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Celebrating VHS and DVD
Watching movies at home has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment; but 40 years ago, we lived a different life...

Imagine a life without flat screen TVs, soundbars, the Internet, CD players, streaming and MP3s. Yes, that was our life before two of the biggest home entertainment formats came into existence – VHS (video home system) made its debut 40 years ago and it’s been 20 years since the first DVD players arrived on our high streets.

VHS reached the UK in 1978 and DVD in 1997. It was actually JVC that first demonstrated VHS in September 1976 and the first VCRs went on sale in a Japanese store at the end of the following month. JVC eventually dominated the whole market with this format and little did anyone know at the time how big this market was to become.

Back in those days JVC’s biggest rival was Sony Betamax, which they tried to make industry standard for home video. However JVC’s smart licensing of players and tapes to lots of companies enabled them to corner the rental market, seeing VHS defeat Sony Betamax. VHS sold around 900 million VHS decks worldwide and billions of blank and pre-recorded tapes.
By the mid 1990s, the home video market was huge. VHS had seen off Betamax, but the next evolution was even bigger and due to stay.

DVDs (Digital Versatile Disks) got big in the late 90s where studios decided to offer the large chains revenue sharing deals which suddenly gave them mass market visibility. Customers could see and hear the advantages of the compact and slim disk. The advantages apart from better picture and sound quality from a DVD were a smaller format, no loss of quality over time, and no more rewinding tape! The DVD revolution was then in full swing as the studios started to release more and more movies on DVD. The price of DVD players dropped gradually making them more and more accessible, and the home movie market hit new heights.
Now, DVD faces competition from another disc format in Blu-ray (this time, backward compatible) and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.

In today’s age of technological advancement, where Netflix, iTunes and others have made sure that you’re never more than a click away from watching a movie, we sit back and reflect on how the landscape has changed - no one could predict that the home video business would become such a giant industry that would reshape movie making, and ultimately, Orbitsound too!