INTRODUCTION This report will strive to clearly discern the differences between the average home Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) and the recently developed Digital Video Disc (DVD) system. These two home entertainment components have very clear differences. It is important for consumers to carefully consider each of these concerns before deciding on the home entertainment component that is right for them. When considering the purchase of a home VCR or DVD system, consumers should carefully examine the varying costs of the two components. If cost is a concern, consumers should pay special attention to the purchase price of both systems, as well as the cost of movies and maintenance. A second consideration of consumers when choosing between VCR and DVD should be the video and audio quality.
Various technical factors can alter the quality of both picture and sound in both of these systems, making picture and audio quality a major consideration when shopping for home entertainment components. A final consideration that consumers should give special attention is the accessibility of the systems. In today's growing entertainment market, the difficulty in accessing video and DVD movies can play a large part in the decision of which component is right for the consumer. METHODS The beginning of any research project is in the decision of a topic to research. I chose to research the differences between the VCR and DVD home entertainment systems because the intricacies of the systems and the ways in which they work greatly interest me.
I began my work using ordinary encyclopedias, found in the Rosewood High School branch of the Wayne County Public Library. Due to the technical nature of my topics, there was very little information in the encyclopedias dealing with these topics. While I did receive some information on the background of home entertainment systems, especially the VCR, most of my research had to be found from other sources. I continue my research into the differences between these two systems, using the Microsoft Encarta Multimedia Encyclopedia.
Through this source, I discovered a great deal of information on how the VCR works. However, little information was to be found on the DVD home entertainment system. For this information, I was forced to search the Internet, where a wealth of information exists. After a general search for DVD, I found several web sights discussing the pros and cons of DVD, as well as the intricacies of how it operates.
After making notes of all of the information I had gathered, I proceeded to sort the notes into separate groups dealing with the VCR and DVD. This made it much easier to group my notes into feasible arguments for and against each system, as well as easing the process of making a final decision on the value of each system. At this point in the process, it was necessary to draw my final conclusions, and begin work on the composition of the paper. After completing this phase of the process, all that will be left is to prepare for the presentation of my information and conclusions. RESULTS / DISCUSSION Today, there are two main options of video components in a home entertainment system.
The Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) and the Digital Video Disc (DVD) player are both positive additions to any home entertainment system. Both systems offer benefits and disadvantages to their users, and both should be carefully examined before a final decision is made on which one a consumer should purchase. The VCR was first developed in the 1950's, but did not become a part of the average home entertainment system until the 1980's, when the machines became much more affordable for the average household. The VCR uses ordinary video cassettes, measuring approximately four inches by seven inches, containing yards of video tape inside. This video tape is little more than a plastic strip covered with particles of iron oxide.
This strip is recorded on by changing the television signals used to broadcast programs into magnetic fields, which magnetize the particles of iron oxide into patterns. The tape is played back by converting the magnetic patterns on the tape back into television signals. Many VCRs today use a form of recording and playback known as helical scan. In helical scan, one or two record / playback heads are mounted on the circumference of a drum that rotates rapidly in the same direction as the tape moves. Through this process the video tape is rolled off of one reel in the cassette, through the heads of the VCR where it is converted to picture form, and back onto the opposite reel of the video cassette. The Digital Video Disc (DVD) player was recently developed, and has undergone some major advancement through the use of rapidly advancing technology.
Unlike the VCR, DVD uses a circular disc, similar in appearance to music CDs. On this disc, or DVD, original video signals are encoded by the manufacturer as minute elliptical depressions in the surface of the disk. This information is arranged in a single long spiral, like the groove of a record. To play back the images, the track is scanned by a very narrow laser beam inside the DVD player. Light from this laser beam is modified by the elliptical depressions, and is then converted back into the original patterns of electrical signals. These signals are then fed by cable into a standard television, where they are converted to a picture.
VCRs offer many advantages to consumers looking for a reliable source of home entertainment. One of the most appealing characteristics of a VCR is the machine's ability to record television programs for later viewing. This offers consumers the option of viewing programs that aired while they were away from home, or while watching a second program on a different channel. This is a characteristic not readily available on the DVD system. VCRs also offer easy accessibility for consumers, as materials for viewing on the machine are easily attainable in most communities. Blank video tapes used for recording are sold in most major department stores, as well as grocery stores and even service stations.
In addition, movie studios have chosen the video cassette as their main mode of transferring their product to the public. Therefore, pre-recorded video cassettes are readily available for purchase in many stores across America. Finally, one of the largest markets in the entertainment business today is the video rental business. Such stores as Block Buster Video and A-1 Video have made thousands of movies, documentaries, concerts, and sporting events readily available to the public on video cassettes. A second advantage to the Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) is the relatively low cost of purchase, movies and maintenance. While the cost of some hi-fi VCRs with many features can rise to nearly $500, a reasonable VCR of good quality can be purchased for under $200.
