The best things about video stores

I have a collection of 300-400 (maybe more) DVDs and Blyray that we haven’t even looked at or played in the last 4-5 years so I may look at selling it off but am well aware that I’ll get next to nothing for it and the target market is most likely very small here in Dunedin, NZ anyway.

Here in Oz, second hand DVDs sells for just a couple $$ - if they sell at all.

Yep its pretty much the same here, I’ll keep them as I haven’t ripped all of them yet as I simply don;t have the disk space (or the need for all of them)

Before there was Disc-mate…

Finally sorting n cleaning n digitising my VHS… those 2 piles are just the ones I thought would be interesting…


Seriously though - how did we ever tolerate VHS? Rewinding… fast forwarding… I mean - tape for Christ’s sake…

And now my Sharp VCR has died after a full 10 minutes work. Ok - I’ve had it since 1990-something… but still. Have to try the back-up AWA machine, though it needs a head-clean first. Gonna have to open it up. S’pose better involve my 11yo who has suddenly developed a love for “taking things apart”.

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It was truly awful, and I’ve got Weir by Killing Heidi and “HAVE YOU GOT WHAT YOU PAID FOR?” forever emblazoned in my memory

I used to hate how commercial tapes would have previews on them… which you then need to fast forward through… And of course, every different system had different ways of doing things. Older VCRs in particular used to have those counters (feet of tape?) instead of giving an indication of time… some machines could read the time off the tape, but not always entirely accurately, and then if I recall, some machines could identify the “next” recording on a tape - if it had done the recording… But this was useless for any other tapes…

5 tapes cleaned, 1 snapped, 0 digitised. Also forgot how much fun it was opening a cassette… all those rollers flying out everywhere if you open it the wrong way (which I did)…

(Having fun, though. :slight_smile: )

I’ve just digitised 126 VCRs… my god thank goodness its over!!! Now have 11 Blu-Rays of archived VCRs.

The most frustrating part was that my Elgato Video capture kept doing this intermittent thing with some VCRs were the video would be in slo mo for the fisrst 1-30 minutes and then the audio would suddenly catch up as soon as it left slo mo. So very annoying. I tried two different Mac Minis (early and late 2009) and a MacBook Pro (Mid 2010), with El Capitan and High Sierra. Still couldn’t work out why it happened. Having to redo a 3 hr VCR is annoying!

Luckily for me, well towards the end days of common VCR usage (Circa 2008?) we bought a new LG VCR as the Phillips one we had developed a line across the picture, that I believe persisted after a head clean.

Still have a working 1987 Panasonic VCR, which IMHO matches or bettered the 2008 LG, but it only has mono sound, and I feel like doing 127 VCRs through it (and I would say I had to do at least 40 again), might have killed it.

I used to enjoy watching videos on VHS. :sweat_smile: Still been meaning to get around to watching some of the cassettes I’ve picked up.

The VCR makes a difference. Some decks were trash, prone to failure and difficult to maintain, with poor picture quality. There was a period throughout the late 1980s and 1990s where machines with digital tracking, digital time counter, high speed rewind and fast-forward, automatic slow-down at end of reel, stable freeze-frame, and Hi-Fi Stereo sound became more common - not standard, but common on higher end decks. Those made a world of difference.

(And of course S-VHS decks went one better, including a built-in time-base corrector that stabilised the image and signal, on top of having a higher resolution.)

My Sony SLV-EZ77 (2000) even has a digital image processor, called the “Reality Regenerator” that supposedly does some image cleanup. Watching anything on that is a pleasure compared to the other machines.


Out of curiosity, what hardware are you using to do the capture? I have some cassettes I’d like to convert to a digital format for archiving, and since I’m looking at around $45 a tape to have them done professionally, I’m thinking about giving it a shot myself.

I don’t have a fancy VCR with TBC unfortunately… :frowning: It’s a Sharp VCH710X, 6 head, stereo sound. As for digitising - I just use a handcam with analogue to digital pass thru - Canon MVX430.

I have actually just been considering what capture cards I could instal in my Mac Pro to do the job of the handcam - and to include TBC - but seems they still hold high prices…

I had a colleague years ago (early 90’s) who’s Dad owned a Video Store in Geelong (don’t remember the chain). Their busiest day of the year was Christmas day, people would be lined up out the door to rent something rather than watch whatever the hell was on Christmas night.

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I haven’t done anything to try cleaning the footage up yet… but just came across this from one of my VHS tapes, circa 1991, and felt this thread calling me:

For some reason I had taped Sale of the Century’s “Champion of Champions” competition (at least 1 episode), and found it contained therein. As such, I’d place it from I think 1998. It is announcing the arrival of the Civic Video chain to Darwin, including a competition for a trip to Bali! (Only a few bucks travel from Darwin…!)

For some strange reason I thought Civic Video were around longer. But I remembered that the one in Malak before Civic Video was actually Video Connection. That was a huge store. Probably the biggest in Darwin (or close) It dwarfed the Video 2000 around the corner.

Ahhh, actually my above figure was wrong - tape was from 1994. Confirmed by a competition date on another ad. :slight_smile:

Video 2000 Casuarina was huge… think Centrelink moved in?

My last local one - Fairview Video in Fairview Park, SA - has announced it’s closing down as well.

Went in there this afternoon. The store is apparently still profitable; I think it covers its operating expenses at least, but the owners have decided it’s time. They would prefer to sell it and keep it open of course, but there aren’t many potential business owners looking to invest in the video rental business these days.

I’ll admit, I seriously considered it. A profitable, still operating video store with a regular and diverse clientele? The last remaining rebranded Blockbuster in Adelaide? Where do I sign?

But it would, without a doubt, be a labour of love. You’d do it as something you enjoy. You’d need to downsize a little, reduce the floorspace and some of the overheads. Thinking longer term, perhaps diversify from being solely a video rental store and introduce other aspects of the business appealing to other niche demographics like pop culture, nostalgia and film aficionados as well.

Another one of those “if I had a couple o’ million dollars” kind of things. I’d buy it tomorrow if I did.

(Or a few thousand and a much bigger rec room. I’m already thinking about picking up some extra Blockbuster wall banners and fixtures.)

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It would be the perfect place to have a mini Minotaur / Popcultcha store - although you’d really need to work out what would be good sellers with limited space… Can only imagine I’m not the first to think of the idea.

I’m thankful to be old enough (but not too old) to have memories of video stores and VHS tapes. I even remember Betamax… There are so many films from the 80s that never made it to DVD or to any online or streaming service.

You would think that the magic of streaming should open up some of those “lost” titles for rediscovery, as you only need to prepare the title for the digital era, and clear all the copyrights / actors fees etc… (and then find a streaming service to take it on)

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Interesting article about a Cairns store doing well:

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