Home Video

If you grew up during the late 70’s, you were introduced to this:vhs.jpeg

This is called a Video Home System tape or VHS tape for short. It was developed in the early 1970’s by the Victor Company of Japan (JVC). This little guy became the standard for home video throughout the 80’s, 90’s, and even slightly into the 2000’s.

The VHS could hold a maximum of 1,410 feet of tape for a total run time of about four hours with NTSC format (National Television System Committee) and around five hours with a format called PAL (Phase Alternating Line). The reason behind why there are different formats and run times is a little too complicated to explain, but just know that VHS tapes used up to three different formats to suit the user.

An interesting fact about VHS tapes is that, because of the different formats supported (namely NTSC and PAL), you could actually get a different resolution depending on the format. For NTSC, you would get around 480 lines of video. This is considered Sub-HD. For PAL however, you could get 576 lines of video, meaning that PAL had a 20% higher resolution! Higher resolution=Better picture (usually).

As great as VHS tapes were, there is a reason that they have gone away now. A huge drawback to tape was the amount of deterioration that affected the quality of the video. Did you know that every time a VHS tape was played, the overall quality was degraded?! Yeah! That’s pretty ridiculous. Oh and we can’t forget how the tape would get stuck in the VCR and either destroy the tape or break the VCR.

Another reason VHS tapes have been replaced is because of how low the resolution actually was. When you watch a Youtube video, you are probably viewing a video that was shot in 720p or higher. Any lower than that and people often start to complain that the picture looks distorted or pixelated. Yet, VHS tapes play at 480 and 576p!

By the way, the last movie to ever be released on VHS was a film adaption of Christopher Paolini’s book, “Eragon“.  Which is funny because that film was awful! If you have ever seen it, you know what I’m talking about! Read the book, don’t watch the movie. Anyways…

In 1995, the DVD (Digital Video Disc) was released.s712920274195106853_p1_i1_w600.jpeg This was a big change from the VHS as the DVD had a completely different look, much better quality picture and sound, and could be used as a makeshift mirror if needed.

The DVD uses several different formats  MPEG-2 Part 2 and MPEG 1 Part 2. However, something that is worth noting is that while DVD’s offer superior quality compared to VHS tapes, the resolution is not that much higher than a tape. Usually DVD’s play at a resolution of 720 x 576p with certain models of DVD playing lower resolutions.

A very unique fact about the DVD is that there can be multiple layers of data on one disc. Basically, this means that DVD’s can expand their storage capacity if needed to hold a longer movie.

I’m sure that you’ve seen those DVD’s that had the “shiny part” on both sides of the disc. This is another way of expanding storage, though this method is primarily used for multiple movies on a single disc. But there have been instances where a disc was double-layered AND double-sided for a whopping 15 Gigabytes of data available.

Now of course there are several unfortunate facts about DVD’s that, well, are rather annoying. The “shiny” part of the DVD is a haven for scratches, fingerprints, and smudges and when all of these built up, the DVD would skip or just stop working in the middle of a movie. Oh! What about not placing the disc in the disc tray properly. Yeah that was fun. Try to place it in there only to leave out part of the disc and then have it smashed.

Despite being an older technology, DVD is still one of the most widely used formats to date. It’s cheap, it has decent quality,  it is remotely durable, and it’s easy to get a hold of.

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Finally, we come to the BRD (Blu-Ray Disc). The Blu-Ray was first released in 2003, but did not actually receive any real use until 2005 and 2006 respectively. The Blu-Ray looks and functions very similarly to the DVD, but it has a distinct advantage. It has the storage capacity of (on average) five DVD’s and can display video in resolutions that go all the way up to 3840 x 2160p! I don’t even have a screen in my house that can go as high as that.

Because of the Blu-Ray’s immense storage capacity, it can display 1920 x 1080p high definition video and has superior sound quality compared to the DVD. It also has the ability to be layered, just like a DVD, to hold massive amounts of data. In fact, I’ve seen these things hold anywhere from 25 Gigabytes of data to rumors of models that hold 1,000 Gigabytes!!!!!

Something that is nice about the Blu-Ray is that it has an anti-scratch/smudge polymer (called Durabis) on the “shiny” surface to prevent scratches and permanent smudges.

But why is it called Blu-Ray??? Well, it’s actually kind of funny.  You see DVD’s use a red laser diode to write and read data to and from the disc. Blu-Ray’s use a purple laser to do this…yet it’s called Blu-Ray, weird…okay moving on. You see, purple light has a shorter wavelength than red light. Therefore, more data can be packed into a single area! Pretty cool!

