bluescreenoftom (bluescreenoftom) wrote,

Why Laserdiscs are still kind of relevant

Ok, stick with me on this one. Laserdiscs might not be the latest and greatest. They might not even be HD. But they're still kind of relevant.

Prior to DVD's mainstream adoption, Laserdisc was unquestionably the best quality way to watch a movie at home. They were big and cumbersome, but that size provided an additional artistic medium that is lost on the current download generation: the big sleeve. Sleeve art was essential; it made the movie pop out at you when you were deciding what to watch, rent, or buy. And Laserdiscs had the biggest and the best. Still, it's the content of the movie that matters the most, right?

The traditional pro-laserdisc argument usually goes something like this: Laserdiscs were analog, and hence they handled certain types of images better. For example, high motion action flicks tend to get that blocky MPEG look on DVDs, but Laserdiscs (and VHS and other analog medium) didn't have this problem. This is a variation of the vinyl record vs CD argument. There are some truths behind it, but I've come to face the fact that this alone isn't enough.

To me, the biggest selling point of Laserdisc in 2012 is a combination of 2 things: the fact that, before DVD, they provided the highest quality home video storage method AND that there is a HUGE catalog of titles on Laserdisc, many of which never made it over to DVD (and beyond). Furthermore, many movies that did see the transition to DVD also saw modifications to th original film. Here is just a small subset of the many Laserdiscs that never made the cut to DVD. The true list is much larger, and while many movies that didn't make the cut didn't deserve to, there are also many forgotten gems. Even movies that did make it to DVD often did so in some unoriginal form. Take, for example, Star Wars. The list of changes between the "Definitive Collection" Laserdiscs (arguably the last and greatest quality un-butchered version of the films) and the DVD releases is enormous. Of the many positive things that can be said about the Laserdisc editions of the films: Han shot first, and as long as you're watching it on Laserdisc, he always will.

Just my opinion. Laserdiscs may not matter to most anymore, but they're still kind of relevant, even in 2012.
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