about it for months. A few years later, we got our first widescreen TV. We spent a day binging those movies. She begrudgingly agreed I'd made the right choice.
Yeah. I'm sure it is a mistake. I looked at my shelf last night and found the cards and poker chip, but no model Aston Martin. I do indeed use DVDProfiler, so it could have been a multiple entry mistake. As to your point about where to file box sets or movie collections, I always file them under where I would look for them and then in chronological order. The Indiana Jones movies are under "I", Rambo movies are under R, all the fast and furious movies are under F, etc.

I'm trying to remember where I got a lot of my early dvds. Reel.com was a big one that gave out a lot of discount codes I remember. And another I used alot was dvd planet, I think. I remember getting some post it pads from them.
Old 04-20-22, 07:52 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by orangerunner
I worked in the video duplication industry in the late 1990s/early 2000s and it was really difficult to explain 16:9 anamorphic in a world where just about every consumer TV was still 4:3.
Trying to explain widescreen versions that were formatted in 4:3 compared to proper anamorphic 16:9 or 16:9 "Enhanced" 4:3 TVs which could squeeze the pixels into the 16:9 area of the screen.

Don't get me started explaining 2.35:1 scope films letterboxed but still being 16:9 anamorphic; "I still get the black bars on my widescreen 16:9 TV??!!"
I understood the idea but I didn't grasp its importance. I had a coworker who was an aspect ratio evangelical, dismayed by all the heathens who wouldn't open our eyes. The example he gave that finally got through to me was a shot in a movie trailer that I'd seen. Someone (I keep thinking it's Antonio Banderas, but maybe it's not) drawing pistols and holding them with his arms all the way stretched out on either side. In pan & scan, you don't see either gun, let alone both. Just his head and torso. I wasn't ready for DVD but I went all-in on widescreen VHS for that tiny window during which that format was a thing.

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee
"Special" movies like Jurassic Park would often take a year or so to arrive on home video. They'd play for about a year in theaters, hitting the second-run houses after leaving the main ones. I even remember newspaper ads around fall of that year saying "See Jurassic Park in theaters, because it won't be on videocassette this year."
Funny you mention Jurassic Park. I fell down a rabbit hole last year and looked up the dates and prices:

11 June 1993 - Theatrical opening date; average ticket price that year: $4.14
4 October 1994 - VHS release; MSRP $24.98 [1 year, 3 months, 24 days after theatrical opening]
10 October 2000 - DVD release; MSRP $26.98 [3 years, 6 months, 16 days after first commercial DVD on sale in U.S. (Twister, 24 March 1997)]

You could also get a slipcase Collector's Set with both Jurassic Park and The Lost World on DVD for $53.98, or for $119.98 you could get the Deluxe Edition with both DVD's, their soundtracks on CD, a senitype (whatever the hell that is), and a certificate of authenticity.

That's hardly complete; I couldn't find if the Letterboxed Edition VHS was the same MSPR as the pan & scan VHS. There was subsequent 1997 re-issue of the widescreen version on VHS. And I obviously didn't look far into the matter of LaserDisc info other than seeing there were a few versions.
Old 04-21-22, 05:51 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
I understood the idea but I didn't grasp its importance. I had a coworker who was an aspect ratio evangelical, dismayed by all the heathens who wouldn't open our eyes. The example he gave that finally got through to me was a shot in a movie trailer that I'd seen. Someone (I keep thinking it's Antonio Banderas, but maybe it's not) drawing pistols and holding them with his arms all the way stretched out on either side. In pan & scan, you don't see either gun, let alone both. Just his head and torso. I wasn't ready for DVD but I went all-in on widescreen VHS for that tiny window during which that format was a thing.
I had a coworker (the guy who actually introduced me to this board but has long quit posting) who would return every Full Screen DVD to the manufacturer and put a note "Defective - only contains half the movie". When a customer would come in clearly wanting the full screen version, he would intentionally confuse them by asking something like "do you want the version that has the full picture?" and then sell them a widescreen version.
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Old 04-21-22, 01:11 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by John Galt
I had a coworker (the guy who actually introduced me to this board but has long quit posting) who would return every Full Screen DVD to the manufacturer and put a note "Defective - only contains half the movie". When a customer would come in clearly wanting the full screen version, he would intentionally confuse them by asking something like "do you want the version that has the full picture?" and then sell them a widescreen version.
Even though he was technically right, that guy sounds like a real dick.
Old 04-21-22, 06:55 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by jjcool
Even though he was technically right, that guy sounds like a real dick.
Agreed, though part of me thinks it's funny.
Old 04-22-22, 05:23 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Yeah, it's one thing to educate a customer and convince them to buy widescreen. It's completely different to intentionally mislead them in a misguided attempt to influence sales numbers of WS vs P&S.

Returning the fullscreen ones to the manufacturer was just funny.
Old 04-22-22, 09:35 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by John Galt
I had a coworker (the guy who actually introduced me to this board but has long quit posting) who would return every Full Screen DVD to the manufacturer and put a note "Defective - only contains half the movie". When a customer would come in clearly wanting the full screen version, he would intentionally confuse them by asking something like "do you want the version that has the full picture?" and then sell them a widescreen version.
In many cases it's really not true with all fullscreen presentations. If a film was originally formatted in 1.85:1 in theatres the "fullscreen" DVD would often show the complete 1.33:1 open-matte image (no cropping at the edges) which provides extra image along the top and bottom of the picture. No, this was not the correct way of watching the movie but the viewer was actually given more image than the widescreen version.

I agree 2.35:1 scope films were completely butchered in 4:3 fullscreen with panning & scanning and scenes almost being re-cut.

