How did DVDs steal the spotlight from VHS?

Posted by Chloe Christine Allerton on

The digital versatile disc, better known as the DVD, surfaced in the late 90s and early 200s. They were newer, smaller and more compact, so how could they not steal the spotlight? 

For a colossal twenty years, VHS enjoyed a satisfying place as the number one choice for everybody's entertainment system. From recording home movies and family footage to being fully loaded with all the latest Hollywood movie releases. However, it is not surprising that such a popular and beloved format became antiquated at the hands of DVDs

When did the DVD take over occur? 

DVDs were constituted and developed in 1995, yet they were not the first version of themselves. In the early 1960s, optical recording technology was utilised, it was known as the laserdisc. Next came CD video, closely followed by Toshiba, Time Warner, Matsushita electric, Hitachi and many more, all keen to evade configuration wars analogous to that of VHS and Betamax. 

In 1995, an ad-hoc group was formed consisting of Apple, Compaq, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. A press release was issued between them, affirming that only a single format would be authorised; thus ending the format war and consolidating the companies by advocating the super density disc to release a single format with technologies from all. Due to this concession, the regulated DVD was born. 

DVDs were praised for their higher video and sound quality, superior lifespan and interactive capabilities. It is no surprise that home entertainment traders were quick to replace VHS tapes! Also, DVDs pretty quickly dropped dramatically in price. This made them more accessible than ever before. Two of the four leading video game consoles got on board with this trend and pledged to design a games console with DVDs as the source medium. 

In the mid-2000s, a vast amount of retail chains in the US and Europe declared they would no longer be selling VHS equipment. DVD players began to outsell video recorders in 2002 and could be found in 90% of British homes. The last known manufacturer of VHS technology was Funai Japan, which only terminated productions in 2016 as a result of falling sales and a shortage of components. 

Why are DVDs more popular than VHS tapes?

There are a number of key benefits that saw DVDs rise to glory over VHS: 

  • Better picture and sound quality 
  • Ability to skip scenes and restart the movie with one click 
  • Interactive menu 
  • Additional footage such as outtakes and directors commentary
  • Have the ability to be played on various devices 
  • Longevity 
  • Slim and compact 

In layman's terms, DVDs are all-round superior; the only lacking component is that some DVD releases do not allow trailers and adverts to be skipped, whereas VHS tapes did. On the other hand, when compared to the many other advantages they hold, there really is no competition. 

Today, DVDs face rivalry from none other than Blu-Ray technology, but this one is not so straightforward unlike other format wars. DVDs have not ceased to sell, and blu-rays are slow to adapt due to their cost, and most consumers have satisfaction with DVD, so why should they switch? 


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