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Mid-Week Poll: Which (Other) Video Formats Do You Have in Your Home Theater?

I think it goes without saying that most everyone reading this blog probably has a Blu-ray player. With that comes DVD, naturally. (All Blu-ray players are backwards compatible with DVD, after all.) But what other formats do you keep around in your home theater? Do you watch streaming media? Do you still have a VCR, or did you ditch it? A Laserdisc player? How about something even more obscure?

Let’s see, looking over at my gear rack, I see Blu-ray, DVD, HD DVD, VUDU, Laserdisc, cable TV, and VHS all accounted for. That beast you see in the banner photo is a Pioneer HLD-X9, a near-legendary Japanese exclusive Laserdisc player known to be one of the best ever made. With the addition of an outboard decoder box, the X9 could also play MUSE/Hi-Vision Laserdiscs, an analog high-definition format available only in Japan. I have an X9 in my home theater (but no MUSE decoder), and probably haven’t watched a movie in full on it in over three years. The VCR has gone unused even longer still. Yet I keep them around, just in case.

In my expansive collection of ‘Dune’ movie merchandise, I have copies of that movie on pretty much every video format ever made, including an incredibly obscure Japanese disc format called VHD that was never released in the U.S. For most of these, I have no hardware to play them on.

Once upon a time, I made the foolish decision to buy a thing called a Laserfilm player, because someone was selling them on eBay for $10 a pop and I was curious. It cost me about three times that much to have the early-’80s monstrosity shipped to me. Laserfilm was a rare format created by McDonnell-Douglas for use in flight simulators. The format was never issued outside the company, and I had no way of obtaining software for it. When I got it home, I successfully connected it (by a crummy RF coax cable, which was its only output option) through my VCR and managed to get a blue screen on my TV. I could also eject the tray. That was about all it was good for. Other than that, it was a boat anchor. I did not keep it around very long.

I’ve tried to account for a lot of different formats in the below poll. You can select as many of them as are appropriate. If I missed anything, be sure to tell us in the comments.

Which Video Formats Do You Have in Your Home Theater?

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24 comments

  1. HuskerGuy

    Says maximum number of choices allowed is 1, I’m assuming we should be able to select multiple, no?

  2. hurin

    I have a collection of animes that have not been licenced outside Japan stored as MKV files.

    I can play them on my Oppo.

  3. lordbowler

    I still have a Dual-Deck VCR, a DVD-Recorder, my PS3 which I use to stream video and music from my computer, and my new LCD TV which streams Netflix, VUDU, etc. My PS3 also streams Netflix.

    I recently installed DirecTV.

    I did stream Amazon Streaming via my laptop on my LG LED-LCD TV. Unfortunately that and HULU are not installed apps.

  4. I’ve finally got an HTPC set up – it’s just my old PC but it’s still dedicated to my TV – so I can happily stream from wherever I like and watch my digital media collection regardless of codec. No worrying about compatibility or ridiculous content blocking. It’s been nice :)

  5. i still have my laserdisc player from 19 years ago. it’s laying next to my bed. i dont want to get rid of it nor the discs for the artwork on the jackets. i hooked it up to my hd system a couple months ago and wow the picture was bad.lol

    • Hook it up through the Composte Cables, not the SVideo. If the TV has a halfway decent comb filter, it should look better than it did otherwise. Granted, my Laserdisc player doesn’t look GREAT on the HDTV, but it looks better than those SD stations on Dish Network.

  6. Jane Morgan

    I was born the year that VHS was first revealed at CES. Today my children are still quite young. By the time they become adults and collectors of fancy entertainments, blu-ray will be an antique.

    I wonder if the next generation will form attachments to bitrates the way we have formed attachments to boxes. The decade of 40 Mbits. The decade of 200 Mbits. The decade of 1 Gbits.

    I have a room with nineteen video game systems, the history of the medium, all of them ready to play. I’m ready to add the next five systems. Games in boxes with art on shelves. The future is looking hollow. A screen on the wall. An intelligent soundbar. An advancement in couch technology.

    My future grandchildren will live like aliens.

  7. Missing from this list is my Denon 2900 that I use solely for SACD and DVD-Audio playback :)

    Also, don’t forget game systems. PS3 is another part of my rack.

  8. I think this pole describes the demographics of the reader-base here. Its obviously a Under-40 crowd. Otherwise, there would be more Betamax and SVHS owners. I am actually quite surprised that there are more Laserdisc owners than SVHS and Betamax put together.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Not necessarily. The poll is asking what equipment a person currently has in the home theater. I’m sure that a lot of people who used to own Betamax or S-VHS have since gotten rid of them.

      What surprises me is how many people selected DVD (no Blu-ray).

      • I do too – I have four regular DVD players in the house, Three of which are currently hooked up. I use them to play my imported DVDs as the PS3 absolutely refuses to play Region 2 or PAL discs.

  9. Keith

    I have an HTPC that does everything. DVD, Blu-ray, HD DVD, OTA TV (I’ve been cable free for 2 years now), Hulu, Netflix the whole nine. The only standalone device in my entertainment center is my trusty HD-A2.

    I really wish LG still made their Blu-ray/HD DVD combo drives so I could buy one to keep as a spare.

  10. “What surprises me is how many people selected DVD (no Blu-ray).” I don’t know about others, but I still selected that as well as the ‘Blu-ray (with DVD)’ option, because not only do I have a blu ray player, but I have a separate Hard Drive/DVD recorder, so it’s still a ‘DVD (no Blu-ray)’ device. It comes in specially handy when I find a few old films and such on VHS(That don’t even have DVD releases, let alone BD) that I can record onto the Hard Drive and transfer to DVD. ;-)

  11. EM

    My home theater includes both a Blu-ray player and a “plain old” DVD player. When I watch DVDs, usually I play them on the Blu-ray player; about the only time DVDs are played on the DVD player is for A/B comparisons (e.g., switching between synchronized “Psycho” on Blu-ray and “Psycho” on DVD). That’s pretty rare. However, the DVD player does get a lot of use as a CD player, sometimes with video simultaneously coming from a DVD or Blu-ray on the Blu-ray player.

    Don’t underestimate the power of error in poll responses; for example, I forgot to tick the “cable/satellite” option. :O

    I went ahead and ticked “VCD”, but only because my DVD player’s manual assures me that it’s a compatible format. I doubt I’ve ever laid eyes on an actual VCD in my life.

    My PlayStation Portable can play UMDs, but it’s not a regular part of my home theater (I’ve hooked it up to my home theater temporarily only to verify it is possible), and so I did not choose the “UMD” option in the poll. I’ve never watched a movie UMD anyway.

  12. Lone_gunmen

    The formats I support in my HT are:
    -HD-DVD (I was a late adopter but got in for cheap movies in HD)
    -MKV/AVI/etc video files on my home theatre PC
    -Blu-ray discs
    -DVD

    I also stream/rent films from the Xbox Live Zune Marketplace and Mubi.com.

    As for gaming platforms……I’d be here forever if I listed them!!!!!!