Ed Driscoll

Future Shock

Great moments in Urban Modern prognostication:

1997 NYT Flashback: DVDs Can’t Match “Pop-and-Play Ease of VHS Tape”

Oh, people of 1997: how easy it is for us future people to mock you, sitting in the fancy Jetsons-like high-rise called Hindsight. Twelve years ago today, the New York Times asked whether an upstart new technology called “DVD” could possibly succeed.

Today, BTW, the Times Business Section had a feature on Redbox, a company that rents DVDs for $1 apiece and is undercutting older distribution models.

A few choice quotes from the 1997 article (emphasis added in bold):

“[Disney] regards DVD as ‘an excellent technology,’ a Disney spokeswoman said, but it has no plans to release movies in the format.”

“Anyone considering purchase of a DVD player should bear in mind certain realities. The presentation of movies on the disks hardly matches the pop-and-play ease of VHS tape.”

“[i]t is almost unimaginable that the Hollywood studios, which agonized long and painfully before splintering over copy protection on DVD, would ever allow high-definition digital software to reach consumers.”

NASA will sell rocket cars before Hollywood places such technology in video shops.”

Speaking of NASA and rockets, the Times was right on top of that story, as well.