Death of The Video Rental Store

Death of Video Rental A few weeks ago, I was sitting at a traffic light by the Hollywood Video store near my home and glanced over at the empty parking lot. This was not an unusual sight because for years the parking lot at the Hollywood Video was always empty. But looking a bit closer, I realized the space was being gutted and prepped for an upcoming Advanced Auto Parts store. The Hollywood Video store was gone for good.

To be honest, I have not entered a video rental store in probably 10 years. But, I still felt a bit sad and nostalgic for all those Friday and Saturday nights back in the early 1990’s that I spent in the video store perusing the shelves for the newest flick with my boyfriend (who is now my wonderful husband). Rows and rows of videotapes, which eventually changed over to DVDs, were all lined up right at our fingertips. We really enjoyed going to the video store.

But then my husband and I stopped going to the video rental store. And it looks like everyone else stopped going too.

DVD-Ranger Backs Up Your DVDs, Convert to BluRay & More

DVD Ranger - box coverNow that you’ve got all of your VHS tapes either copied to your computer or onto DVD, it’s time to back all of those DVDs up. DVD Ranger copies your DVDs to your computer; your mobile device, be it iPod, iPhone, PSP, Zune and more; or over to Blu-Ray disc.

You can opt to squeeze 10 older formatted DVDs onto a single BluRay or upscale your 480i/480p DVD to 720p or 1080p HD video.

DVD-Ranger can burn your already created disk images (ISO) to SCSI/IDE/USB DVD burners and recorders. It can rip your DVDs for backing up or make a backup copy in case you have a disc that seems to be dying.

About the only downside to DVD-Ranger is that it comes in either a yearly subscription or lifetime subscription.

Buy now!
Price: yearly subscription: $39.95; lifetime subscription: $69.95
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

One-Button VHS to DVD Converter

vhs to dvd converterHere’s another VHS to DVD converter that’s an all-in-one unit being sold at Hammacher. It’s a one-touch system – stick in the VHS tape, and a blank DVD and press a button for conversion.

This also includes a built-in HDTV tuner so you can record from your TV/cable/satellite as well. It can also read and convert DV/Digital8 camcorder videocassettes. Includes an HDMI output.

A bit pricier than the other hardware/software options, but you may prefer the easier learning curve.

Buy now!
Price: $349.99
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

Warner Bros Program Offers Upgrades of DVDs to Blu-ray Discs

Yup, the title pretty much says it all. Ship them your old Warner Bros DVD movies and for a replacement fee (starting around $8 per disc), they will send you Blu-ray versions of those flicks.

I’m surprised at the low number of titles and you should consider first whether the upgrade price is worth it. You may not really get much additional value in the Blu-ray title.

You can find the service at the DVD2Blu website.

Honestech VHS to DVD 4.0 – transfer VHS video tapes to DVD

We reviewed Honestech’s VHS to DVD 3.0 product in depth last year and found a top-class product that quickly pays for itself if you have any amount of analog media to save. Well now, Honestech (Honest Technology) has an updated version, VHS to DVD 4.0 Deluxe.

The gist of the product is still the same: it has an A-to-D (analog to digital) converter box that attached to the your computer via USB 2.0. It accepts inputs via 3 RCA cables (1 video, 2 audio) and/or S-Video. This also means that this device is not just about VHS, but can handle pretty much any audio and/or video input that you can push out via one of those cable types. So get those VHS tapes out of mothballs and transfer them today!

In case you were considering v3.0, here’s (just some of) what you can find new in v4.0:

  • HDV camcorder as input
  • 16:9 widescreen
  • HD editing
  • Burn to Blu-Ray DVDs
  • Chapter menus
  • Higher resolutions up to 1920×1080
  • Handles WMA audio
  • Upload to YouTube

Buy now! (Price: $50)

(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

And if you’re looking for other possible VHS to DVD converters beside this one, take a look at our article with 3 other products or our article covering 2 all-in-one units.

