If you grew up during the late 70’s, you were introduced to this:
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. 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.
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!I hope you guys enjoyed this! Hopefully, I’ll be able to blog again within the next week. Thanks! Take care!