As time changes, so do advances in technological devices. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the area of popular entertainment where home videos are found in nearly every Americans home. The fact that many people own home videos isnt as intriguing as the type of equipment that is being used to view these videos. At one time video cassette recorders were commonplace in homes across the U.S., but nowadays, a trend towards a new device is making headway; digital video disk players. The videos these two devices play may be the same, but there are also stark differences between the two. The first television sets hit households in the U.S. in the late 1930's and by the 1970's the first videocassette recorders, more commonly referred to as VCRs, hit the market.

Marshall Brains website Howstuffworks. com states; When people think about the history of television, there are a handful of events that stand out as extremely important. The VCR marks one of the most important events in the history of television because, for the first time, it gave people control of what they could watch on their TVs. This is a comment that is widely accepted by a wide variety of people worldwide. Before VCRs, consumers had to watch what the broadcast stations decided to put on the screen but with VCRs, these same people could now buy, and record their favorite shows and view them whenever they wish. VCRs work by storing video information on a plastic cassette filled with an 800-foot roll of oxide-coated Mylar tape. The VCR reads this tape and projects its information onto a television where the user views it.

Putting information onto videocassettes is easy enough that nearly all-new VCRs are capable of doing so. VCR prices can be found below $100 and videocassette prices hover around ten dollar at many large retailers across the Midwest. A major reason for this is that VCRs have been available for years and competition to make cheaper VCRs have driven down the prices. Also, new advances in technology have led to new devices again driving down the prices. The storage space that VCRs consume is moderate when compared to other types of multimedia, but the videocassettes take up more room because of their composition. Operating a VCR is a common routine in middle class America mostly because they have been around for so long.

Manufactures have been coming up with new, interesting features to keep users coming back. Some of these include, automatically skipping commercials, programming a VCR to record in conjunction with a TV guide, and allowing a VCR to start and stop recording at particular preset times. Nearly every major retailer carries videocassettes from exercise videos to great American classics like Gone With the Wind and Casablanca. VCRs are often common at places like Best Buy, Circuit City, Target and countless other stores.

The availability of VCRs and videocassettes is better today than it ever has been. In the future, VCR and videocassette prices will continue to drop as manufacturers keep devising new ideas to appeal to their customer base. By becoming commonplace in homes across the United States, VCRs have a stronghold on the market but with new technologies hitting the shelves, VCRs forecast for the future bears a burden. Leading these new technological devices is digital video disks recorders more commonly referred to as DVD players.

These players become available to the public in the early to middle 90's and have grown in popularity ever since. The major problem with digital versatile disk players is that most people dont know what they are and why they are superior to their current media players. John Ross book DVD Player Fundamentals claims, DVD or "Digital Versatile (Video) Disc" is a new audio / video /data format that promises to offer consumers more quality, flexibility and value than any other previous home entertainment format. (3). Simply put, DVD surpasses any type of home video players on the market.

With DVD players, consumers can still buy and watch their favorite shows repeatedly but with distinct advantages. For example, many current DVD players have features not available on VCRs because of their digital characteristics. One of these more interesting features is zoom. With this feature, users can pause a video and zoom in on a particular area between four and 12 times. DVD players work by reading information stored on a disk digitally. The disks themselves, look identical to conventional compact disks, but store more than double the information.

Since DVD technology uses digital disks, they can play not only videos but also audio compact disks. One downfall of this complex digital media is that manufacturers have not yet found a way to record onto a disk using a conventional DVD player. Experts predict this feature will become available in the near future. Prices for DVD players start just above VCRs at $100.

Multi-disk DVD players can cost as much as $1000 dollars depending on their size and features. The newest type of DVD media to hit the market has been portable DVD / TV devises. These look similar to laptops and contain a television screen, speakers, and a DVD player in one unit. The size of an average DVD player is close to a VCR in width and length, but is slimmer when it comes to height.

The disks themselves take up considerably less room than VHS cassettes because they are sold in slim cases similar to compact disks. Operating a DVD player isnt as easy to many people as operating a VCR. This is due to new features such as digital sound control, scan, chapter search (similar to a table of contents in a book) and zoom. As their popularity grows, using them will most likely simplify. Currently, well over half of all video rental stores have DVD disks for rent. This is a sure sign that DVD media is here to stay.

Almost every new computer is sold with a DVD drive and all the major motion picture companies are releasing older VHS cassette tapes on DVD. Will this trend continue to snowball and pick up more and more of the home entertainment market share Many experts say yes. The hurdle DVD technology must first clear in a path to success is convincing the public to switch from their trusty VCR to the new, improved advancement in home entertainment, DVD!