The VCR revolutionized the way we watched TV. Not only could we record something and then run it later, but it was also now possible to save a bunch of episodes from a show and watch them back-to-back.
Home video companies started releasing TV shows on videocassette and this practice intensified dramatically with the arrival of DVD. That format’s capacity meant that many episodes of a series could fit on a single dual layer disc. Depending on how long a series lasted, you could conceivably include every show in one just boxset. The capacity increased even further with the arrival of Blu-ray.
Streaming services like Netflix made it even more convenient to go nuts and binge watch, particularly since the site is designed to automatically start playing the next episode whenever you finish one.
For some, this became the most common way to digest television. On the plus side, watching one episode after another can keep up the suspense and interest. It makes a television series seem almost like an extra long feature film.
On the downside, binging can become a major time suck, taking up many hours of your day, week, or even month. There are so many options available, you can theoretically go from one binging situation to another.
Of course, another reason many people binge is to avoid commercials. DVDs, Blu-rays, and streaming services are usually commercial free, and you can always record shows and then easily skip over the ads.
The way we consume media has changed in ways that few could have imagined. It used to take years to watch a show, one episode at a time over a period of weeks. Now, it possible to binge your way through a series in only a matter of days!
What is your preference? What is the best series you have ever binged?
Technology waits for no one and that is increasingly true right across the board. Let’s take television: Cathode Ray Tubes and a 1.33:1 display were the standard for over 50 years. In 1997, DVD arrived and sets soon became a bit wider at 1.78:1. A few years later, progressive scan replaced interlaced images and resolution began to march upward. From a standard of 480i, we soon reached Hi-Def 720p. Then that game way to 1080p. And now we have the next step: 4K, which offers 3840 pixels × 2160 lines.
All of those years where we were happy with standard def seems like another lifetime. TVs have gotten bigger and bigger and thinner and thinner. The images are now incredibly sharp and realistic, sometimes to the point where the program or movie you’re watching suffers under such intense scrutiny (many sets and types of make-up were designed a certain way because the makers knew there would be a certain lack of clarity to hide flaws – not anymore).
It can seem confusing for those of us out there who only think about TV specs every few years when we need a new one (I won’t even get into the current OLED vs QLED debate), but it always boils down to personal preference. How much space do you have for your set? How much money do you have to spend? What type of things do you watch?
Many people have money on their minds constantly and, as a result, are reluctant to splurge on big ticket electronics. However, as technology advances, prices come down. I paid over $1000 for my first DVD player back in 1997; now I can buy one for $30 that is just as good or better.
Large format TVs used to be the sole domain of the rich, but prices continue to drop. If you want an especially large 4K, that could set you back $10,000, but if you only need, say, 40″, you can grab one for less than a grand.
What do you need? Shop around for prices, size, and format. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.