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TK's MORNING BUZZ: A Video Is a Video, Whether It's on a VHS Cassette or a DVD

12 Sep, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I just lost an argument with my 4-year-old. I asked Justin this morning whether he wanted to watch a movie, and when I pulled out the Rugrats feature on DVD, he gave me a dirty look and said, "Daddy. That's not a movie. That's a DVD." I tried to explain that this was a movie on a DVD, but he yanked out a VHS cassette and said, "THIS is a movie. That's a DVD."

Our industry is facing a similar battle of words. For a long time, anything you could pop into a set-top box on your TV and watch was called a video.

With DVD, the line has been drawn--people consistently refer to cassettes as "videos" and DVDs as, well, "DVDs."

That's wrong, and it's something we're combatting in our magazine. Videos is a generic term that applies equally to cassettes and discs, as long as there is, well, "video" on it.

There are two formats for video currently in use: VHS cassettes and DVDs. If you're a video store, you don't exclusively rent or sell VHS; you also rent or sell DVD, because it's simply another format.

The whole thing reminds me of the mid-1980s when CDs first arrived on the scene. At the time, I was covering the pop music beat for the San Diego County Edition of the Los Angeles Times, and I frequently referred to an artist's new "album."

That was wrong, my editor informed me. An album is a 12-inch vinyl record, also known as "LP" (short for "long-playing album).

Well, then, what was I to call a new body of work by a musical act? My editor instructed me to call a CD a CD. But what if the artist's "CD" was also available on audio cassette? He didn't have an answer.

Eventually, I won this argument. My editor saw the light and grudgingly accepted that CD, cassette, LP are nothing more than different formats on which a record company issues an artist's RECORD ALBUM, which is merely a collection of songs, just like a photo album is a collection of photos.

Today, "album" is a generic term for a collection of songs that have been previously recorded and can be purchased in packaged form by consumers.

It's also being used for music downloads, and no one blinks twice when someone says, "Hey, I just downloaded a really cool old album by Elvis Costello."

Hopefully the home video industry will also come around in time. A video is a video, regardless of whether it's on a VHS cassette or a DVD--or, for that matter, a Beta cassette or a laserdisc.

Comments? Contact TK directly at: TKArnold@aol.com

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