The first video cassette recorders were promoted in the s as an extension of broadcast television technology–a time-shifting device, a way to tape TV shows. From Betamax to Blockbuster: video stores and the invention of movies on video, by Joshua M. Greenberg, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, Early advertising for Sony’s Betamax told potential purchasers “You don’t have to miss In From Betamax to Blockbuster, Joshua Greenberg explains how the.

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In its everyday use, VCR technology led to a sociocultural shift, the outcomes of which remain with us today.

As video stores oriented themselves toward offering beta,ax tempo- rary experience of a movie via rental rather than concrete goods for sale, they began to mimic the visual rhetoric of the movie theater, selling refresh- ments like candy and popcorn underneath marquee lights and poster dis- plays.

We rarely rented them or watch them in a theater.

From Betamax to Blockbuster | Josh Greenberg –

Which is a shame, because in both narrative and content From Betamax to Blockbuster is well worth a read. Early owners, seeking personal copies of movies or series not broadcast in their area, would travel, VCR in tow, to a place in which the show could be received.

I have a few memories of going to the little video store “in town” and renting videos. A perfect mixture of practitioner and theory at work in this text. The 20 Best Folk Albums of Includes bibliographical references and index.

This device, they suggest, will be used to shift time, revolutionising television watching as viewers are released from the shackles of broadcast schedules and instead able to record output for later playback.

The authors’ whose works we share with you in PopMatters’ 80 Best Books of — from a couple of notable reissues to a number of excellent debuts — poignantly capture how the political is deeply personal, and the personal nlockbuster undeniably, and beautifully, universal. According to Cowan, one can understand this history by exam- ining the options made available to consumers and how those consumers ultimately spend their money in effect choosing a technology.


From Betamax to Blockbuster. Instead, this book aims to flesh blockbustsr a part of this history that has been generally taken for granted: According to this model, the system of sender, channel, and receiver is functionally understood in terms of the information that it mediates, described and analyzed in the context of use rather than through any intrinsic characteristics. Before video, the fact that movies were meant blockbuater be seen in theaters was unquestioned, and ancillary media like television were little more than necessary evils.

From Betamax to Blockbuster by Joshua M. Greenberg – PopMatters

Jason marked it as to-read Feb 25, Eddie marked it as to-read Apr 14, I can’t exactly remember why I requested it from the library but I did. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any elec- tronic or mechanical means including photocopying, recording, or information stor- age and retrieval without permission in writing from the publisher. Rather than the manufacturer having dictated the correct use to which their product be put, amalgams of users linked in loose social networks had revolutionised the meaning invested in the technological artefact known as the VCR.

Thus, the boundary between a movie and the technology mediating it was redrawn in the video era, with consequences that persist to this day. The Canonical History of the VCR The history of the VCR as a technology is surprisingly tricky to pin down, in no small part because it has lived at least three distinct and often overlapping lives.

The impact of such technologically led adjustments to the integrity of the movie as a cultural artefact became increasingly important as studios began to realise the centrality of the home video market to their profit margins. Roy Kenagy marked it as to-read Jan 30, From Betamax to Blockbuster Publisher: In short, this is the story about how the VCR was remade into a medium for movies, and who was responsible for doing so.

Soon, however, peer-to-peer sharing networks sprung up. This leads to an interesting point with regard to the nature of media—a particular sort of use distinguishes media from other technologies, nothing more. For the most part, this means that my story is less about the materiality of the VCR and more about the building of new knowledge about that same physical machine though at moments this new knowledge does rip- ple back into a material change in the artifacts themselves, as well as the physi- cal spaces of the consumption junction.


This was far from an easy process, however, and the early domi- nance of public domain and pornographic videos speaks to the reluctance of studios to release their movies in the new format.

Arguing that the retail space is a physical manifestation of a technological frame, chapter 4 analyzes the spatial layout of the newly established video store. The underlying theme running through both of these arguments, and the book as a whole, is the importance of mediation.

From Betamax to Blockbuster by Joshua M. Greenberg

Colleen marked it as to-read Oct 27, Analytically, therefore, he benefits, evading the need to frame his arguments with the disclaimer that future developments might throw a spanner into his theoretical works. Notes on the videostoreprojectcom Website. From the per- spective of the sociology of technology, this is a more traditional case; these enthusiasts were a small, relatively coherent group with clear interests and a shared set of cultural norms.

This is the sort of history of technology of which we need more.

In order to meaningfully use it as a television set, a skilled viewer first proceeds under the assumption that the machine is receiving a signal from somewhere else; in other words, the television set is situated between herself and a broadcasting sender. Oct 09, Andrew rated it liked it Shelves: I, gasp, don’t have a netflix account. Chandler rated it it was amazing Apr 16,