The DVD Revolution Essay

The DVD Revolution
Specific Purpose: To inform my audience
about the features and advantages of DVD video.

Central Idea: The DVD video format
has superior audio and visual quality to VHS, as well as more special features,
which is why it should eventually occupy the place of the VCR in American

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I’d like to start things out by taking
a survey. How many of you remember having a CD player in your house
fifteen years ago? Not very many of you, I see. Of course,
we all have CD players now. It took a little over a decade and some
major price drops, but eventually we all threw out our old vinyl and cassettes
and opted for the excellent sound quality and convenience of CDs.

Just as the CD took the place of
cassettes, many people believe the DVD, or digital versatile disc, will
soon take the place of VHS tapes. Many of you may not even know what
a DVD is, so before I go any further, let me show you what one looks like.

(Take out DVD disc) It’s the same size as a CD, but it has two sides.

Just like a VHS tape, it plays movies directly on your television.

DVD video players were originally released in early 1997, and their first
year sales were twice that of CD players, which is strong evidence that
the DVD is here to stay. Why is the DVD so popular, and what makes
it better than VHS? There are three main reasons: sound quality,
picture quality, and special features exclusive to DVD.

(Transition: Let’s start with the
sound quality of DVD)
I. The sound quality of DVD is far superior
than that of VHS.

A. DVD discs utilize digital technology,
which is the same technology used by compact discs.

1. This means that you will get
crisp and clear sound equal to CDs.

B. DVD players are also compatible
with all surround sound formats.

1. For those of you who don’t
know, surround sound is a system of speakers
set up
across a room that provides a listening experience similar to being
in a movie theater.

2. The combination of a surround sound
system and CD quality sound is best realized when listening to musicals
like “Singing in the Rain”, or action films with a lot of sound effects,
such as “Starship Troopers.”
C. You have the ability to listen
to different audio tracks.

1. This means that on just one disc, you
can listen to a movie in a number of languages, usually English, French,
and Spanish.

2. You can also listen to just the musical
score, with the dialogue and sound effects turned off.

3. Some discs even feature a running commentary
by the actors and director while a movie is playing.

(Transition: Now that you know a
little abound the sound, let me tell you about some of the visual features
of DVD)
II. Movies have never looked better than
on DVD.

A. The picture on a DVD player is twice
as sharp and clear than VCR players.

1. As Entertainment Weekly writer Micheal
Glitz put it, “( Colorful movies like The Wizard of Oz are) so beautiful
you’ll want to freeze some scenes and leave them on your TV the way others
hang works of art on their walls.”
2. The picture is already perfect, so
you’ll never have to fool with tracking again.

B. You can watch the movie from two different
screen ratios.

1. You can watch a movie in widescreen
format, which is when the screen has the little black bars at the top and
the bottom. This is the way movies are viewed in theatres.

2. You can also watch the movie in “pan
and scan” format. This is how things normally appear on a television
screen. You won’t have the black bars, but you also won’t be seeing
the entire picture.

C. You can watch some movies with
subtitles in several different languages.

1. Subtitles allow the hearing-impaired
to watch movies without having a closed caption feature on their televisions.

2. Many people enjoy watching foreign
films with subtitles, rather than dubbed voices. This allows them
to hear the original actor’s voice, and not a translator.

D. Some titles allow viewers to adjust
the camera angle on a scene.

1. You can step into the director’s chair
and call the shots. You get to control the camera and look at a scene
the way you want.

2. This feature is excellent to use on
sports programs. You can watch a play from multiple angles and scrutinize
every move made.

(Transition: In addition to superior
picture and sound, you also get additional features found only on DVD.)
III. DVD is more fun and convenient than

A. Each movie starts out with a menu screen.

1. From the menu you choose what features
you want, such as subtitles or a widescreen format.

B. DVD allows you to skip to any scene
in a movie.

2. Just like skipping to your favorite
song on a CD, DVD allows you to go directly to your favorite scene
in a movie.

3. You’ll never have to bother with fast
forwarding through the previews, or rewinding at the end.

C. You may also get extra bonuses.

1. This can include behind the scenes
documentaries, games, original movie trailers, or interviews with the cast
and crew.

According to an article by Steve
Traiman in the September 5th, 1998 issue of Billboard, there are already
nearly 800,000 DVD players in North American households, and more than
ten times that amount in is expected in the next four years. And
why not? In addition to the features I’ve listed above, players can
be purchased for around $300, there are over 1500 movie titles available,
and most of them cost between ten and thirty dollars. One web site
is even selling a DVD version of President Clinton’s grand jury testimony
for just two cents. The DVD is to the VCR as the CD is to the cassette
player. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually the DVD will become
the primary movie format and find a place in your living room.

Gallagher, Leigh. “Global Bottom
Fishing.” Forbes September 21 September 1998: 274.

Giltz, Michael. “Move Over, VCR.”
Entertainment Weekly 25 September 1998: 109-

Traiman, Steve. “DVD’s Steady Climb
Mapped Out at Industry Conference.” Billboard
5 September 1998: 111.

Internet Sources
DVD Centre. “Warner Announces New
DVD Pricing Plan.” 11 July 1998. URL:

5 October 1998.

DVD Video Group. “What is DVD Video?”
URL: 5 October


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