Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Misleading video packages

Misleading video packages — We examine the rhetoric on the jackets of some popular videocassettes

Posted on

Like the little guys in the school yard who act the toughest, the cheapest movies on videocassette make the boldest quality claims. After our mini-mall trek, we examined the heated rhetoric on the jackets of the titles we bought and deciphered some common come-ons:

What the Label Said: ”High Quality Videocassette,” ”High Quality Tape,” ”High Quality VHS Color.”
What It Meant: Hi, sucker. Cassettes were recorded in EP or LP format, whose ”quality” is distinguished by snowy, grainy images.

What the Label Said: ”Laser Duplication: Manufactured with patented TMD Laser Process.”
What It Meant: Laser, schmazer. Despite fancy duplication process, cassette was still recorded in EP, with results noted above.

What the Label Said: On a gold-embossed sticker, ”SQ — Superior Quality Duplication.”
What It Meant: PT — Partly True. Cassette was recorded at standard-play speed, which is superior to EP, but pseudo-tech ”SQ” abbreviation was concocted by video distributor to mimic such standard terms as HQ (high quality).

What the Label Said: ”Video by Technicolor.”
What It Meant: Technicality. Movies haven’t been filmed in Technicolor since early ’70s; tape was merely duplicated by division of Technicolor company.