They'd be illegal these days but he looks forward to their nationwide revival after Brexit, once we stop the reviled bureaucrats of Europe undemocratically preventing us from torching our own infants
I wish to be recycled. Not out of environmental guilt, mind. It's just that I find that crusty old stuff that's been recycled tends to be considered cool – certainly much trendier and in-demand than it was beforehand. Just think: tedious old fart + recycling = next-gen retro fashion icon. Take, for example, these products …
In Finland they put their babies in cardboard boxes and leave them outdoors so their crying doesn't wake you.
I know this is going to prompt a flurry of, "We never had cardboard boxes when I were young" responses, but it's true. Apparently. Finns claim it is true but now I think back on it I never actually saw any babies in boxes in Helsinki.
I know this is going to prompt a flurry of, "We never had cardboard boxes when I were young" responses ...
Quite the contrary ... we had loads of cardboard boxes when we were young. Decent, strong, cardboard boxes held together with stout metal staples that were closed well enough that there were no sharp edges ... and these paragons of cardboard container engineering could be had at no cost from numerous grocers and supermarkets across the realm.
You try getting a cardboard box anywhere, these days! It'll cost a fortune from a specialist stationer or packaging company and be as flimsy as a flimsy thing with added flim.
"... these paragons of cardboard container engineering could be had at no cost from numerous grocers and supermarkets across the realm."
Yup, always annoys me when in the UK and they won't even give you an empty wine bottle box to put the wine in you just bought from them. Have been tempted to ask why but refrained from doing so as the answer would probably put me in supergrump mode. May have to do with recycling under VALPAK but then they forget that reuse is higher in the waste hierarchy than recycling.
Fortunately don't have that problem in NL where we're currently living - banana boxes are particularly sturdy and v handy for storing and transporting all manner of things.
If you want a cardboard box for your newborn baby, you could always move to Scotland (which copied the idea from Finland).
Only if you are desperately poor (which some in Finland were, when the scheme was first introduced) are you supposed to use the box as a baby cot; its main purpose is really to hold all the other baby paraphernalia that is helpful for new parents.
(I realise that the idea of the state actually trying to help its population is regrettably alien to some in England, sadly.)
I know the Scottish Government has introduced baby boxes full of goodies such as a soft toy, a onesie, and a wee bottle of Buckie,
My main point was Finnish parents are alleged to leave their babies in their boxes outdoors or on window sills.
"Babies clearly slept longer outdoors than indoors," says Marjo Tourula. While indoor naps lasted between one and two hours, outdoor naps lasted from 1.5 to three hours.
"Probably the restriction of movements by clothing could increase the length of sleep, and a cold environment makes swaddling possible without overheating," she says.
According to her research, -5C is the best temperature for an outdoor nap - though some parents she spoke to even put their children out at -30C.
WARNING! If a Scottish parent puts their baby outside in a box even in above zero temperatures then you will likely face arrest and lose your child.
You didn't have to get past the grille to get too hot. Once, I came home from school in the rain, knelt down in front of the bar heater and leaned in close to get dry. I only stopped when I realised that my shorts were no longer giving off steam, it was smoke.
Very educational. I learnt not to do that again.
My sister went one step further, she was getting changed in to her pyjamas on a cold winter night in front of one, got too close and has a grill shaped scar on her bottom as a momento of the occasion. Think she was about 8 or 9 at the time.
Cue a bit of Snow Patrol and Martha Wainwright, as my parents would NEVER have allowed the fire to be set to the third bar.
Even in 1960s people plugged mad stuff into the two pin bayonet lamp socket.
People wire plugs wrong, hence law now to have a pre-fitted plug
People add and wire sockets wrong
I've even seen supply at meter wrong polarity.
UK & Ireland earth of neutral historically was substation in UK (so neutral might not be 0V at home) and at meter + earth spike in Ireland.
Also while the 13A rectangular pin shuttered socket system cam in maybe 1947, plenty of older UK houses in 1970s still had 2A, 5A, 15A round pins and mix of 2 pin and 3 pin plugs and sockets.
asking the church to turn down the volume on their bells.
There's you mistake. You need to complain loudly, after you get your cap and blazer badge back from the league of Agnostics. If they don't respond, launch the No. 14 to St. John the somewhat divine on the hill ballistic missile.
