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.