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.