Music, Movies, The Mind, and the Body

The devices that get us there and how far we’ve come; technology alignment. 8mm, Betamax, VHS, DVD, CD, Rewritable, MRIs, CT-Scans, Cloud Systems or Applications

What was once only available to Hollywood and few households, is now available to all with many sharing options, special effects, and ways to showcase talents and share or preserve our best memories

Cinematography, Videography, Commercial and Home Use
Case Study: VHS vs. Betamax

Television technology started with the introduction of mechanical televisions in the 1800s all the way to the present-day High-Definition Television with associated devices. Mechanical televisions scanned images and projected them onto a screen, using photo/slide show projectors. Later, inventor Philo Taylor Farnsworth, age 21, introduced the electronic television; a system that captured moving images using a beam of electrons (basically, a primitive camera) (BeBusinessed, 2019). The first television displayed only black and white images, with color televisions being introduced as a German patented idea in 1904. The black and white televisions were not compatible with color televisions and despite this major flaw, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared that the CBS color television was going to be the national standard (BeBusinessed, 2019). In general, a live television program was more common for broadcasting content produced specifically for commercial television in the early years of the medium before technologies such as video tape appeared. As video tape recorders (VTR) became more prevalent, many entertainment programs were recorded and edited before broadcasting rather than being shown live (Wikipedia, 2021). The first recording devices were too expensive for home use, but prices became more affordable as they became more popular. Sony demonstrated a prototype videotape recording system it called “Beta” to the other electronics manufacturers in 1974 and expected that they would back a single format for the good of all. JVC decided to go with its own format, despite Sony’s appeal to the Japanese Ministry of Trade and Industry, thus beginning the format war (Wikipedia, 2021).

Sony’s Betamax was the first popular consumer Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) on the market, developed in Japan and allowed for recording for about an hour’s worth of audio and video (PC Mag, 2021). The Betamax eventually lost to rival JVC’s VHS (Video Home System) format in the consumer space but continued to be popular in the professional recording and broadcasting space, surviving until early 2016 (Techopedia, 2021). When JVC released the VHS in 1976, the war between Betamax and VHS began. The victory seemed to come down to three main factors: 1) Recording time; 2) Picture Quality; and a commonly held belief that 3) a slick marketing campaign (Owen, 2008) worked. It is noted that recording time was a major factor, as well as pornography. Betamax allowed for 60 minutes of recording time, while VHS allowed for up to three hours. Pornography was readily available on VHS, but not allowed on Betamax by Sony.

VHS was able to capture the video rental market, so many studios preferred to release videos on VHS. JVC also imposed lesser restrictions on manufacturers of players and tapes, which allowed for greater variety and supply, resulting in cheaper hardware and availability (Techopedia, 2021). VHS was the most popular way to record television shows and connect to recording cameras for the creation of affordable home movies; an advanced way to preserve movies and memories in addition to film photography. Television technology has progressed from mechanical, electronic, digital, all the way to high-definition television with various television types and features, along with its associated streaming and recording devices for broadcasting video. For the video recording industry, most advances have been centered on quality, speed of transfer, ability to record, edit, and share, all the way to professionally storing and managing recorded Hollywood digital movies at an affordable price. Cinematography was built on video technologies which expanded for home use, making the technology and equipment affordable and lightweight.

Digital cinematography for theater viewings was different from the Video Home System, with a timed delay until availability in home video format, often for sale and rent. Many rental companies started off with stores allowing the purchase and rental of VHS, then DVD and CD, now most available only online, except for a few with completely redesigned video rental and return structures, such as Redbox and other online video retailers. In present day videography, handheld devices are the most popular for recording and streaming live and recorded video. Recorders for personal use are available on tablets, smartphones, camcorders, and web cameras, offering excellent pixel quality and even editing and special effects capability at a low cost.

The fact that one industry standard exists for video recording and only one will survive is not factual, because the video/imaging and recording spans across multiple industries – beyond Hollywood. Betamax, VHS, DVD, and DVD-RWs can still be found in homes across the world today, in year 2021. The video industry started with 8mm film and transitioned to digital, which is the current standard. The next wave, with some rare commercial availability, is advanced optical light waves with connections using other aspects of physics that enable more than just the audio and visual sensory systems. Virtualization attempts to integrate technologies on multiple levels, beyond two way send and receive capability simply for viewer consumption of entertainment into a virtual reality, gaming, and advanced teleportation systems, using videography or devices with similar photon light projection capability.

