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Why weren’t there DVD releases in 2000?

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There were VHS releases of TPM and the OT in 2000, so why no DVD releases at the time?

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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Most likely George’s revisionism. The cut of TPM on DVD differed from the version on VHS plus some of the DVD features were created for the DVD. Lucas likely wanted to make some last minute adjustments before oking the DVD. As for the OT Lucas wanted to wait til the PT was complete before releasing them on DVD. The only reason he caved in 2004 was studio pressure.

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Was the HD format war still a thing maybe? Just guessing they didn’t to create multiple releases.

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crissrudd4554 said:

As for the OT Lucas wanted to wait til the PT was complete before releasing them on DVD. The only reason he caved in 2004 was studio pressure.

  • I wonder when the OT would have been released on DVD without studio pressure.

  • I wonder if, before the sale to Disney, Lucas preferred that the Star Wars movies be released to theaters every seven years and never be released on VHS/DVD, but studio pressure got in the way with both formats.

Mocata said:

Was the HD format war still a thing maybe? Just guessing they didn’t to create multiple releases.

No HD formats existed until 2006, and HD TVs were rare in 2000.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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In 2000 DVDs were still pretty niche and very expensive, that was like the golden age of VHS. In 2001-2002 the market began to change quickly and the releases of PS2 and Xbox as DVD players helped a lot.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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It was a confusing time, with no domestic Laserdisc release of TPM either, yet one could buy the Japanese pressing or Video CD online.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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SilverWook said:

It was a confusing time, with no domestic Laserdisc release of TPM either, yet one could buy the Japanese pressing or Video CD online.

That’s interesting.

I wonder what 2001 OT DVD releases would have been like.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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darklordoftech said:

SilverWook said:

It was a confusing time, with no domestic Laserdisc release of TPM either, yet one could buy the Japanese pressing or Video CD online.

That’s interesting.

I wonder what 2001 OT DVD releases would have been like.

From my oft-wrong memory… it also took some persuading from those around Lucas to even get an OT DVD set in 2004 released - it seemed it was a response to the many DVD bootlegs of the Trilogy on DVD being easily available in the Far East - and also available to import quite cheaply on many independent online shops back then… for a good price. In the early 2000’s the ‘Look’ and ‘Five Star’ bootleg versions, amongst others, were not too difficult to find and acquire around the rest of the world.
 

Edit: An old website, by an old friend of this one, from around that time-frame, may shine some more light on the subject…

Prillaman’s Star Wars DVD Reviews site - http://www.prillaman.net/starwarsdvdreviews.html
 

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DVD’s were still new during that time period. Now if I remember correctly, the DVD was technically invented in 1995. But most countries didn’t have them. Mainly because, the cost of DVD’s were expensive and other platforms like VHS or LaserDisc were also still available and people had already adjusted to them. Plus they were still making improvements to make them more versatile. Anyway, the worldwide release for the DVD in 2000 was the right move considering the year 2000 was a new millennium. The new era of technology.

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LFL wanted to test the waters of DVD just like Disney did at first. Many labels weren’t as willing to just jump in at the forefront and release a number of crappy early discs that were little more than LD ports. They also wanted to maximize profits and figure out the DVD market. Thus you had to wait until 2001 to get the DVD SE of TPM and could only get a VHS copy in the US for almost three years. I’m surprised they didn’t let it come out on LD but the format was pretty much cut off here before TPM would have debuted. Looking at lddb specs the last US Fox LD was Entrapment in late November 1999. The Japanese TPM from Fox came out in January 2000 so it just barely missed a USA LD release.
The first major DVDs readily available to consumers from studios at entry price points weren’t really hitting until 1997 particularly the first waves of Warner snapper case titles.

They were wanting to do more work on the OT and that eventually became making the new masters, handing them to Lowry crap digital and then over-processing the life out of them and making the new changes in mixes. This likely took some time after beating around the bush for so long and is why they finally came out in Sept. 2004. The peak of the DVD booms was really around 2005 so they timed it perfectly. And of course not telling anyone it was another version suckered us all into buying it and getting home to start the hours of horror…

I’m sure Fox would have been more than happy to have gotten the 97 SE out on DVD perhaps with a slightly spiffed up master of the LD versions from the later Japanese releases say around 2002. That would have given us a much better source to work from and a higher quality official 97SE release but nooooooo…it can’t ever be easy.

