GETTING MORE TALE #521: DVD Recorders
Obsolete and outdated technology can be fascinating to look at. For a long while, it looked like everything was going to go DVD. Even music. There was talk of box sets by bands such as Led Zeppelin or the Beatles that could fit the entire catalogue on one disc. The Digital Versatile Disc all but completely took over from the VHS tape for viewing, so why not for simple household TV recording too? Enter the DVD recorder. This was not the same as a DVD burner for your computer. It was a standalone unit for your home entertainment system, connected to your cable box and ready to go. As you can guess, it failed gloriously. Why? Uncle John’s daily calendar tells us it came down to cost:
While it is considered obsolete now, the DVD recorder had one slight advantage over the typical PVR that you can rent today from Rogers Cable. That is keeping a recording permanently. I’ll give you a great example.
In 1994, my future father-in-law won tickets to go see the Toronto Maple Leafs during the playoffs facing off against the Sharks in San Jose. My future wife came with him, bearing a sign that said “DOUGIE G. FOR PRIME MINISTER”. This is of course a reference to legendary Toronto Maple Leaf center Doug Gilmour. Then my wife saw the unmistakable Canadian hockey broadcaster Don “Grapes” Cherry in the lobby, with his colourful suit and camera crew. She shouted out “GRAPES!” Nobody else in California would have known him as “Grapes” so he knew it was a fellow Canuck. He saw the Dougie G. sign — his favourite player from Kingston, Ontario. He asked her to come on down. That’s how my wife got on Hockey Night in Canada back in 1994. We have a copy of this on video tape, but when the game was re-run a couple years ago, we recorded it including the part with my wife on our Rogers PVR.
It was nice to have it digitally but we always knew we’d lose it if the PVR busted. There’s no way to retrieve a recording from it, according to Rogers. So when it finally kicked the bucket, we lost the hockey recording. No matter; we’ll just wait for the next re-run.
If we only had an old-fashioned DVD recorder, however, we’d have a hard copy that we could have kept safe and sound forever!