Both Betamax and VHS became obsolete because of digital recording technology (Techopedia, 2021). Simply stated, DVDs and CD-RW, with DVD-RW made the VHS much less desirable and almost historical monuments that sit on the shelves. Many VHS owners sought to transfer VHS onto CDs and DVD; a process called home digitization for storage, archive, and streaming purposes, but much quality was lost until compatible devices were made for the computer. Video recording was closely aligned to audio and sound recording, with video on hard tapes, skipping the recording to vinyl, to compact discs all the way to compressed digital computerized files, called MPEGs or MP3/4s. The first video recordings were made without sound and audio later included with better technology.
The home digital audio recording industry took off before the video compact disc recording was introduced, largely due to the order of release of compact disc-rewriteable (CD-RW) technology and the file compression tools and video software. The Compact Disc Technology was then used to create digital videos, released for sale, with the first major industry player being Sony, introducing the Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), used to sell movies. These were merely just formatting differences, managed by different hardware and software systems, with consumer focus being on quality, storage space, and price. VHS tapes were a great invention, bringing recorded Hollywood movies to the household, with many people building collections, but quality diminished over time, they were bulky, and expensive. Buying a video meant that the movie would have to be watched more than once or twice for the purchase to be worthwhile. Quality and space issues improved with the DVD, but the products were more fragile. Once the recording abilities were introduced online, the entire home audio and video industry suffered and created new innovative ideas to improve entertainment systems.

Not long after CD-RW’s, came the introduction and popularity of the DVD-R discs and the Blu-Ray, marketed as the highest quality digital video player, with the two in sort of competition, with CD-RWs and DVD-RWs used for what law enforcement called piracy. This category of optical discs changed the media industry dramatically, creating new opportunities for the file, movie, and sound industry to provide digitally mastered recordings on new formats. The Internet and home computer technologies enabled recording to be done on personal computers if the users had the right software and hardware with access to the recordable files. This created some issues in the copyright industry, which added more restrictions and penalties, as well as new surveillance methods for the distribution of copywritten works. This was seemingly uncontrollable due to advanced technologies, such as the Peer-to-Peer Networks where digital media was often freely shared and pirated. Content of such media has also progressed and taken on different forms of expression which enabled the creation of a rating system based on parental supervision for various audiences under the age of 18.
CDs and DVDs were the primary way to view and own physical digital movies, but this became a maintenance and quality problem as new technologies were introduced, such as the Blu-Ray and later, online video streaming and sharing. These changes, taking place over nearly a decade gave way for online digital media sharing systems of virtual data: entertainment for music, television, and movies and changed physical storage. The Internet has made CD/DVD/DVD-ROM and other hard-disk technologies unnecessary because of video sharing and storage applications such as YouTube and the personal computer’s hard drive. Any music video and pretty much any movie can be found and rented online, and people are able to create their own storage and sharing accounts, as well as store and copy a rented or homemade movie. Reviewing copyright laws, managing subscriptions, protecting personal digital content, and creating the right storage, backup, and archival process, using either the best SmartPhone or other digital recording device technology, such as the camcorder or web camera is commonplace. This, what they call “The format war,” seems to have been going on since Betamax and VHS, with new progression in Digital Medias all the way to the point of hardware minimization, reduction to near obsolescence.

The best technical strategy is the storage and distribution of such media using software applications on networks, with the idea of television networks transformed into computer networks that work with subscription and browser-based systems, using only an Internet Connection, this was known as Cable TV. Network Cable Television has made its major changes as well, advancing from Cable connections to Satellite, now to Internet, to a point where only an Internet connection is required. A better technical strategy would have been the storage and distribution using a one-to-many satellite approach with subscription based computerized digital systems, but industry would have missed out on many years of massive profit and since underground cabling was already laid, it was too late. While technology has changed this industry, making entertainment and its devices more affordable, it still does not perform at an optimum level because there are many options available: local device storage, cloud services, subscription-based streaming, online rentals, DVR, and service such as Cable, Internet, and Satellite. Saving money and having access to quality video at a more affordable price is the current focus. Quality of streaming online was solved with high-speed internet connections.

These changes have greatly reduced the cost of entertainment and its associated devices, with the TV, VHS, STEREO, CD, DVD, Camcorder, Cellular Phone once being standard household items, consolidated into a few smaller devices, being the Personal Computer or Laptop, the Digital Television, and the Internet Cable Modem for a connection, with associated ‘free’ or subscription software services for storage and streaming, which is a simplified term for ‘watching online.’ Some entertainment consumers use only a Smartphone or Tablet.