Last edited by orangerunner; 04-22-22 at 02:16 PM.
Old 04-22-22, 10:58 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by orangerunner
In many cases it's really not true with all fullscreen presentations. If a film was originally formatted in 1.85:1 in theatres the "fullscreen" DVD would often show the complete 1.85:1 image (open-matte - no cropping at the edges) and would also provide extra image along the top and bottom of the picture. No, this was not the correct way of watching the movie but you the viewer was actually given more image than the widescreen version.

I agree 2.35:1 scope films were completely butchered in 4:3 fullscreen with panning & scanning and scenes almost being re-cut.
I remember watching a Woody Allen movie that'd been shot for 2.35:1 on a TV via pan & scan. It was horrible! Quite often there'd be people talking but you'd not see them or just get half of one of the people as Allen had framed them to the far left or right on the screen and the transfer was a simple "lock it down in the center" type.
Old 04-22-22, 11:56 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Agreed, though part of me thinks it's funny.
Joke was on him. He lost money to try to make a point to people that didn't care. In fact, if I was a customer of his, I would be pissed.
Old 04-22-22, 02:13 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by jjcool
Joke was on him. He lost money to try to make a point to people that didn't care. In fact, if I was a customer of his, I would be pissed.
Sort of reminds me of the Jack Black record store clerk character in "High Fidelity" who would rather sway the customer's opinion than take their money.
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Old 04-22-22, 02:22 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by jjcool
Joke was on him. He lost money to try to make a point to people that didn't care. In fact, if I was a customer of his, I would be pissed.
We were getting paid hourly, it had zero effect on his paycheck.
Old 04-22-22, 04:19 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee
"Milestones" that I'm not sure of- does anyone know what the very first DVDs to have previews play before the main menu, and the first one that did that one better by making them unskippable?
I could be wrong, but I remember Animal House having unskippable previews and a huge fuss about it being raised at that time. Not positive if it was the first, as there might have been a less popular title they started with.
Old 04-24-22, 01:54 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by John Galt
We were getting paid hourly, it had zero effect on his paycheck.
So he didn't return any of his own discs to the manufacturer.
Old 04-25-22, 07:22 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

No, he only returned DVDs that were shipped to the store. He'd open the shipments, pull out the full screen versions and mark them defective, then stock the shelves with the widescreens.
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Old 04-25-22, 11:10 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by John Galt
No, he only returned DVDs that were shipped to the store. He'd open the shipments, pull out the full screen versions and mark them defective, then stock the shelves with the widescreens.
Holy shit. That's even funnier.
Old 04-25-22, 12:50 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by John Galt
No, he only returned DVDs that were shipped to the store. He'd open the shipments, pull out the full screen versions and mark them defective, then stock the shelves with the widescreens.
What an idiot.
Old 04-25-22, 06:27 PM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by John Galt
I had a coworker (the guy who actually introduced me to this board but has long quit posting) who would return every Full Screen DVD to the manufacturer and put a note "Defective - only contains half the movie". When a customer would come in clearly wanting the full screen version, he would intentionally confuse them by asking something like "do you want the version that has the full picture?" and then sell them a widescreen version.
No, Alan Smithee's still posting; he can usually be found in the "Other" thread.
Old 04-26-22, 03:09 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

I wouldn't have had to open up the discs to determine them as defective- they all had the message on the back cover "This film has been modified from its original version" so that was enough to reject them. I took orders by phone at Tower in the early 2000s (does any retailer still do that? You can't get anyone on the phone from Amazon to save your life!) and if they asked for a title I'd always give them the widescreen unless they specifically asked for the other one; I even did that when they ordered VHS and there was a widescreen tape available. I once overheard a co-worker talking to someone who complained about "The Magnificent Seven" only being in widescreen, if they had gotten me I would've asked them if they would rather see "The Magnificent 3 1/2". It was just stupid on every level for the studios to label pan and scan transfers as "fullscreen", it's amazing widescreen still prevailed in spite of that.

But if they had just been able to perfect DVD-18s, they could have just issued a 2-sided disc with BOTH versions, as the format always promised, and be done with it. Only a few titles used DVD-18s to hold both widescreen and pan and scan versions on the same disc. Two of those were Bandits and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which eventually were reissued without the "Foolscreen" sides.

I could be wrong, but I remember Animal House having unskippable previews and a huge fuss about it being raised at that time. Not positive if it was the first, as there might have been a less popular title they started with.


Reminds me that I still haven't watched the "Double Secret Probation Edition" of that, which I have included with the combo HD-DVD. Will have to see if that has forced previews. All 3 discs in the "High School Reunion Collection" had a forced trailer for Animal House on them though, which made me in no hurry to pick that disc up. Starting out a disc with previews is bad enough but disabling most of the player controls during them, expecting you to watch them EVERY TIME, is beyond annoying. It's less of an issue now since my Oppo has a button that will just have DVDs go to the main movie (or more accurately the longest title on the disc) regardless of how the disc is authored.

Speaking of that, has anyone in the industry ever given a reason why most discs force you to watch the FBI warnings every time? My only guess is that makes sure everyone sees them so they can't claim ignorance if they go ahead and make copies after that.
Old 04-26-22, 05:59 AM
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Re: 25 Years of DVD!

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee
Starting out a disc with previews is bad enough but disabling most of the player controls during them, expecting you to watch them EVERY TIME, is beyond annoying. It's less of an issue now since my Oppo has a button that will just have DVDs go to the main movie (or more accurately the longest title on the disc) regardless of how the disc is authored.

Speaking of that, has anyone in the industry ever given a reason why most discs force you to watch the FBI warnings every time? My only guess is that makes sure everyone sees them so they can't claim ignorance if they go ahead and make copies after that.
DVD-Video's virtual machine was design from the very start to have a UOP (user operation prohibition) flag system. Back in the day, it can be easily enforced by licensing/patents.


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