DVD collecting is an expensive hobby, but any true movie aficionado will tell you that for the best sound and a quality picture presented in a widescreen format, movies must be viewed in DVD format. For the skeptics who are still clinging to their antique VHS players, I have a few words of advice. When the DVD craze first began to sweep the nation, I too was a skeptic. Why should I abandon the faithful video player that I have grown accustomed to and all of my video cassettes for some new fad?
Then for Christmas one year I got a DVD player for my computer. I bought my first DVD for $8, and ever since then I have been sold. First, DVD provides amazing picture and sound quality that is far superior to VHS. Try watching a DVD sometime and notice the difference if you haven’t already. Most DVDs are also presented in widescreen format, which allows you to see the film as it was intended to be seen instead of having the sides annoyingly chopped off. Some people complain about the “black bars” at the top and bottom of the screen, but those shortly blend in with the TV and will not be noticed. Lastly, DVDs are not a fad like Laserdiscs if you even remember those. DVDs have replaced VHS cassettes and are now the standard video format. In a matter of a few years, VHS tapes will no longer be sold. Not to worry. Building a DVD collection is an enjoyable hobby, and whether you’ve just decided to abandon your wicked VHS ways, or if you’ve appreciated the greatness of DVDs for a while, you’ll find these tips on purchasing DVDs without going completely broke quite helpful.
[BUY THEM EARLY]
It’s Friday night, and you and your friends just got out of a movie you can’t stop talking about. It was great! After seeing it another nine times, it unfortunately leaves the theater, and you’ve decided that when it comes out on DVD you want to add it to your collection. For any movie that you have seen in theater and wish to purchase on DVD, it is important to follow these instructions. Buy the DVD the first week it is released! Wal-Mart, Target, and sometimes Best Buy will substantially reduce the price of a DVD the first week it is released. I have no idea why stores do this, but I highly recommend you take advantage of it. For some DVDs, this will be the lowest price you can purchase it for months or even years. Take the special extended versions of The Lord of the Rings for example. I purchased The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at Wal-Mart for $22 the day it was released (then I skipped class and watched it). It is now about $30 and probably will be for quite some time. Most DVDs are released on Tuesdays and will hold their discounted price until Monday. Wal-Mart will often post DVD release dates on a banner in the DVD section. Amazon.com is a great resource to find out DVD release dates. If Amazon does not have a date for when a DVD will be released, they will send you an email when they do have a release date. The first-week discount only holds for new releases, so if by chance there is a movie that has previously been released on VHS and is being released on DVD for the first time, the discount will not usually be held.
One of the greatest lessons I learned early in my DVD collecting days was to be patient and shop around. Usually Wal-Mart will have the best prices and their selection is decent. Target has recently lowered their DVD prices to nearly match Wal-Mart’s. Both Wal-Mart and Target carry DVDs that the other store does not, and they rotate what DVDs they carry every few months. So, if time allows it, frequently check out both locations. Best Buy, hands down, has the best DVD selection of any store, and their prices are fairly reasonable. For DVDs that cannot be found at Wal-Mart or Target, Best Buy is the place to go. Some DVDs are particularly hard to find and my advice on finding hard DVDs is to keep shopping, because sometimes these DVDs will pop up in the most random places. One night while browsing around in a Border’s Bookstore, I found Disney’s The Rocketeer on DVD. Regrettably, I didn’t have any money at the time, so I didn’t buy, and I have not seen it since. In these cases, I would still recommend having patience. It seems as if almost every DVD comes to either Wal-Mart or Target at some point, and I’m sure sometime in the near future, even The Rocketeer will once again be available for purchase. Disney, similar to their VHS cassettes, releases their timeless animated movies for a limited time. Keep your eyes open for your favorite Disney movies because they will not be sold for long. In extreme cases, where you must have a certain DVD and cannot find it anywhere, you may have to resort to online shopping. In cases where you may have missed purchasing a movie the week it came out, eventually stores will lower its price, so wait it out.
Let me begin by saying that despite that fact that it is a cultural phenomenon, I am not a fan of online shopping, and would not highly recommend it. Although online shopping can often offer great prices on DVDs you must have, you will not be able to see your product until it arrives. Unfortunately, I have all too often purchased a DVD that is “new” only to have it arrive obviously not in its original packaging with big, pink, generic video store sticker on it. Then after it stops working after a few months because it’s so scratched up, I end up buying it at Wal-Mart, which released it for cheaper. However, I do understand that it is difficult to wait forever for a DVD that you really want, and some DVDs are nearly impossible to come by. I recommend amazon.com for the best prices, although sometimes even the vendors on Amazon sell their DVDs for a lot more than they should. The patience rule can even be applied to online purchasing. If the DVD prices sound expensive, wait until a vendor offers what you want for cheaper.
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