Why DVD and why now?

By EW Staff
Updated January 19, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

You’ve heard about the great picture and sound and you’ve read about all the extra whoozitwhat’s-its; heck, you might’ve heard that stuff about laserdisc 10 years back. So, why DVD and why now?

1 They’re Cheap. If you’ve been waiting for the prices to come down, stop waiting. You can now get one for under $200. That’s probably what you paid for your VCR five years ago.

2 Everything else you need is cheap too. Sony, Panasonic, and Yamaha, among others, offer reasonably priced (sometimes less than $500) ”surround sound in a box” systems that include everything you need to take advantage of the dynamic sound that DVDs offer.

3 Studio muscle. When was the last time you saw an ad for a movie new to video that didn’t mention ”Now on video and DVD”? New technologies are always a bit risky, more for big corporations than individual consumers, so you know that the waters are somewhat safe when the mega-companies dive in.

4 They’re a ”spanning” technology. Of course, you’re worried that like most new gizmos, it’ll be obsolete before you plug it in. Fear not: Many DVDs are enhanced so that they can take full advantage of the increased resolution that will come with those new HDTVs.

5 It’s not just for geeks anymore. Why DVD? Because there are classic movies that haven’t been available on video for years that are being restored for a digital release. Because you can get some of these discs for about as much as you’ll pay for a CD. Because you’ll want to show a few of these movies to your grandkids, and theoretically, DVDs can’t be overplayed, or worn out, or chewed up in the machine. That’s why.