This may not come as a big revelation to media-savvy readers, but when are DVDs finally going to die and be replaced by a better format? For some time, I had confidence in the digital video disc, its quality and durability far superior to the VHS tape, more streamlined and less cumbersome than the laserdisc. Oh, what joy those early days of the DVD hath brought. But the honeymoon is over, folks. I can’t tell you exactly how many times I’ve gotten a disc from Netflix that skipped, jumped or was just plain cracked (actually cracked and taped over), but enough times to make me realize how fallible, how fragile and how close the DVD is to obsolescence.
Replay on DVDs really seems to take a toll. Or is it just those beastly Netflix subscribers, using a copy of “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” as a coaster for their coffee cups? And I doubt Blu-Ray is the answer. I suspect those discs have the same fundamental physical limitations. As I see it, these digital downloading systems can’t come any sooner. Where’s that truly on-demand entertainment culture? It’s certainly not waiting for the mail to arrive with a new scratchy DVD.