Or just do this
Indeed, and for once not too sarcastic/sardonic (except perhaps the nice "Brexit/torched infants" touch in the bootnotes).
Don't get me wrong, I always read this column eagerly looking for the odd ferocious and hilarious jab at some poor administration or urban habit, and this time I sense a whiff of melancholy and nostalgia. Perhaps it's Autumn coming ? A little mellow are we ?
Thanks for mentioning VLB cards, reminds me of my Orchid Fahrenheit graphics card from a looong time ago. My first PC I believe (386DX ?)
That guy from ArtJL seems a decent bloke. A bio-geek, he left his company as it grew from 3 to 150 people ("the more the company grows, the less the scientific passion") and found his way putting the motto "to know what you want to do you must know what you don't want to do" into practice.
I wish I was that brave. Sigh.
Oops, is this "Autumn" striking again ?
I wish I had a good editor like that for my books, though gradually after over 25 years I'm learning. Still need other people to at least beta read.
Also while I have strong views, perhaps an adventure story is the wrong place to preach.
I know, for a fact, that there were "adapters" that you shoved a Beta into to run them in a full-size VHS player/recorder.
Not sure if it needed a special dual-format option on the VCR, or was machine specific, or if it just allowed recording using existing tapes.
Icon because it was either magic or advanced (as in age) alien tech.
Are you sure that was for Betamax? There were adapters for VHS-C (compact for camcorders) to VHS but I never remember a Betamax to VHS converter. It would seem a littl pointless as well as you wouldn't be able to play any Betamax tapes just (potentially) record poorly onto them. It would be cheaper to have just bought new VHS tapes instead.
I remember it too, quite small but not that much smaller than my Sony portable, but picture quality, it was shocking, even the camera was not great compared to mine, which was known to be a bit average.
Back in those days the portable VCR market had about 4 or 5 main entrants. 3 most well known were, Jvc did a VhsC portable, Panasonic the NV180 which was reckoned to be the second best domestic portable. Sony the SL-F1 portable, which was the best, by a long way.
Others were from Hitachi, a full size Jvc and Sanyo/NEC.
Cameras, the best early camera was a top end Jvc*, best late a CCD Panasonic. There was some not very good cameras. But the Sony I had was basic but good, colour rendition was good, low light usable but not good, however it kept colour unlike early CCD chip cameras.
Done some digging GX-N70E, and Panasonic F10 I think.
People often mixed and matched which meant that running a top end camera from company A with recorder from company B, most common mix was JVC camera with Sony recorder. There was never a market for Sony cameras away from their recorders.
Kit differences were surprising, a cheap Jvc camera I have seen in use always ended up green tinged. Beta third generation were similar to Vhs edit masters. So the final product was better.
Raw footage -> Edit master -> final copies. Each one has generational loss.
Just ended up with Beta being so much better for this than Vhs some many little differences ending up making it a much better format for the job.
special dual-format option on the VCR
Many years ago (and before NHK did the Sumo Basho highlights programme) we used to get tapes of the Sumo Basho sent to us from Japan (narrated in English by an Australian - the same guy is one of the presenters on the NHK highligths show).
The problem was that they were NTSC format tapes. So we had to hie ourselves off to Richer Sounds and find a VCR that would play NTSC as well as PAL.
After a while they stopped doing the tapes - which was understandable since they cost a pittance and I suspect that they were losing money on each one that they sent out. Good quality tapes though (except from the aforementioned NTSC)
Next tournament is November 10th. Will Tochinoshin regain his ozeki rank?
Only to record, never to to play an existing recording.
When VHS & Beta was new I had an EIAJ 1/2" VTR. Some versions had a colour under adaptor. The surplus 1/2" spools of computer tape sort of worked transferred to empty reels. The late 1970s and early 1980s saw a mad variety of video machines on sale and in our service dept. A 1/4" colour reel to reel Akai, 1/2" EIAJ Panasonic cartridges, stacked spools in N1500 (a chassis that looked like made of meccanno) and N1700. The 3/4" Umatic. VHS and Betamax. The security machines based on VHS with a stepper motor to advance the tape slowly on record. The oft promised but never available Video 2000. The V2000 was a good idea but too hard to mass produce. Arrived too late.
Then ever so much later the S-VHS with more horizontal resolution. The last attempt was Digital VHS, but unlike the two main digital tapes on camcorders it never took off.