Review: Stargate 15th anniversary Blu-ray DVD

It seems like the original Stargate movie was released more than 15 years, what with the 3 TV series, books and additional merchandising that have come since. However, it has been 15 years and to celebrate and commemorate it, Lionsgate has released a special Blu-ray version of the movie that includes over 4 additional hours of features. We had a chance to review the DVD recently.

Apart from the original theatrical release, the DVD also includes an extended director’s cut that adds just under 10 minutes of additional footage. Top fans will appreciate this cut. What was more important to me was that the movies were remastered in 1080p Hi-Def widescreen with 7.1 DTS audio. The picture was stunning.

Other features (or in some cases, named ‘featurettes’) included an interactive game, a gag reel, an audio commentary version of the movie narrated by the director/producer/writers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, and 5 short pieces that like the “Making of Stargate” documentary and “Is there a Stargate?” which explored whether aliens have visited Earth.

I wouldn’t buy the DVD for the interactive game which I found to be way too slow, didn’t show the correct answers, and with very long gap between questions that you can’t skip past.

I also found the gag reel to be too esoteric for my taste and forgettable.

However, I very much liked the additional ‘featurettes’:

  • “Is There a Stargate” – although misnamed, this piece asked the question whether aliens have ever visited Earth. They could have gone the traditional route of debunking it, but instead decided on the more fun, interesting point of view, providing some of the evidence gathered by writer Erich von Daniken.
  • “Deciphering the Gate: Casting & Concepts”, “Opening the Gate: The Making of the Movie”, “Passing Through the Gate: The Legacy”, “The Making-of Stargate” – I really liked these featurettes. They were informative, gives fans insights into the history of the movie without running on too long.

Although I personally didn’t think the extended cut really added that much more to the movie, hardcore fans will probably appreciate it. All in all, for a reasonable price (under $20), you can now add the Stargate movie to your collection in all its remastered glory.

(Disclaimer: Gizmos for Geeks received a complimentary review copy of this product.)

VHS2DVD Wizard – Converts VHS to DVD

VHS2DVD Wizard

VHS2DVD Wizard is another competitor in the VHS to DVD conversion market. It presents a simple and tidy way to transfer your VHS video tapes to DVDs. Sure it might not have the same features as some of the other competitors (round up) but it does it cheaper and perhaps with less hassle.

Plug in the 2 video cables to connect your PC via USB to your VHS player, install the software and simply hit play on your VCR. The software will capture it as it is playing and allow you to edit unwanted sections out at the end (such as ads) before finally burning it to DVD, or simply saving it on your computer for future viewings. The price ($50) is very similar to that of Honestech’s VHS to DVD Deluxe (which we’ve tested and reviewed in depth), but keep in mind that the Honestech product doesn’t care whether its VCR or any other analog source (audio and/or video) as long as it has RCA output jacks.

Buy now!

Price: $49.99
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

General Electric shows off optical disc storage breakthrough – 500GB disc

Researchers at General Electric (G.E.) have announced a breakthrough in optical disc storage – 500GB on a single disc (the equivalent of about 100 DVDs using standard technology; Blu-ray discs can hold much more).  G.E. uses holographic storage techniques to achieve this capacity.

Despite the discovery, there is no telling if this will take off commercially at this point. It will be a matter of economics as to whether the technology can be brought to market at a price that consumers will be willing to pay.

4 Top VHS To DVD Converters

VHS to DVD Conversion

I recently got rid of all my VHS tapes, simply because I decided there were only 4 or 5 worth keeping, and I might as well just buy them on DVD if I ever wanted to watch them again, but what if you have hundreds of VHS tapes that you don’t want to throw away? How do you convert those VHS tapes to DVD? Well, over the years we have featured a few solutions that will allow you to copy your VHS tapes to DVDs for a fraction of the cost of buying new ones. Here’s our Top 4 countdown:

Amazon’s Emmy Event

In anticipation of the 2008 Primetime Emmy Awards show (Sep 21), Amazon.com has built a special page highlighting all of the nominees and naturally links to buy the DVDs of those shows.

Hop over and browse the list of shows that you may not have been watching, but turned out to be better than you imagined they would be. Buy the DVDs and catch up before the new season is over!

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