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To add to Captain Solo’s thorough post: My personal memory of the time was that DVD had been around for awhile, but was considered a weird niche that had it’s own problems compared to Laserdisc, and the price of DVD players/discs, combined with those a/v problems made people wary of pushing all in on it. I distinctly remember, at the time, the DVD of Blade Runner: Director’s Cut, failing out in a head-to-head comparison with the Laserdisc version, so people early in the format’s life figured it was maybe a way to get people to pay more for lesser-quality home video product.

IIRC, it was basically The Matrix that unlocked DVD’s potential. That disc sold a LOT of players at the time, and it was only around 2000-2002 where DVD producers started really applying everything they learned from Criterion and other studio Special Edition sets. Stuff like the “Five Star” series from Fox and anamorphic encoding to make full use of the resolution available (plus gimmicks like animated menus and super-fluff “bonus features”) is what finally pushed DVD into the mainstream. That and the very low sell-through price for the tech - I remember DVD prices basically being at, or in many cases LESSER than VHS.

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Yeah I remember The Matrix being the thing that showed people what advantages the format had. But I also remember it being a super new thing only bought by the people who also had rushed out and bought LD players. In 2001 I can clearly remember the only way to watch DVDs at our place was sat crowded around the new computer we just got! It wasn’t until 2003 when I heard people saying that VHS was well and truly dead.

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A lot of LD fans spat on DVD early on, at least that’s how I recall it. There were fears it would be just VHS on a shiny disc, no widescreen options or extras. And since the powers that be seemed to be doing everything to nudge LD off a cliff rather than let it quietly fade away, that made some die hard fans even more pissed off.
Pioneer did make a few combo players that could handle both formats.

It’s interesting there never was a full frame version of The Matrix on DVD that I know of, yet the sequels got separate fullscreen editions.

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It is pretty much a VHS on a disc. The only the that differentiates them is the audio. VHS had a ‘warmer’ sound. The power of Hi-Fi.

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One of the main reasons DVD took off had a lot to do with the easily observable visual leap from VHS. When the prices started dropping from “Laserdisc” enthusiast level down to the $200 range, electronics stores (hah, remember those!) were basically shoveling the things out the door by simply connecting a VCR and a DVD player to the same TV and pushing a button on a switcher.

DVD killed Laserdisc and VHS because it looked better than both formats, was cheap, and didn’t have any of the handling problems (getting up to flip the disc over, having to pay for an expensive disc-flipping player, worrying about rewinding and tape-eating).

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Not all DVD’s were great though. Most DVD’s defiantly looked better than a VHS and the quality of sound debatable (it depends on the quality of tape and if your tape includes HI-FI sound or not). But when compared to LaserDisc, not all were even close to the quality of picture or sound. But overall, DVD’s were far superior. Easier to manage, easier to play, easier to store, easier to buy, easy to control and things of the nature.

“When the prices started dropping from “Laserdisc” enthusiast level down to the $200 range, electronics stores (hah, remember those!) were basically shoveling the things out the door by simply connecting a VCR and a DVD player to the same TV and pushing a button on a switcher.” Yes I do remember:).

I specialize in records, CDs, and pretty much anything thats got do with star wars soundtracks. If you have any old records you willing to give up DM me!

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Broom Kid said:

One of the main reasons DVD took off had a lot to do with the easily observable visual leap from VHS. When the prices started dropping from “Laserdisc” enthusiast level down to the $200 range, electronics stores (hah, remember those!) were basically shoveling the things out the door by simply connecting a VCR and a DVD player to the same TV and pushing a button on a switcher.

DVD killed Laserdisc and VHS because it looked better than both formats, was cheap, and didn’t have any of the handling problems (getting up to flip the disc over, having to pay for an expensive disc-flipping player, worrying about rewinding and tape-eating).

My back aches when I think of all the times I had to get off my butt to turn the disc over. Not! 😉

I still recall where the side breaks occurred in many of my favorite films and marvel when there’s no interruption on the DVD. And then my Blu Ray player takes it’s sweet time on a layer change. 😛

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