Why VHS tapes are better than DVDs and Blu-Ray
Sun, 24 Apr 2022
Following up on Why Dial-Up Internet Is
Better it seemed appropriate for some satire on DVD and Blu-ray
Anyone alive in the 1980 and even in the 1990s is most likely
familiar with VHS, the archaic video format involving plastic
cassette tapes and the big, clunky bricks that were used to play
them. These days, you'll really only find VHS tapes in thrift stores,
many of them with rental store stickers still on them. Say what you
will about these obsolete things, but there are actually a few ways
in which they're better than their disc successors.
- More resistant to damage. If you scratch a DVD or Blu-Ray disc,
you risk damaging it to the point where the disc may become unusable.
You might experience screen freezes or a skippy soundtrack, or the
disc might not read at all. If you scratch a VHS tape, it still works
just fine, assuming you don't scratch the film inside, which is
rather difficult to do accidentally. Even if you do damage the film,
you might just have a little static and a jumpy screen here and
- Because of their durability, VHS cassettes can be the perfect
video choice for very young children. Little kids aren't exactly
known for handling things with care and it would be very easy for
them to damage a disc. Meanwhile, they can throw a VHS tape down the
stairs and it'll still work, and it's much easier for them to put a
tape in a VCR than try to place a disc onto a disc tray.
- Keeping your place mid-movie. When you completely turn off your
DVD/Blu-Ray player and/or take the disc out, you have to go to the
scene selection screen and find which scene was closest to the one
you left off on. Compare to a VHS tape, which you can stop, take out
of the VCR, not pick up again for ten years and it still remembers
where you left off.
- Price. When VHS tapes were still being actively made and sold,
they were about as expensive (if not more so) as many DVDs and
Blu-Ray discs are now. But, since they're an outdated format, you can
easily find them at yard sales and thrift stores for less than a
dollar each. You can get VCRs pretty cheap at thrift stores as
- Not too high-definition. Some more modern forms of media are so
sharp and defined that you can actually see the actors' pores. Do you
ever notice that? It's kind of weird to look at. Apparently, too much
of a good thing exists even in movies. VHS, on the other hand, has
just the right touch of lesser quality to allow you to focus on the
film itself and not the texture of the characters' faces.
- Easier for some folks to use. For many grandparents and parents,
discs are a little too new-fangled. It can be tough for some folks to
navigate menus and press tiny buttons to get where they need to go,
especially if the disc in question is one of the kinds with several
movies on the same disc. With VHS tapes, you just pop them in and let
- You can fast-forward through anything. With most disc-based films,
there are certain moments before the film begins that you absolutely
cannot skip: the anti-sharing warning, the previews or the intro for
whatever studio made the film. It's annoying that you can't just pass
on these features and get right to the movie. With VHS, you can start
fast-forwarding the second the tape starts running.
- You don't have to deal with region codes. Some DVD and Blu-Ray
discs have region codes, enforced by the player, which just means
that certain movies won't play in certain regions. There are no
worries about this with VHS; if you have a tape that's all in German
and you don't live in Germany, it will still work in your American
- Some things are only available on VHS. Certain films and shows
never got a DVD release, so if you've got your heart set on adding
one of these titles to your collection, you'll have no choice but to
get it on tape. Unfortunately, such treasures often cost a pretty
penny; something that wasn't re-released on disc is almost always
something that wasn't very popular, meaning it's going to be on the
rarer side and might be somewhat of a collector's item.
- VHS-exclusive original versions. Certain movies may have had bits
and pieces tweaked or edited out for their future DVD releases, and
the only way to see that original version (legally) would be to
obtain a VHS copy of the film.
- Nostalgic value. Just about everyone who grew up in the last
quarter of the twentieth century watched their favorite films on
tape, and VHS is a big part of many folks' childhoods. Sometimes, it
just feels more right to watch your beloved cel-animated Disney
movies with a VCR.