Dr. Phil, the famous television personality, compares the human memory to video recording technologies, as experiences being “tapes” we play in our minds when we remember something and can re-write our tapes or memories and create better ‘life scripts’ (McGraw, 2003). This was the beginning of an unpublicized merger of video and computer science with psychology, without directly stating the computer and its peripherals are designed similar to the human mind and human brain or neural networks. Most of our minds compete for better improved psyches just as the technology inventors and manufacturers do; constantly on a path to create improved or better technology, or a better sense of self in internal and external representation, but it is unknown if society and humans enjoy improved mental recording and experience as advanced technology has brought us. Video technologies is a new and common way for people to communicate. These conveniences in digital technologies have in fact enriched our lives, requiring less cost and less objects to satisfy our needs for video entertainment. It has also given us a platform for anyone to become famous and friendly anywhere and anytime using the Internet and software applications. What should and could possibly better align with Digital Media is neuroscience and its equipment for better understanding of technology’s alignment or release schedule and plans – if any, as well as active and inactive brainwaves, patterned behavior. More research is required with documented evidence and proof, but a quick look at technology, the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and CT-Scan technology displays still photographs of brainwaves and images in black and white, an advancement from the X-Ray Machine and a similar start as video recording. This shows neuroscience has a way to go in advancing technology with factual data capturing system and is valuable opportunity for alignment, but it is behind, with much room to grow and little time to catch up beyond cosmetic and laser surgery. This, along with the use of other technologies is guaranteed to change society in more ways than just creating a culture of social stars across the world in online popularity or public broadcasting and social media or from using the Internet as a pretty picture sharing and video streaming system. Imagine leveraging home computing devices to enable brainwave scanning, along with other features such as eye tracking and advanced features of intelligence, sharing, and communication systems?

Virtualization and cosmetic surgery are easy, but real-life transformation using digital tools is necessary and valuable research. Much needs to be reviewed and compiled since media is a major brain and behavior influencer, as proven by many consumer studies on music, marketing and advertising, using subliminal messaging – where choice and free will is always the bottom line. Humans by themselves are the best optical image readers, taking mental photographs, notes and commentary, with just our eyes and if the personal computer is used as an input and storage device, with a one-way connection, imagine what a two-way virtual connection could bring, especially if we could give it the protections and security it needs to invoke healthy thoughts and feelings that can temporarily or permanently change not just individual physiology, but collective understanding, thinking, and behavior? This would in fact change the labor force, but it is a gigantic undertaking where history, repetition, and advanced restriction or omittance must take place. This requires a change in our mental conditioning and understanding of our system of law, communication, sharing, and behaving – with the focus and study area being – what did Audio and Video have to do with all of this? In Hollywood motion pictures, there are few laws followed; a place where killing is rated for parental guidance and viewed as entertainment, so the converging of those two worlds must first be secured. Video is used in real life for two very different purposes than Hollywood major motion pictures and the two worlds becoming the same could have monumental effects, possibly with consequence on society, as we saw with people streaming live home movies as if they were paid horror film actors.

Industry cannot solely focus on entertainment, otherwise we might be viewed as a culture that seeks escape, lives murderously, vicariously or as voyeurs, or a human race seeking to advance to another level of life, which might not entirely be a bad thing. The study of the influence of media has already been completed, as has dream and subliminal impact, but technology has not publicly advanced to utilize the input devices and journalize the results using the Personal Computer with parallel technology application and releases in all areas of use – such as the MRI. Microsoft has the technology to record request and store data, but the systems are not available for public viewing, other than what we create that shows our viewing habits and our hypothesis’ on how the devices affect and infect our and their lives. If movies were automatically created, by all humans and owners of PCs, we’d run out of storage space if not limited to a certain amount of time available for recorded works, thus impacting the surveillance industry.

The balance of things, as well as the rate of production and introduction of media and its devices must be managed together, with better recycling initiatives on better schedules, improved content, for better alignment for the benefit of all people, places, and things and not simply for Hollywood entertainment. Humans can only hope that virtual reality and digital media remains a publicly consciously aware society of law-abiding citizens and not solely consumers of digital media with a known and respected separation from ‘acting,’ gaming, and living in real life, but also learning and communicating. Practice makes perfect and doesn’t always require an ‘aud-ition,’ nor should it allow the old companies, such as Sony to manage its progression. It does require new strategies that makes best use of technologies and lessons learned in its applications to other industries, beyond ‘standards and profits’ with better purpose and reason, as well as the use of the products. The consolidation of the SmartTV into a stereo, internet ready projector, video player, gaming system, exercise machine, phone, and computer display are serious accomplishments of digital, planet, and money saving maximization. 

References

History of the Television, BeBusinessed, accessed via the Internet at
https://bebusinessed.com/history/history-of-the-television/ on November 6, 2021
Wikipedia: Betamax, accessed via the Internet at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betamax on
November 6, 2021
PC Mag, Encyclopedia: Betamax, undated, accessed via the Internet at
https://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/betamax on November 6, 2021
7 Ways Technology has changed Television, Techopedia, A. Brown, July 15, 2021, accessed via
the Internet at https://www.techopedia.com/7-ways-technology-has-changed-television on
November 6, 2021
Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out, Dr. P. McGraw, Free Press, May 6, 2003
The Management of Technology and Innovation, A Strategic Approach, Third Edition, M. White
& G. Bruton, Cengage Learning, Inc. 2017, 2011

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By Sheri