Top 20 Reasons To Prefer DVD Over VHS

by Dean McIntosh

20. You can fast-forward and rewind a DVD for two days straight without degrading the quality of the video and audio contained therein.

19. The best sound quality you can expect from a VHS cassette is on par with that of a piece of vinyl. A well set up DVD system will actually deliver better performance than what you'd expect from a theatre.

18. On a VHS cassette, previews and other such advertisements are tacked on at the start regardless of whether you actually want to see them. On a DVD, they are given their own little space in the menu, and skipping them is a simple matter of hitting a button.

17. VHS technology cannot guarantee more than two and half hours of viewing without the possibility of tape breakage from normal use. A DVD can guarantee up to three hours of viewing without the slightest possibility of problems. You can easily fit more video onto a DVD as long as you don't care how it looks.

16. When a scratch or hair appears in the picture on a VHS cassette, it is considered normal degradation. On DVD, it is called an artefact of the filming process.

15. The most compelling difference between most films on VHS and DVD can be summed up in six words: Six channels of digital surround sound.

14. The VHS versions of films that mostly take place in the dark are often soiled by edge enhancement, low-level noise, and lack of detail. The DVD version of Dark City, 97% of which takes place in darkness, is so sharply detailed with a complete absence of edge enhancement and low-level noise that it makes a grown man weep.

13. When was the last time you paused a VHS cassette and zoomed in on Mel Gibson's or Natasha Henstridge's buttocks?

12. When you watch a widescreen film on VHS, you have to accept a version that has had some lines discarded from it, thus decreasing the resolution of the image. When you watch a widescreen film on DVD, you have an option to, in a manner of speaking, make the TV set wider.

11. When you're looking for reviews of a VHS cassette, you're lucky to find one that warns of major flaws in the picture and audio content. When you read DVD reviews, you're doing well to find one that doesn't mention every single detail of the video and audio content.

10. When a VHS cassette begins showing degradation halfway through the film, the manufacturer can hide behind the "normal wear and tear" excuse. When a DVD does the same thing, the consumer can cite manufacturing defects such as DVD Rot.

09. When was the last time you heard a director's commentary on a VHS cassette?

08. On DVDs, skipping the boring parts of a film is simply a matter of pressing the Chapter Skip buttons, and it has no negative effect whatsoever on the media. On VHS cassettes, it is a laborious process that involves watching the film in fast forward for as long as ten minutes, and it can severely degrade the quality of the media.

07. On VHS cassettes, a theatrical trailer is considered a special bonus. On DVD, it is considered the bare minimum in special bonuses (the DVD version of The Exorcist contains no less than eight theatrical trailers and ten television commercials... try finding that on a VHS cassette).

06. DVDs have not been conceptually obsolete for nearly twenty years.

05. On the VHS version of Total Recall, the sound of a man hitting the ground after being shot repeatedly sounds like a faint pop. On the DVD version, the use of a good subwoofer can make it sound like an earthquake.

04. When you want to listen to a English film in a language such as Spanish or Italian on VHS, you usually have to buy the cassette from either of those two countries. On DVD, hearing Casino in Spanish, Italian, and Czech is simply a matter of pushing a button.

03. Similarly, having subtitles in such obscure languages as Hebrew and Chinese added to your favourite film is simply a matter of pushing a button on your DVD player's remote control.

02. People like Chris Tucker, Jim Carrey, and Adam Sandler all sound infinitely more tolerable when you've instantaneously switched their dialogue into a language like Japanese.

01. When you see "Please Ensure Cassette Is Rewound Before Returning" on a hire video case, it's a reminder that you have to make some effort that will damage the heads in your VHS player. When you see it on a hire DVD case, it's something to laugh yourself into a haemorrhage about.

© Dean McIntosh
14th March 2000