There was digital archive based on Video tape, hence 44.1KHz sampling for CD. Then the later helical based made for audio and computer archive machines.
The Digital 8mm camcorder than can play analogue 8mm via firewire is handy, but the Philips audio equivalent, the DCC that could play regular cassette tapes, like the Analogue Elcasette (1/4" audio cassette), was too late and too expensive. RCA did actually have a 1/4" audio cassette before the 1962 compact cassette, which predated the Lear Jet 8 track cartridge, only really popular in USA because of inclusion as standard on some cars.
"I don't think I've ever seen anything like that in Britain."
Really? It's called up-cycling and all the rage. Stick a bulb-holder on any self-respecting by-gone and turn it into a lamp. IIRC The first place I saw doing that had what was claimed to be a circuit board from a Harrier as the donor. They moved on from chianti and Bulmer's bottles a long time ago. Give them half a chance and they'll turn lamps into lamps.
In much the same vein you cam make candelabra out of copper pipe and Imps fittings.
Unless that rental shop also offers a wide selection of household goods, computers and parts, car accessories, in short close to everything including a kitchen sink, and keeps shoving ads at you for items, ahem, related to your rental history, I see that as a very minor problem.
Inexplicably here in Ireland the local mall has recently acquired a DVD rental kiosk.
I do still have a S-VHS machine and recently found a VHS version of Metropolis for 30c. I doubt a DVD or download would be any better quality.
I do wish the 42" HDR 4K TV had a Shrink or inverse Zoom for poor content such as 640 x 480 video games, VHS and early badly encoded CDi video.
Yes, I remember draughty Shannon Centre before they discovered that malls have roofs. The ones in Limerick had roofs then. The architect claimed it was a feature rather than admit the budget was too small. The DVD rental kiosk I saw in Limerick was still there and working today. CEX though is often much cheaper and a bigger stock!
Icon, cos we know what Ireland is like this time of year.
end you blind if you tried to read by them
Your e-reader doesn't have a backlight?
(I switched to e-readers yonks ago. When you get though 20-30 books a week, buying/renting physical books will result in you quickly running out of room. We still have boxes and boxes of books (sci-fi and fantasy) from before e-readers were around.. I used to buy physical books on Amazon (US - Amazon UK wasn't around at this point) which would get shipped by surface mail and take about 6 weeks to arrive. So I'd do regular orders so that I had books arriving every week or so. Reading is probably my only real addiction - we didn't have a TV until I was about 16 so I learnt to read very. very early. And I speed-read..)
Pity the artist isn't aware of the latest way to save the environment
In a couple of years we'll be all going back, eh, forward to electrical heating to augment our heat pumps and geothermal, ditching oil and gas powered central heating systems and boilers.
And those vintage incandescents will make a glorious comeback.
We'll get issued with hair shirts to keep ourselves warm
Keeping warm was certainly not the USP of hair shirts.. (apparently, they caused suck itching and soreness that people would get inflamed and infected wounds - both from the constant scratching and the hairs getting embedded in your skin after long wear..).
We Brits just love recycling old houses.
My new house is a recycled industrial building, complete with weir in the river that provided power before there was electricity. And that was itself recycled from earlier use. And what's nice about this house is precisely the riverside location and the exposed features inside, including big thick stone walls, huge heavy beams, and cast iron supports. And a great heavy chain whose purpose eludes me.
it saddens me to see all these relics of our industrial history lost to ... houses
Warehouse = houses
textile Mills = houses
Barns = houses
Docks = houses
why do we need so many fking houses??
surely enough people die and leave one behind , that after a while there'd be a roughly sufficient amount?
also where are we going to work when all buldings are houses?
This one was disused for some time before being converted to houses.
Elsewhere nearby are others that were converted when an old business owner died and his son saw more gold in houses than in his late dad's business (a very much bigger site). One of them features as house 2 in this rant.
surely enough people die and leave one behind , that after a while there'd be a roughly sufficient amount?
also where are we going to work when all buldings are houses?
I always thought Britain was aiming to become Europes Cul-de-sac. But of course now, they've shifted to become a gated community, and probably at some point sold to Disney.
surely enough people die and leave one behind
They clearly don't do so in a timely enough manner. In addition to that, even if they had just two kids those will have gotten shacked up, had kids of their own and then divorced, which seems a most common scenario. That divorce means you now need one extra house.
