Friday, February 12, 2010

From VCR to Blu-ray DVD

A little technology history lesson today!
I have three DVD players (if I count the one on my Playstation) and the one hooked up to the big screen became a little too fussy. It no longer liked the NetFlix discs - and you don't mess with my NetFlix! It needed to go anyway - it was a DIVX! (Remember that awful idea?)
So a new Samsung Blu-ray DVD came home with me on Thursday. It plays DVDs, CDs, and streams Pandora, YouTube, and NetFlix. Perfect!
What surprised me was the price - it was only $140.00. Wow! And how much were the first VCRs? I did a little research...
The first VCRs on the market came out in 1972. The Cartrivision system featured prerecorded tapes for sale and rental - the black ones were for sale and red ones for rental. The red ones could not be rewound except by a dealer, so they were viewable only once - sounds like the defunct DIVX, doesn't it? The whole system cost $1600.00
In 1976, the fist Betamax hit the market in the USA. Sony's unit sold for $1295.00.
1977 - the first VHS VCR hits the USA market! RCA promoted their new creation extensively, as it could record four hours as opposed to Beta's two hours. The unit cost $1000. Eventually this format won over the Betamax.
In 1979, the VideoDisc, or LaserDisc, becomes available. The Magnavox unit sold for $749.00.
1997 was the year that the DVD player went nationwide! Sony's model sold for $970.00 and by the end of the year, almost 350,000 units were sold. The following year, the ill-fated DIVX pay-per-view DVD came out - and lasted less than one year. (Damn, I had that stupid DIVX unit for almost twelve years?!)
In in the year 2000, technical research sparked what would become the rivalry between Blu-ray and HD DVD. Both forms were announced in 2002 and by 2008, Blu-ray emerged triumphant. Blu-ray players began around $800 in 2006.
And now, barely four years later, I own a $140.00 Blu-ray DVD player!
Don't you just love technology?
Everyone have a great weekend - I'm gonna go watch some movies!


L. Diane Wolfe said...

That is really fascinating!

DEZMOND said...

Ah, the technology changes sooooo quickly these days. Just ten years ago most of us didn't have mobile phones, laptops, PCs... and it took just a few years for those gadgets to conquer the whole world.

Happy film watching :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

we've had ours for maybe a year or so now? to go with our 120 htz tv.
Anyway, our blu-ray cost $200 so good to know they're dropping in price.
and the streaming netflix, which we get through our Xbox, is really awesome

The Old Silly said...

Dang - $145? That's a great selling price. Yeah I remember my first cell phone. It cost me over a grand, was the size of a football, had spotty reception and I typically ran up $150 monthly bills for the pay by the expensive minute plan. Just upgraded my Verizon cell to a smart phone for $40, I get internet, navigator, keypad texting, calling, everything for $40 a month.

Marvin D Wilson

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Isn't it amazing?

Marvin, was it one of those bag phones? Those things were huge!

joe doaks-Author said...

I saw a History Channel special on this topic just yesterday, and yes, it is interesting. It also served as a reminder about how time flies and how old I am...'course, 'bout everything does that.

Best Wishes Galen.
Imagineering Fiction Blog

jdsanc said...

We just bought a VCR for $20 for the basement. Cheaper than two movie tickets. Crazy, huh? Not blue-ray though, obviously. Got to get one of those babies.
Great blog

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, jdcoughlin! Yeah, it's wild how much prices have come down on electronics. You're right though - $20 will barely take two people to the movies these days.

Helen Ginger said...

Thanks for all the stats. I'd forgotten how expensive the players were when they first came out.

Straight From Hel

Suze said...

'The whole system cost $1600.00'


I love reading tech history-- a topic that intrigues me like very little others. So glad you linked this, today.