Life Without Disks

Well, I had the interesting experience of not having a working DVD player for about a week. Actually, I have a working miniplayer but the screen is too small for both Margo and I to watch it comfortably and the video jacks from the regular player don't fit the portable quite right, so that turned out not to be a viable option. Eventually, I did what I should have done in the first place, which was to unhook our Coby all-region and clean it internally -- just a blast or two of air -- then smack it sharply on its little head when it told me there wasn't a disk inside. Tonight, things were back to normal. Mind you, the entire thing costs $25 so if it died after a year, which is about how long we've had it, I would have shed no tears. It's just that this week is so fraught with deadlines and other time constraints that I knew I probably wouldn't have time to go downtown to the bargain store where I bought this one until after Rosh Hashanah.

But it was an interesting experience, as a I said, if only because I was reminded of how small the actual difference is between disk and tape -- until you start thinking about things like extras, a good, workable freeze-frame, slo-mo, zoom and, oh yes, there is the little matter of visual quality. Still, with a really good print -- like the Westerns channel's print of 3:10 to Yuma -- you get a pretty acceptable image. I know that this statement will alarm and annoy the purists, and they aren't wrong, of course. But at least I now know that if I have to survive without a working DVD player for a week, I can do it.

As long as I'm not working on anything, because all the screeners sitting on my TV right now are disks, not a single tape. That's just fine, too.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about a film that I saw on the big screen and a damned good thing too. In the Shadow of the Moon, which opens Friday, is a film whose entire raison d'etre, whose total impact, will be rendered meaningless on your TV, no matter how goddam big it is. And it is a film that should be seen, if only for pure sensory pleasure.

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