"also where are we going to work when all buldings are houses?"
This is a big problem. I think planning policy for the entire post-war period has been to separate housing an work places and the use of so called brown-field sites has aided* this.
When I wor nobbut a lad there were about 3 mills to the mile in a typical Pennine valley. Anyone who chose to work int e nearest didn't have far to walk and there were enough buses to make commuting by bus feasible to a mill further up or down the valley. Note the inclusion of "up" because it made the bus service more efficient than having full buses in one direction and empty buses in t'other. For some, of course, their bus stop might be further away than their nearest mill.
Once the mills started to close instead of getting new businesses to take them over developers bought them up, knocked them down, built houses and then started kicking themselves when the next wave of developers discovered they could make bigger profits by leaving the buildings up and converting them to flats. The buses are also long gone; a straight run up and down the valley doesn't cut it when residents are going to jobs spread over umpteen towns and cities in four different counties.
Now we have the double whammy of more people and far less jobs. We also have planners ranting about traffic**, completely blind to the fact that it's the consequence of their own policies over the years. You also have teenagers like by granddaughter being terribly environmentally concious by joining this strike and being taken to a demo 25 miles away by electric car and ignoring the fact that their parents commute large distances each day because their homes are so far away from their jobs.
Here endeth my standard rant on the subject.
* If that's the right word, which it obviously is in the planners' minds.
** My eyes were really opened to this years ago by someone from Sheffield City Council appearing on the news one night bragging about getting some project to locate in the city and all the jobs it would bring followed a couple of weeks later by a colleague bemoaning the city's traffic problems.
Anyone who chose to work int e nearest didn't have far to walk
Large parts of central Swindon are rows of terraced houses for the people who used to work at the old Railway Works. I think the main factor for how far away the houses could be was whether they were close enough so that people could hear the factory steam whistle that sounded a coule of times before shift-change.
A lot of those houses are still there. The Railway works is now a shopping centre plus museum.
surely enough people die and leave one behind , that after a while there'd be a roughly sufficient amount?
If your average family has 2.2 children then, while the parents are alive, that's 2.2 more houses needed for the spawn. And, unless said spawn want to carry on living with the parents or SO, they'll need somewhere to live.
If your average family has 2.2 children
This may surprise you, but the average fertility of women in the UK is now just 1.70 children.
The overall population is growing however, so more housing in general is required and yes, with divorce rates rising, there will be more 'families' who live in two houses rather than one.
I think there is also a rise in the number of people who have a 'family home' in the suburbs or country but also maintain a flat in the city to avoid a difficult commute.
It must also have some bearing on the matter that people are living healthy lives for longer and therefore staying in their homes well beyond the age when generations past would have moved to a retirement / nursing home. These houses - often large family houses - are therefore being kept off the market for longer.
Just some thoughts.
"why do we need so many fking houses??"
Residential land is worth massively more than any other. A lot of what was a walking distance industrial site on the outskirts of town a century or two ago is now part of the town itself.
New industrial sites are built on farmland (lowest value land), and the workers commute there.
Even running an office, it's probably not going to be allowed in certain residential areas.
The cost of rent or mortgage drives the demand for housing.
Chain is high up (stairs to attic), and on the far side of the house from the river.
I expect it used to support something heavy (it looks like it would hold a few tonnes), and was kept as decorative in the conversion to houses.
I can't see myself or neighbours getting planning permission to generate from the river, but I've tried to get anyone to quote me for installing a heat pump using the water. Could put a great big hot tank in the underground area notionally designated for parking.
I’d be more surprised if you couldn’t get permission for a community hydro project.
Obviously depends on who owns the rights etc
*Probably* the rights belong to whoever owns where the mill wheel or they might be demised to the whole parcel of land.
You could then use the electricity to power the heat pump and store the hot water for heating or DHW.
Anyway it is exactly the sort of project that should be encouraged.
We Brits just love recycling old houses
We (mostly) only have two choices - give up green land to build brick boxes on or repurpose old building or land into housing.
Doing the latter is often more expensive but avoids tearing up even more of the countryside.
big thick stone walls, huge heavy beams, and cast iron supports
Good thermal mass..
And a great heavy chain whose purpose eludes me
For hoisting big lumps of machinery probably. Or keeping the workers chained up at their benches..
