VCRs and VHS/DVD Recorders and Blu-rays! Oh, My!

VCR players are becoming an endangered species. Very few if any are being born now a days. The evolutionary war of the DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs has left the VHS tape in the dust. Just as the cassette tape was replaced by the CD. All rectangular things filled with dark plastic tape and pieces seem to be replaced by higher quality, thinner, circular, shiny discs. Is there something about circular information storage devices that seem to have staying power? For example record and .45 players seem to withstand the test of time for it’s simplicity and quality of audio playback. Records albums are still pressed and sold while you don’t see companies making 8-track cassette tapes anymore. But the technical evolution of audio is a story to talk about on another day… This post is about the shopping pains caused by advances of video technology. I find it interesting how the story of personal audio technology parallels with the tale of personal video devices.

After a time when a video player and format has been established there always seems to be a jump to a different or better format to play video with. We are in a time where the standard is changing and there are a variety of different formats to choose from. Even the transitional hybrid VHS/DVD player and recorders are in limited supply. A clear sign of the VHS’s coming extinction. The time of VHS vs DVD is over. The DVD vs HD-DVD vs Blu-ray vs Digital Copy is among us…

This is where my story begins… For almost a year now, my Mom has been saying she want’s a VHS/DVD recorder so she can copy them to disc. She has all these VHS tapes with Vietnamese TV, movies and variety shows like Paris By Night (if you’re Vietnamese, you should know what Paris by Night is) and all of her VCRs are breaking down. I gave her my old VCR/DVD player a while ago, but the VCR half went ker-klunk, too.

She was expecting it for her birthday but my brother and I got her the GPS that she was also asking for instead. It’s kinda easy to shop for Mom because she tells us what to get her and doesn’t want us to spend money on things she doesn’t need. Anyway, Mother’s Day was approaching and my brother and I went to shopping for a VHS/DVD recorder at Costos a few week before, but they only had players not recorders. The week before Mother’s Day I search 6 different store. They are either out of stock or the ones that they do have are, too expensive. I first went to Best Buy, then Staples and OfficeMax to discover that office supply stores don’t carry video players. I went to Walmart and the only player they had was $250 and not in stock. It was getting late and I was frustrated… Would I have to go to the Danbury Fair Mall to see if I could find one?.. As I leave Walmat to walk to my car. I spot a RadioShack next door. I walk on over and tell the store clerk what I’m looking for. She brings me over to the one model that they carry. The Magnavox ZV427MG9 DVD Recorder and 4-Head Hi-Fi VCR. It’s the same model that Walmart was out of. And it’s on sale for $30 off! I purchase it and get a 5 pack of re-recordable DVD’s. I drop it off at my brother’s and ask him to gift wrap it because I don’t have have wrapping paper at Mom’s house. He says okay and I’ll see him on Sunday.

While I was at my brother’s I picked-up some mail that arrived for me there. I opened up a package and it was the movie Daybreakers. Woo hoo! I won an Instinct Magazine contest! Nam was like cool, is it a DVD or Blu-ray. I look and say Blu-ray. He laughs because I don’t have a Blu-ray player. Well I’ll see if it plays on my Mac. Which it doesn’t. But it comes with a Digital Copy that I was able to download through iTunes. So that’s how I was able to watch it. And it’s pretty good movie. Not great, but enjoyable. I’ll probably get a Blu-ray player in the future, when I get a new digital TV. Till then I was happy to see that Blu-rays usually come with a DVD or Digital Copy.

Now I’m not much of a religious person. I only go to church on the holidays. My Mom goes to a Vietnamese church that is about an hours drive every Sunday. The church has a special Mother’s Day service that she wants her sons to attend. I drive her there and the men are downstairs preparing food for the Moms. Service begins and it’s been over an hour and a half into it and no sign of my little brother. Did he just leave me stranded to sit through this all alone? Did something happen to him? Is he alright? I don’t know… The service is filled songs and testimonials. My Mom even read a poem and sung a couple solo Vietnamese folk songs on stage. And still no Nam, where is my brother? Service ends and thank God it did. If I had to hear about how Mothers’ should pray that their children find Christ one more time I think I would have fallen asleep.

Service is over everyone please join us downstairs where the men have prepared a meal for Mother’s Day. We get up and Oh! There’s Nam. Sitting two seats behind us. He tells that he got here an hour ago, but whatever. He then tells me “Damn, I almost timed it right.” I was like, so tried to miss service… In my head I was thinking nice, thanks for leaving me hanging. We eat some good bbq chicken, noodles and when done. Nam says he’s got a softball game to go to. He says bye to Mom and me and I stop him. I ask him “How are we going to do this? Can I get Mom’s gift from you.” He tells me that he left it at his place and that he didn’t have a chance to wrap it yet. So I guess, I’ll have to pick it up then I tell him. I reminded him to pay me back half for the gift as soon as he can. He then asks me was that the cheapest one you could find? Yes. Nam can be a prick sometimes, but he’s a good guy at heart when he isn’t being selfish. What do expect from the baby in the family. Anyway, now I’m stuck waiting while Mom chit chats with the church ladies. Finally we leave and I drop her off at home. Drive to my brother’s to pick-up Mom’s unwrapped gift. Drive back to Mom’s. Give it to Mom. Install it and set channels to her TV. Yeay everything works all done… But wait… There’s more…

The next day goes by and my Mom tells me that the sound is not working on the VCR. To make a long story not so long. The thing was defective and broken. I return it to RadioShack the next day and get a refund back because they ran out of stock in the store. I then checked out Walmart and saw that the same recorder was on rollback price for $159, but of course they were out of stock. I then checked out Best Buy and they had one in stock, but it didn’t have the right connections for my Mom’s TV. I hit the Danbury Fair Mall and Sears with no luck. The Danbury Fair Mall has an Apple store. So of course I made a visit and played with the iPad. If I ever get one I’m sure to put my Digital Copy of Daybreakers on it. I wonder if downloading Digital Copies will effect the whole DVD/Blu-ray world or will it just be a supplement to video entertainment?

So I talked to Mom and she suggested getting a raincheck for the one at Walmart. I Facebook/Twittered my frustration and got replies about how VHS is like a dinosaur and how VCRs aren’t made in the numbers that they once were. Hence the higher prices. I drive back to Walmart and the workers said that I couldn’t get a raincheck for this item because it looks like the store isn’t ordering in more. He then said I could order it through their website and have it shipped to the store for free and that it might even be cheaper to do it online. So that’s what I did. In the end it only costed $147 plus tax. Hopefully when it arrives it will last longer than the last one.

So how was your Mother’s Day weekend? And what do you think about all the advances and shift for personal video entertainment. Anyway, I guess the moral of the story is that change can be a lot of work but if it makes your Mom happy, it all works out in the end.


2 Responses to VCRs and VHS/DVD Recorders and Blu-rays! Oh, My!

  1. bet365 says:

    how are you I was fortunate to find your blog in bing
    your post is superb
    I learn much in your subject really thanks very much
    btw the theme of you blog is really fine
    where can find it

  2. vjnet says:

    Thanks bet365. I’m using a free featured theme called Enterprise by StudioPress

%d bloggers like this: