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THE MORNING BUZZ: Confessions of a DVD Virgin

4 Dec, 2001 By: Holly J. Wagner

I've long been a fan of home entertainment.

I hardly ever go to a movie theater. OK, I broke down and went to Harry Potter. But I think the last movie I saw in a theater before that was Cast Away. Yeah, I know, I don't get out much.

On the other hand I had premium cable service, which I've just traded in for cheaper satellite service. I rented tapes when I had time to watch them and the show I wanted was too far off on cable.

Now the big confession: Until about a month ago, I was a DVD virgin. I got to Video Store Magazine about seven months ago and after years in general circulation news, I was learning this industry. I knew DVD existed, but it was a high-end gizmo to me.

Eventually, this gig compelled me to get a DVD player.

So imagine my surprise the first time I popped a disc into the little tray and started pushing buttons. After all those ordinary VHS entertainment snacks, I could experience the crispy, crunchy goodness of DVD picture and sound. Then there's the bonus stuff, which ranges from nonexistent to hopelessly vapid to mind-blowingly awesome. The best part is, you don't have to rewind to see what you want. Zap! Zap! Zap! You're there. It's rather like a cross between watching a tape and surfing the Net.

I'm a tough sell, but I'm sold on DVD.

I'm also a student of behavior and of the Internet phenomenon. A few years ago, a reputable Internet consulting company called Zona Research came upon a measurement that has since been widely adopted in the cyberworld as "the eight-second rule."

The eight-second rule says that if the average Web surfer has to wait more than eight seconds for your Web page to build, he'll go back to the search engine and move on to another source. You've missed your opportunity.

That's the real, simple reason DVD will ultimately win the video war.

Yet again, new technology has made the First World (including me) impatient as a world society. This particular period of acceleration dates, by my reckoning, from the television remote control forward. I forget which standup comic says "We had remote control—my dad kicked me and yelled 'Change the channel!'" But the point is, we've become accustomed to information or entertainment on demand, at the touch of a button. Almost as fast as you can wish it. How very Harry Potter of us.

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