Cheap is just the new “normal”

DVDs Then and Now

This evening, my wife and I sat down to watch a couple of movies that we haven’t seen for a while. First, we watched “A Knight’s Tale”, which is one of the first movies we ever purchased on DVD. This was back in 2001; almost twenty years ago already! After that, we decided to watch one of the most recent DVDs we’ve purchased, X-Men Apocalypse. When I picked up the box from the shelf it almost flew right out of my hand!


The box for X-Men Apocalypse was so light! I never noticed it before, but after just putting down A Knight’s Tale, it was impossible not to notice the difference in weight between the two DVDs. I even opened up the box to A Knight’s Tale, once again, to ensure that there wasn’t a booklet or something inside, which was adding the extra weight. There wasn’t! It was just a single liner note page and the DVD itself, just like the X-Men box.

The difference was the plastic box, itself. The Knight’s Tale box was a nice, thick, heavy plastic; well designed to protect the DVD inside. The X-Men box, however, was one of those new-style, ridiculously thin recycled plastic boxes that will fold in and buckle if you happen to sneeze too hard in its direction.

Just out of curiosity, I took the boxes to the digital scale and compared the weights. A Knight’s Tale: 115 grams; X-Men Apocalypse: 62 grams. That is with both boxes containing their DVDs and single liner notes page.

What’s the purpose of making such cheap boxes that are supposed to protect the DVDs inside? They can barely do this! Even those cardboard style DVD boxes are better and more rigid than these flimsy things. If they’re so concerned about the environment, then use the plastic/cardboard combination style boxes (aka “Snap Case”). But, protection is not their purpose. Their purpose is to milk as much money out of us as possible, while giving us products that can barely perform the basics of the tasks they were designed to do. And, to perform those tasks for a minimal amount of time, so we’re forced to re-purchase them after they completely fail.

This is just the level of performance and dependability that we’ve grown accustomed to in this modern “technically advanced” age. Utter crap. Long gone are the days of pride in your work and value for money.

They’re really trying to force us into this digital market, but I’m not going to waste any of my money on that false economy. I will take my VHS, Laserdiscs and DVDs to the grave before I give them up. And if they stop producing physical media altogether someday, then that’s fine with me. It a rare thing to find a new movie I want to watch anyway. Besides, most new movies these days are just remakes of movies and T.V. shows from the 80s and 90s, which I’m likely to already have.


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  1. My kind of vibe. “Security through antiqity” . “Yesterday’s Technology Delivered Tomorrow” as joke mission
    statements.

    For a really cheap entertainment source; lookup a whole class of professionally made films; released under creative
    commons licenses online.

    A favourite is a spoof Star Trek and Babylon 5 mashup full length movie made by a bunch of Finnish Film Students.
    Creditable acting, and VERY professionally produced.

    StarTrek “In the Perkinning” if memory serves me accurately.

    Never explored the site I got the much more polished Final Cut from; it did have a huge collection.

    Hopefully its still findable from regular search engines and meta search engines.

    Enjoy if you do!

      1. Enjoy! I’ve located my original download on an ancient backup external Drive.
        So I dont need to get it again. 2005 October release.

        But I forgot about an even more polished DVD only issue, that was broadcast
        on Finnish TV. (Wikipedia / IMDB)

        There is also New movie in the making! Something to look forward to, if it is as
        funny as the original.

        Here are some additional resources to make it easier for the blog reader

        https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Starwreck+In+the+Pirkinning+Full+length&t=vivaldi&ia=web

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wreck:_In_the_Pirkinning

        https://slashdot.org/story/05/10/01/1551217/star-wreck-released-as-download

        ( October 01 2005 Slashdot contributor – The Free Open Internet Version )
        Please use http://www.starwreck.com/torrent/star_wreck_itp_su btitled_xvid.torrent [starwreck.com] to get the torrent. That will serve the file from the fastest server
        depending on load and your location.

        Not tried it again; the main site is still up as they are STILL into this!
        A really alternative alternative Star **** Franchise Spoof World has begun!

        The Saga Continues! Recent Developments:
        http://www.starwreck.com/wp/

        Star Wreck: Timecrash

        A short film now in development

        Star Wreck: Timecrash short film continues the Star Wreck saga. It takes the franchise to a new dimension where Soviet Union rules the future Earth. The Communist utopia is coming to an abrupt end when a race of demonic aliens zealots, The Grind, launches a surprise attack on Earth. Only one man can stop them – Captain Pirk.

  2. My goodness, I could have written that myself, apart from it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as well-written as you’ve put it here!

    I first noticed this with audio cassettes. Take a TDK SA or MA tape from 1983, and compare it to the same one from 1997 and the difference in construction quality is astronomical. The earlier tape is heavier, the plastic shell less prone to warpage, and the whole thing feels stronger. Wind the tape along with your little finger, and you can feel that even the mechanism itself is much smoother and easier to turn.

    I think I’ve already ranted to you regarding cell phones. You can make similar observations regarding hi-fi equipment, too.

    By the way, I am typing this using a mechanical keyboard and mouse from a computer I had back in 1995. I’ve had to purchase a USB adaptor to make it work on modern PCs, because everything is now USB and these older models of course use the round PS/2 connector. It’s comfortable and easy to type on, is solid and strong – and most importantly is both reliable and durable. In contrast, I have had 3 new keyboards on my other computer. They last maybe a year before they become unreliable, or the key markings fade, or one of the legs snaps, or… you get the picture.

    You can still get good quality stuff if you’re willing to pay a premium AND know where to look. But it’s getting harder and harder. Everybody just wants the latest and greatest, or the cheapest. Neither gives any manufacturer any incentive to produce something durable, or to take pride in their work. My Nokia 3310 has finally started to show its age. I understand current Nokias to be made in Vietnam and possibly also China. I quite fancy the current 3310 and 800 Tough, which retail at around £50 and £100 respectively. If Nokia offered “Made in Finland” versions of these, I’d happily double or triple that money, purely to support quality European production. Over the course of another 20 years, this will of course work out much cheaper than a “cheap” phone produced in the Far East.

    1. Hey, thanks James for sharing your experiences on this subject. It really does seem these days like if you want anything that lasts, you need to find new-old stock (as they call it). I just love those old beige mechanical keyboards from the 90s. I have one of them still stored away, just in case I set-up a desktop PC again in the future.

      I’m glad you liked the article! 🙂

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