Friday, March 22, 2013

Pleading the Case for Old Media

With more and more audio and video formats coming at us, it seems like a waste of time to hold onto our old records and video tapes. Why hold on to these old formats when they seem to just take up space in the garage or attic? While there are hundreds of reasons to let go of your dusty old record or tape collection, this article takes a close look at these old technologies and why they just might be worth hanging onto after all.

Vinyl Records – The record has been the primary recording medium for almost a century, and vinyl records have languished in our bookshelves and storage spaces since 1947. With your entire music collection fitting on an iPod, it seems silly to keep 12-inch records and a turntable around, but there are a couple of reasons why you might not want to get rid of your wax collection just yet.

  • Durability – When stored properly, vinyl records can sound just as good as they did when your grandparents bought them for 25-cents apiece. That is because a record is made up of grooves in plastic, and as long as they are stored and handled carefully, those little grooves will last as long as the plastic itself which can potentially be thousands of years (not that you want to preserve grandma’s Lawrence Welk records for the next millennium, but who knows? That might be all that’s left of our culture by then). 
  •  Sound – As we have noted before, true audiophiles prefer the warm analog tones of vinyl records to that of sterile digital recordings. Audiophiles believe that the computer cannot replicate these organic tones and the only way to truly appreciate a recording is from a vinyl pressing. This is why true audiophiles are willing to spend thousands of dollars for the right turntable to play their old albums on. 
VHS Tapes – Who can forget the huge library of video tapes that many of us grew up with? Not to mention the hassle of finding a blank tape to record the latest episode of Survivor. With new and higher resolution formats available on the market, why hang onto that clunky old VCR and tape library? A couple of reasons may keep you from throwing out your tape collection quite yet.

  • Availability – With the way that video formats seem to come and go, many obscure movies and TV shows fall through the cracks and do not appear on newer formats. Because VHS tapes dominated the home theater market for so long, many rare gems of entertainment were recorded on VHS that never made it to DVD or Blu-ray. Searching eBay or Amazon will help you find some of these treasures, but more often than not, they are on video. 
  • Digital Download – It’s no secret that video tape has a finite shelf life. This is why movies you watched as a kid just don’t look as good now. Nevertheless, you may want to preserve some of these great shows along with the many tapes your parents likely made of your childhood. If you don’t want a VCR cluttering up your home theater space, you can connect it to your computer instead and copy those old tapes to a digital format. You can then burn them to DVD or stream them to your TV and relive the memories over and over.

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