Parents still have one of those that works (caveat worked when last tested - its stashed away in loft for emergency use with a few other (newer & safer) electric heaters in case their central heating fails)
They did the job of heating very well - but admittedly not great on safety.
We have one that's not actually a bar heater; rather a casing of chamotte stones with a bunch of heater elements inside. Dimensions are roughly those of a tower case, a bit lower and wider. It heats really nicely, much more convection and less radiation than bar heaters. It's a holdover from when we lived in a building that had a broken central heating system and no other option to keep us from freezing than electrical. Other holdovers are two 1950's/1960's Magicoal heaters and an UFO-like ventilator heater.
.. a friend of mine still uses them, he's gone for quite a retro vibe in his house, and scours the country for tat, I mean, retro furniture and antiques to adorn it with. Some of the stuff (Old B&O music centre) are quite nice, ... the 'Avocado Green' microwave and matching kettle etc, I'm not so sure.
There's a (clearly abandoned) one outside my local Carrefour Contact. They were common in France because automation was cheaper than renting a shop and hiring someone to run it, even 25 years ago. I suspect there is one keypad for your bank card (carte bleue) PIN and the other is for selecting your videotape.
Yes. I've never used them myself, but they seem to be very common - I know of some in both of the places where I have homes (Michigan and New Mexico), and I've seen them elsewhere on my travels.
The history is a bit curious. Redbox was originally funded by McDonalds to sell a variety of products, but when McDonalds discontinued that business the company switched to DVD and video-game rental. Redbox tried to interest Blockbuster and Netflix in their business, but ended up being acquired by Coinstar, which runs change-collecting kiosks in grocery stores. Redbox eventually picked up Blockbuster's kiosk business.
Apparently they tried to expand into Canada, but demand was too low. It seems the US market is unusually strong for physical movie / game rental. According to Wikipedia, rental sales did drop significantly over the past few years due to streaming, but are still reasonably robust.
It seems the US market is unusually strong for physical movie / game rental.
Maybe that's what happens when you have media cartels running your country? And they'd love to do the same to the EU, but at least there are some basic rights in the way there (GDPR for anti-spying, right to decrypt owned media, a basic willingness to read a book, play a game, or do something other than watch a film, etc.).
Of course in Blighty, it'll probably end up more like the USA. Except that you won't be able to rent the media either, you'll only be able to stream select channels to select devices and thank the company for selling your data while you pay to both view the stream and "own" the cheaply made, guaranteed to break and become obsolete spying player.
I used to back in the 80s, then suddenly they stopped. Arguments with the tossers which ran the places.
Didn't help that I moved from a place with good rental to one with crap rental.
Then on next visit home found my favourite place shut.
Started renting again I think in 1999 or 2000 after bullying some rental places to get with the times.
I think it was 8 years with no rental options. Just waited for TV to show them.
And yes I did blow £800 on a VCR and £500 a few years later on a DVD player.
I remember the Video Rental Shop Experience. You sign up, and spend a few weeks in movie heaven, watching all the great films you missed at the cinema. Then you spend a few weeks watching some quite good films you've never heard of followed by a few more weeks watching increasingly crappy films you've never heard of. Sadly, this experience seems to be replicated over a slightly longer timescale by Netflix and Amazon.
And why do both these services fill the screen with suggestions for films I have no desire to see? I suspect that their recommendations system takes no account of the many films I switch off after the first 10 minutes.
I remember renting some great films.
Did cause an upset at a film night once, I supplied the hardware and the film.
I arrived with my TV strapped onto the pillion seat, my video recorder in the tank bag, and a copy of Robo Cop.
Well I liked it!
Was surprising in late 80s how many people did not have a video or TV then.
I'd always assumed the demise of video rental shops was down to postal services like Love Film. That one was killed off by Amazon a few years back, presumably because it was far superior to their streaming service.
Luckily www.cinemaparadiso.co.uk is still on the go, and has a way better selection of films than any of the streaming services I've seen.
The other thing that didn't help them was the advent of the £5 DVD. OK when something was just released you were probably looking at more like £8-£10 - but within the year most had dropped to the magic number, and I bought plenty of DVDs for £3 on Amazon sales or supermarket bargain bins.
At which point it rental had to be very cheap, or it just wasn't financially worth it.
I noticed the local Sainsbury's had a display "DVDs from £2" the other day.. Those will be new, too. Poundland has refurbs at £1. And the local charity mega-store sells all media at 2-for-£1. (even video games.. They have a massive direction of Fifa games..)