Movies can be purchased for fifteen to twenty-five dollars each, and are available for rent for reasonable prices, usually less than three dollars each. Maintenance is usually minimal on the machines, costing no more than the price of a video head cleaner, which sells for around ten dollars. While the VCR offers many advantages to consumers, there are some areas where it has proven to be less adept than the DVD. Perhaps no other area of interest to consumers is as important as the audio and video quality offered by the VCR and DVD. While the VCR offers an acceptable level of picture and sound quality, it can in no way match the digitally mastered audio and video offered by the DVD. With 500 lines of resolution, DVD has twice that of 250 line resolution videotapes, providing for an exceptional quality picture.
Likewise, DVDs feature multi-channel audio tracks, for near perfect audio on every occasion. DVD is also instilled with digital video, allowing for such options as slow-motion playing and crystal clear pausing, options not available on the VCR. A second advantage to DVD is the quantity of extra material available on a disc. Through a process known as MPEG 2 Video Compression, the DVD is able to store an exceptional amount of material on a single disc. In MPEG 2, similar aspects of each frame of a video are carried over to subsequent frames, making it necessary for only the differences between frames to be stored. The extra storage space provided by MPEG 2 is used to offer consumers an entire list of extras, including full length audio tracks, multiple language capability, commentary from stars and directors, or movie trailers.
A third advantage to DVD systems is the viewing security offered by the DVD player. Most DVDs come with a lockable by password rating feature, allowing parents to program the player to make certain DVD titles unplayable without the password. When activated, this option can allow parents to restrict their children's viewing capabilities by making adult titles unplayable without a password. In using this option, parents are free to watch selections that they enjoy, while protecting their children from viewing unwanted material even when not under parental supervision. DVD players, while not as affordable as VCRs, can still be purchased for a reasonable price.
Most DVD players range in price from $350 to $600, depending on the number and type of features included. Movies in DVD form also prove to be reasonably priced. Most titles are available on DVD for slightly more than their VHS video counterparts. Maintenance for DVD players seems to be restricted to keeping the machine and discs free of stray dust and scratches. While DVD has many advantages to consumers looking for high quality video entertainment, there is at least one drawback. In addition to the slightly higher prices of DVDs, and DVD players, the DVD system presents a problem for those who enjoy viewing foreign films.
DVD is governed by a regional coding system, which divides the world into six major regions. DVD players and titles are encoded with one of six codes, which are based on the region in which they are sold. This regional coding system limits when and where certain DVDs can be played. In order for a DVD title to be viewable, its coding must match that of the DVD player. The following chart governs the regional encoding of DVD players and titles.
Code Country / Region 1. US and Canada 2. Europe and Japan 3. The Orient 4. Australia and New Zealand 5. Asia and Africa 6.
China Such encoding would make it impossible for a movie produced in France to be viewed on an American DVD player, or vice versa. While this may be a small problem for some, foreign movie buffs may be devastated by the problems it could cause. In addition, accessibility to DVDs can present a problem for some consumers. While DVD titles are offered for sale in many stores nationwide, DVD video rentals are still hard to come by. Unless a consumer is willing to purchase every movie they wish to view at home, the DVD may present a problem for consumers in rural areas without access to such rental agencies. DVD vs. VCR VCR DVD Player Videos DVDs Cost $200-$500 $350-$600 $15-$25 $20-$30 Accessibility Easy Moderate Easy Moderate / Difficult Audio / Video Quality Good Best Good Best Maintenance Minimal Minimal Minimal Minimal CONCLUSION In conclusion, it is important for consumers to carefully examine their home entertainment needs before making the choice between a VCR and a DVD.
While the DVD obviously offers better quality picture and sound, as well as a host of other amenities, it is important to figure in the affordability and accessibility to materials offered by VCRs. Only after carefully considering both home entertainment systems and their effects on the individual entertainment needs of the consumer, should someone make the final decision between the two systems. Both DVD and VCR offer a host of advantages in home entertainment thought impossible just a few short years ago. With time, both of these systems are sure to find solutions to the few disadvantages held by each, and will prove to offer amenities that we are not even able to imagine. RECOMENDATIOSAfter careful research and diligent thought on the subject, it is recommended that those consumers looking for ease, accessibility, and affordability purchase a VCR for their home entertainment needs. The VCR will provide adequate quality picture and sound, while providing an easy and affordable form of home entertainment.
Those individuals more concerned with sound and picture quality, as well as the technological amenities offered by the DVD, should purchase a DVD player for their home entertainment needs. The DVD will provide the best audio and video quality available on the market today, while giving consumers a host of technological amenities to fulfill their home entertainment needs.
"Video Recording", Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia. 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. web web web.