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A DVD laser would be towards the 700 nm marker, and a Blu-Ray laser would be over around the 450 nm mark.

I hope you guys enjoyed this! Hopefully, I’ll be able to blog again within the next week. Thanks! Take care!

Sincerely,

The Myriad

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Tangent Time V13: Steam Sale Scuffle

HELLO!!!! IT FEELS AMAZING TO BE ABLE TO WRITE AGAIN!!!!!! OKAY I’M GOING TO STOP WITH THE OVERLY LARGE LETTERS.


 

Some of you probably don’t know this but I really like video games. I’ve been playing games since I was about six or seven and I’ve gone from playing on a GameBoy to a Playstation to an Xbox and finally a PC.

From my current platform, PC that is, there are a lot of cool things to enjoy within gaming on this platform. Looking for a small game you can play within your internet browser? No problem! Looking for an MMORPG? (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) The computer is basically designed for that! Looking to play the same game that is on console (Playstation 4, Xbox One) only with better graphics and frame rate? Okay enough “nerding” out.

Now something that a lot of PC gamer’s use to buy games is an online service called Steam. It’s kind of like the App Store or Google Play, except it is for computers. The point of Steam is to allow gamer’s to connect, play games together, buy games at amazingly low prices, solve problems, build game modifications (coding that alters a game), download video and audio software, etc.

Around the end of June, Steam launched their Summer Sale. This sale drops the prices of games by massive percentages! I mean have you ever found something that was 80% off? Well on Steam, it isn’t unusual to find a game marked down that low!

For several months I had been wanting to buy the Tomb Raider 2013 reboot.

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I had a friend who played it and he told me that it was a phenomenal game. So when the Steam sale hit, I logged on and saw that it had been marked down from $20 dollars to $5 dollars. I clicked on “Add to Cart,” checked out, and proceeded to download the game.

After waiting about a day for the game to download (shout out to less than 1 mbps internet speed) I installed the game and clicked play.

I was ecstatic! Tomb Raider is an adventure game with a good story, fun game play, interesting and engaging characters, and a lot of other wonderful goodness! I was pumped to see what fun and terrifying travels lay ahead.

Seconds later the game started!…and then crashed.

Then and error message appeared 😦

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I sighed and forced myself not to become angry. These kinds of things happen all the time. Though I had never laid eyes on an error that said this. But oh well. That is one of the hurdles with PC gaming, it isn’t always a cinch trying to get a game to run properly.

I began trouble shooting, trying to play the game with this on and this off, or with this checked and that unchecked, messing around with the game files, looking up the problems on the internet, etc.–NOTHING! I couldn’t get the game to work!

According to several internet forums, for some unearthly reason certain people could not get this game to work no matter what they tried. Why? I have no idea. I did find a Youtube video that I thought was the answer, but I gave up from frustration and considered my final options.

I decided to return the game.

I was so disappointed! I wanted to enjoy a cool and engaging story, with different characters and twists and turns, mystery, mayhem-oh bother…it makes me sad thinking about it.

I opted to get another game, but it really wasn’t that fun so I returned that game and…ugh…after working up the courage, purchased Tomb Raider again! At this point I felt like the game was going to send me to my grave a little early! (Get it? Grave? Tomb? Teehee)

Once the download was complete, I tried to play it and surprise! surprise ! it didn’t work! I would say, at this point, I had, in total, spent about an hour and a half attempting to run the game. UGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! I had not a clue what to do!

But then I realized something: Solutions often come from the place you least expect. I recalled all of the forums and websites I had visited and was startled to find that I had ignored the Youtube video! Maybe that was the answer. After all, the producer of said video was having the exact same issue as I was.

With nothing to lose I pulled up the video, watched it very carefully, and copied the individuals every move……I may have even moved the mouse in the exact same motions as that person did, but never mind! Once the task was complete, I clicked play.

And. I. Waited.

It really doesn’t make any sense.

It worked, yes the fix worked hallelujah! But I was dumbfounded by how stupidly simple the fix was! My jaw dropped–then I started playing the game and haven’t looked back since.

Here’s what I did:

I unchecked this box.

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Clicked “Apply”

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Voila!

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Well thank you all for reading my Steam Sale Scuffle. It was not fun…but now I guess it is kind of funny because I tried this multiple times, but then I did it in this order and it worked. Computers can be so weird sometimes! Anyways, the game is fun! Yay!!!!!

Thanks for reading! I should be able to post another one tomorrow, so be on the lookout!

Sincerely,

The Myriad