Paying to rent now just seems too expensive at any price!
(I'd love one of those old kiosks to play with, though, but my wife would kill me!)
I was happy to see the rental shops here go under, if they stop the product they can lose my custom. Also slow to take on DVD, just go bust you pricks!
Was better at my parents area.
Oh and I have NEVER used a Blockbusters, they never met my requirements.
Now renting a film is as easy as selecting a film on a programming running on a games console made by the same company as my old Video Recorders, watched on a TV of the same brand.
> I'd always assumed the demise of video rental shops was down to postal services like Love Film.
I always thought it was due to rampent piracy. When CSS was cracked DVDs could be ripped easily. So people could "rent, rip and return". This resulted in a short term boost for the rental companies.
Thing is, while the internet was (relatively) slow back then, CD-burners were pretty common, and DivX came out, allowing you to recompress a DVD so that it fits on a CD. "DivX CDs" became a thing, which you could get cheaply (if you didn't have the ability to do it yourself).
I remember some DVD players (usually Chinese) who could play DivX CDs (and would advertise as such). So once the initial DVD was rented and ripped, it would then be copied from CD to CD without quality loss, reducing demand for the original.
For many people, the choice between renting a DVD for £4 a night vs buying the DivX CD for 50p to £1 was a no brainer (assuming they paid at all). Those with money and who wanted the full quality (or didn't want to wait for it to first hit the video rental store) would just buy the original DVD.
As a result the rental modal stopped being profitable, and things only got worse as internet speeds picked up (along with P2P traffic).
Also forgot to mention the headache of getting a scratched DVD, polishing it, hoping it won't skip, then giving up, accepting the "movie night" you were looking forward to won't happen, then returning it to try to get a refund, or another DVD instead.
Even worse if, once you bring it to them and complain its scratched, they claim you were the one who scratched it, and refuse the refund.
Tapes, by virtue of being enclosed in a case, were far better for the video rental model. Their downside was the wear due to repeat plays. DVDs didn't have that problem, but being without a case were far more fragile when being handled.
I don't miss video rental, even though I still remember my old video rental store customer ID number (despite it being about 20 years since they went out of business, primarily due to a blockbusters chain opening nearby). Having to wait for someone to return a new/popular film because they only had 2 copies, to the aforementioned damage on DVDs, to forgetting to return it on the day and getting fined, etc... Things are better now.
"I'd always assumed the demise of video rental shops was down to postal services like Love Film"
Ill never forget the look on my colleagues face when he realised that He'd accidentally unthinkingly posted back *copies* of several movies instead of the originals after he had *cough* watched them.
I volunteer in a charity shop and when sorting donated DVD's we have to open the cases and check them as not infrequently the cases are either empty or contain a DVR which we cannot of course sell. They must be binned. So your tale is not at all surprising to me.
Some time ago after the spawn finally flew the coop (each one boomeranged back before) I was looking through boxes in the attic and came across one filled with DVDs, just the cases, every one empty. I recycled them.
"It's not enough to blame the internet, given that Blockbuster started on its tits-up death spiral in the mid-2000s – when most people's connection was [slow]"
Yes... and no. I've made much the same complaint myself about the lazy assumption that Blockbuster was killed by streaming, because it isn't borne out by the facts. Streaming had been around a while, but didn't start becoming a serious player in the mass market until circa the early part of this decade.
By that point Blockbuster was already in the final stages of its death spiral in the US (and the by-then spun-off UK operation too).
OTOH, you *can* probably blame "the Internet" if you count online DVD-by-mail services like Netflix's earlier incarnation, LoveFilm, and so on- which were big in the mid-2000s and apparently peaked as late as 2009-10- for eating into Blockbuster's service.
Other factors cited for the decline of rental include the availability of cheap DVDs that made it almost as cheap just to buy as to rent.
Not to mention the shrinking or complete killing off of the "rental-only" window. This had previously ensured a delay between rental copies on videotape and priced-for-home-use versions becoming available in the shops. During the DVD era, it became possible to buy a home copy at much the same time as it came out on rental, and nowadays this tends to happen surprisingly quickly after the cinema release.
There are other factors as well, but these are likely what killed Blockbuster, not streaming.
Blockbuster were killed off by being rubbish.
