Five Ways VHS Tapes Still Rock
Friends of mine have barely gotten over the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD war, and I’m still stuck back in the 80’s (remember when Betamax was struggling to be on top?) It’s not that I don’t appreciate the finer points of DVD’s. I just still love certain irreplaceable features of good ol’ VHS tape.
1. They are kid-proof. There’s less chance of a freak-out if my 3-year-old toddles in with my VHS copy of Rumble in the Bronx than if he starts using my DVD version of Rounders as a coaster. It’s not that I like one movie better. There’s simply a durability with VHS that DVD hasn’t been able to provide me. And you can tell me to keep my kids away from my DVD collection – but you obviously know little about the mobility of a toddler. While it is possible for a faulty VHS player to unravel the tape or a misplaced stack of Magnetix to erase the video, the tape usually outlasts the DVD, hands-down.
2. They are cheap. The frugal in me can’t part with $16-25 for a movie, no matter how good it is. Even with the recent Blockbuster deal , I know that I won’t get my money’s worth in encore viewings of even my most coveted movies. While I may only review my copy of Office Space once or twice a year, the kids will watch and rewatch Elf a few times a month (and even more during the holidays.) It’s good to know that I can pick up a few new favorites at a garage sale, Goodwill, or Ebay for 25 cents to a buck anytime we need some variety. (And if the movie is faulty or generally stinks, I’m only out some pocket change.)
3. They offer some variety. If you are a fan of foreign or hard-to-find indie films, sometimes DVD will fail you. I have been in search of certain Japanese subtitled films with no luck – until I tried VHS. They are out there, but good luck finding some on the newest medium.
4. They are virtually maintenance-free. Clean my VHS tapes? Are you kidding? I don’t even clean my 4-head VCR. Since picking up a VCR for around $5 on Craiglist or a yard sale is pretty easy to do, I rarely do anything to prolong my player’s life. Maybe I’m lazy, or maybe I’ve discovered that my time is worth much more. Compare that to the 4 or so DVD players that I’ve replaced due to the laser function going out. (It doesn’t matter how high-quality I’ve gone with a house that’s fairly dusty due to location, the reader on a top-of-the-line model seems to only last a bit longer.)
5. They are all mine. What do I love best about my extensive VHS collection? No one seems to want to borrow them. I have some great titles, but they just aren’t appealing enough in format for them to wander off permanently. I love sharing with my friends, but can someone please tell me when I’m going to get my DVD copy of X-Men back?
I’ve finally come to terms that there will be fewer new VHS versions produced, and many stores have quit carrying them altogether. But for all the reasons I’ve come to love VHS, it’s worth it to continue (at least while the kids live here.)