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While a far cry from the old 8mm reel-to-reel setups of decades past, the beloved black hunk of plastic we call the VHS tape was still a sort of primitive technology. In fact, it used a kind of film as well in a similar reel-to-reel fashion; this meant that the tape had to be rewound following each viewing of whatever recording it housed, a frustrating source of fees for movie renters 'round the world. While DVDs are certainly a cut above the other video delivery mediums, they are not without fault. They are somewhat fragile, though probably no more so than tapes, whose thin magnetic film is prone to breaking under even modest stress. So long as DVDs are well protected they will last much longer than VHS tapes, as the latter format's quality continually degrades even in near optimal storage conditions. The average movie watcher certainly benefits from the way DVDs are read; the laser that decodes the data can skip to different points within it, making features like immediate scene selection possible for the first time.
Like older movie storage mediums, blank DVDs can be purchased by anyone with a little money to spare. This opens up all kinds of possibilities, such as units that can record from a television or any other input source. The consumer is afforded the chance, if they so choose, to make archival or back-up copies of whatever DVDs they may already have purchased. It can be quite nice to have a spare because as mentioned before, DVDs are in fact fairly fragile; what might seem like an insignificant scratch is capable of interrupting a movie during playback.
There are many more DVD-specific features that are simply not possible using the previous movie distribution formats. Audio channels can be switched on the fly while watching a movie, allowing the viewer to change from the normal movie audio to something like "director's commentary" or even overdubbed languages! Due to the increased storage capacity of the DVD, additional content referred to as "extras" are commonly included in movie releases. This might include outtakes, "behind the scenes" or other featurettes.
When a home computer is used to write a blank DVD it becomes possible to add one's home videos, pictures, or other personal media to it. Using the right software, almost anyone can create a media presentation. Companies and individuals might use this technology to create gifts, informational videos, or even marketing messages. The possibilities are nearly limitless.