Why keep collecting LDs?Without surprise, LD movie fans are more content-driven than format-driven and don’t mind sticking to a commercially obsolete format as long as they see personal value and pleasure in it. The fact that some exotic contents (horror movies, live concerts, jazz, video clips, etc.) still haven’t made it to DVD is a sure indicator that they won’t find their way to future HD mediums any time soon. Most of 70’s and 80’s contents wouldn’t look good in HD anyway by lack of proper source materials. Stick to your LDs for as long as they keep this uniqueness factor!
Some contents were also released only Pan&Scan on DVD when the letterboxed version exists on LD. Some others were released but lacked some bonus or commentaries only available on the LD edition. Censorship and politically correct re-releases quite often do not really please fans that prefer to keep the unrated/uncensored version on LD (Disney or Warner cartoons for example).
Box sets at the second position are a testament to the “collectability factor” of nice cover art-work, inserts, packages carefully designed (Disney, Criterion, Japanese editions, etc.) that stand the test of time and can still be proudly displayed on a shelf, even in the most recent Home Theater systems.
Then of course those deliciously mixed and encoded Dolby Digital AC3 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks have nothing to be ashamed of compared to newly mastered DVD. Originally optimized for full-range speakers, they did not have to cope with smaller sound systems: the digital tracks in surround mode were still available for that purpose. Even today, DTS LDs still command a premium for their soundtrack quality and also for the fact that the complete collection of 100+ titles is within the reach of a collector trying to collect them all.
The Criterion Collection enjoys the same kind of collector’s affection (after all, they invented the concept of Special Edition with extra documentaries, commentaries, book, essays, high-end design, etc.). The size of the complete collection (almost 400 discs) also makes it a possible target for collectors avid of completeness.
Until Star Wars is finally available in all editions, in a properly HD remastered form with every possible existing bonus and making ofs (the way Blade Runner got treated for its 25th anniversary release), the US “Faces” as well as the Japanese Boxset editions will still carry a high collectability. And they also look really good on a shelf!
Musical contents usually take a longer time to be entirely moved to the next format. Only since quite recently, publishers have been pushing more aggressively Jazz, Classical and Opera contents to DVD. Still, true collectors wouldn’t accept anything released in Dolby Digital 2.0 (instead of LPCM 2.0) when the same program exists on LD in uncompressed digital stereo.
Hi-Vision was shortly lived in Japan as an analog HD format based on LD and never conquered the world. Still it preceded current HD formats by more than 10 years and helped to push HD concept in the public’s mind (especially in Japan). I still lovingly keep my MUSE LD player along with the needed decoder and several discs as a tribute to history! I guess I’m not the only one
The possible list of choices was not closed and I got several other good possible reasons to keep LDs 8 years after the last disc was manufactured including:
- Cheap price on second-hand markets (in lot)
- Cover art (can be re-used in a frame to create nice movie art!)
- Collecting Anime titles in a more pleasant form
- No Digital Right Management (and no Region Code other than PAL vs. NTSC)
- Better sound
http://www.lddb.com/ - The LaserDisc Database