The DVD Revolution: Movies, Culture, and Technology

The DVD Revolution: Movies, Culture, and Technology

The DVD Revolution: Movies, Culture, and Technology

The DVD Revolution: Movies, Culture, and Technology


The introduction of the DVD marked the beginning of one of history's most successful technological innovations, and capped a 75-year development of home-viewing possibilities. Never before have film fans had access in their living rooms to something so remarkably close to the theatrical experience. In addition, because a DVD can hold much more than a single movie, it has allowed films to be marketed with a variety of extras, sparking both a new packaging industry and greater interest on the part of home viewers. This book provides an examination of the DVD's impact, both on home viewing and on film study. From film fan culture through filmmaker commentaries, from special editions to a look at where the format will go from here, author Aaron Barlow offers the first-ever exploration of this explosive new entertainment phenomenon.

As the DVD becomes the popular vehicle of record for films, it is also becoming a unique and unprecedented way for the interested viewer to learn more about filmmaking than has ever been possible before. Because of its ability to reproduce the dimensions and quality of the celluloid image, film fans and scholars can have practically perfect reproductions of classic and contemporary films at their disposal. Not only will this book be of interest to the burgeoning population of DVD fans and collectors, but it will provide insights that should be of interest to both students of popular culture and of film.


In 1994, video stores offered only vhs tapes and a few laserdiscs. There were rumors of new technologies for home viewing on the horizon, but few took them very seriously. Film connoisseurs cherished their lovingly-prepared laserdiscs; everyone else seemed satisfied with vhs tapes.

What a difference a decade made! By 2004, the videotape had lost most of its shelf space and the laserdisc was but a fading memory; the Digital Video Disc (or Digital Versatile Disc) has replaced them in one of the fastest and biggest technological changeovers ever seen.

Having completely defeated its competing media, the dvd is now fundamentally changing the way we interact with movies. Indeed, the dvd has thrown us unprepared into a whole new cinematic possibility where, among other things, the integrity of the film is of higher importance than ever before and its life is immeasurable. Starting with videotapes—but accelerated since the introduction of the DVD—movies are no longer fixed in time but are now fixed in boxes, few even indicating the year of release, removing them from the competition of the “new,” raising them above mere trendiness. Thanks to the dvd, our classic movies are beginning to be treated as respectfully as classic books.

This is only one of the changes the new technology is sparking. Home dvd viewing has become such an integral and powerful part of the American film experience that it is likely to soon achieve in perception what it already has in fact: dominance over the filmmaking world. What does this mean for the industry? For the film scholar? and for the viewer? How are classic movies improved so much by the DVD? This book examines these questions and more: What is it about the dvd that has made its victory so . . .

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