Today I threw out about 20 laserdiscs. I cannot overstate how wrong this felt. Laserdiscs are something I once paid $35+ for, and once held the promise of everlasting top-quality video. They were what separated those who are serious about media from those who were only casual consumers. Like VHS, they have long since been made obsolete, but unlike VHS they never had that period of psychological depreciation: they never felt worthless.
Part of the reason for that is that they were always somewhat rare in the United States, and that they are both delicate and heavy: double-sided shiny 12 inch platters that weigh almost a pound, which like a CD can only be handled by its edges. They remain something special that only videophiles of the era can appreciate. Moreover, the experience of using a laserdisc feels weighty and important, like playing a record as opposed to an MP3.
But alas, space considerations mandated I go through my collection and pair it down to only my recent Japanese import purchases of rare anime not available on DVD. I went through all the discs I was so happy to find once upon a time: Broadcast News, Strange Days, Wings of Honneamise…
They now are sitting out at the curb. Tomorrow I’ll forget about them. I have them all on DVD, and a few of them, Blu-Ray. Time marches on. But occasionally one must stop and take notice as days go by.