I used to use a small shop a couple of miles from home (parents) then a big one in the local city who was a specialist in Beta rental, used them until I moved, had quite a few HiFi sound rentals as well.
Early 90s, moved quite a few miles for work, managed ONE rental at new place before the big argument and card destruction in store.
Was VERY early DVD adopter had to buy them, couple of small rental places, then a chap started up doing door to door, used them for a few years, was also part of LoveFilm DVD trial.
All this time Blockbusters were open, but never took on DVD, and never rented any of the decent cassette formats.
The gap between end of Beta rental and the release of DVD was not that big!
"until circa the early part of this decade"
Referee! Is he allowed to use 'circa' that way?
I mean, he is maybe not technically wrong but surely it's puffery.
"until ABOUT the early part of this decade"
I had a pretentious acquaintance who was an OCD film buff but hated foreign languages who learned the word 'denouement' from Empire Magazine. After that, every conversation included him using the word. Circa 1990.
I didn't know the French used infra red to cook smurfs, I would have thought they would lightly fry them with garlic and a sprinkling of herbes Provencal.
I live in a rural part of Spain and my nearest village has a DVD machine that might work, I have driven past it at night and seen lights on in the machine but that means very little here.
Of Alistair discovering this artefact next to a Super-U on the outskirts of Montpellier? Or at least it looks exactly like the one which I once misinterpreted to be a car wash token dispenser. Need to pay it a visit today, now with my eyes open.
* the icon because it can't be a coincidence
My mum and I had planned to go see 'Official Secrets' at the cinema today but it's not on anywhere near her. Instead I suggested buying 'Chernobyl' on Amazon Prime since she doesn't have Sky Atlantic, and it's meant to be good. She instead bought it on DVD so her sister could borrow it. I had to point out we no longer have a DVD player, we are going to have to watch it at my aunties flat. We still have a VHS player, my dad bought one we've never used 'just in case', but we forgot to keep an emergency DVD player.
My dad was never overly fond of his in-laws, and he warned me once that I was being talked about in the same breathe as bad Uncle Davie and mad Aunty Iris. He meant it as a rebuke for being too weird. "Cool, they are my two favourite relatives."
People who read books are regarded with suspicion in my family. Some sort of witchcraft going on.
You see video rental kiosks in stores in our area, they rent DVDs. I've even seen early models that rented VHS tapes but they were huge because the tapes were so bulky.
What killed Blockbuster wasn't the rise of streaming, it was the late fees. The typical consumer business model in the US is built around bait and switch (I think its the same in the UK). You reel the punter in using a decent value for money proposition and once you've got 'em hooked you squeeze them. Blockbuster used to rent a video for a reasonable sum but if you didn't return it by some arbitrary time -- or even if you did since they were the arbiters of when videos were returned -- they reamed you for late fees. This pretty much turned off the customer base so that when alternatives presented themselves they lost their customer base practically overnight.
Have heard of folks using old valves for this, seems "Faux Valve" DAB radios are the latest thing with a few carefully installed orange LEDs where the heater used to go. Also a modification I came up with is to 3D print the valve base as real ones are harder to get hold of than the tubes.
Often wonder why old CRTs aren't similarly modified, bit of glass repair and adding a suitably ornate cap on the old heater/cathode assembly and you have something that at least resembles a valve though is non functional: colour tubes are best for this as there is more to be seen.
" ... seems "Faux Valve" DAB radios are the latest thing with a few carefully installed orange LEDs where the heater used to go"
Hmm, may have to resort to this - just sorting through my late father in law's stuff (radio ham and boffin) and need to find a good home for some vintage electronics (1940s-50s radios, scope and loads of components such as valves and TTL ICs).
Any suggestions for a place in the South of England which might be interested in that sort of kit? (Just found a dealer in Selsey but would like to have more options.)
Because, I suppose "true valve" DAB radio is too expensive?
The latter costs over 360 euros. I have listened to it and sounds exacly like a 1960s bakelite tube radio.
...why and how the video rental business went out of business so rapidly.
In their heyday, a recent release film on VHS cost about 70 quid to buy outright. A tenner to rent made sense to everyone. Once DVD prices dropped to 30 quid (which is about said tenner in eighties money), renting moved all the way downmarket to become the exclusive province of those rather less likely to take care of what they'd rented. Costs spiralled and income dropped like a stone.
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