How Watching Movies Has Changed Over the Years

movie generations

This is 2015, errrr 2019 , 2021, 2022, 2023 and the technology choices for us to watch movies is dizzying!  A bit of history….

I don’t want to start too far back, but, in the past 30 or 40 years there has been a remarkable technological shift in the way we watch movies (and TV shows, etc).

When I was a kid, there were two choices:

  • Go to the movie theater in Downtown Bay Shore, NY
  • Gather the family in front of the TV for “Saturday Night at the Movies”

Eventually we started going to the Drive-in on Sunrise Highway and then the Mall.  But, by that time I had grown up and left.

old vhs recorder

Not much changed for many years, but, the advent of the VHS video recorder changed our lives. Now “Saturday Night at the Movies” (and other shows) could be recorded and watched any time that suited our schedule.  Wow!

Lori’s dad had a VHS recorder just like the one in the picture (the remote was at the end of a long wire)…he recorded the Olympics one year.  It was awesome!

Then came movies on VHS tapes. You could buy them, stick them in the VHS Recorder and play a movie!  Double Wow!

A few years passed with those three options:

  • Movie Theater
  • Movies on TV
  • VHS Recorder / Player

But……technology marches on.

Eventually, a new technology was introduced: The DVD player.  Now movies are on a CD like disc that offered better quality, and longer life than the VHS tapes.

We now have four choices.

  • Movie Theater
  • Movies on TV
  • VHS Recorder / Player
  • DVD player

Again technology marches on.

The DVD movie quality took a major leap forward with HDTV (see my blog on our first HDTV) and Blu-Ray (see my blogs on the battle to win the high def DVD war) DVD.

But, we still only had 4 choices, even though the quality took a bump for the better.

  • Movie Theater
  • Movies on TV (better quality with HDTV)
  • VHS Recorder / Player (fading fast…)
  • DVD player (Standard or Blu-Ray)

One day, I spotted an announcement for a radically new way to watch movies: via streaming over the Internet.  Note: By now my home had “high speed” internet.  So I wrote to VUDU, told them what I did (this blog), and in a few days was rewarded with the single most exciting technology I had seen in years!  The VUDU box that allowed us to view movies via the Internet.  Triple Wow!

I immediately saw the value. This is what I wrote when I reviewed the VUDU in this blog from 2008:

Goodbye, Blockbuster and Netflix. It’s been nice knowing you, DVD. Watch your back, Blu-Ray. There is a new kid in town, and that new kid is about to change the world. That new kid is VUDU.

How right was I?  Well, I was RIGHT as RAIN!

Of course, VUDU eventually had it’s competition and Netflix streaming seems to be the most popular, but, VUDU was the first to stream video over the Internet and nothing can change that. I still think they are the best, but, I am prejudiced.

Now we had FIVE ways to watch movies

  • Movie Theater
  • Movies on TV (better quality with HDTV)
  • VHS Recorder / Player (fading fast…)
  • DVD player (Standard or Blu-Ray)
  • Streaming video via the Internet (multiple options)

…..and the steep uptick in the number of options was about to begin….most of them via streaming over the Internet.

Present Day: October 2015 (Still valid in 2019, errrr 2021, hmmmm 2022, yikes 2023)

Lori just came to me and asked me if I heard of “CinemaNow”.  Ah, no, actually.

My tired old brain is finding it hard to keep up with the number of ways we can watch movies today. Most of them streaming….but, hey, way back in 2008, I was RIGHT!  🙂

For my movie reviews on we now have the following choices (we have Xfinity Internet now working at 200+ Mbps download!) to watch movies (the old technologies are gone….):

  • Movie Theater
  • TV (love the commercials….sic)
  • VHS Recorder / Player (fading fast…)
  • DVD Blue-Ray or Standard DVD
  • DVR…..Digital Video Recording….did I miss this above?
  • Streaming video via the Internet
  • Cable or phone line streaming or DVR (We have Comcast/Xfinity X1)

And a lot of these can be controlled via my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Pixel 3 XL Pixel 5, Pixel 6 Pro or Lori’s iPhone 6 11 Pro…..oh, and we can watch movies on our tablets, smartphones, watches, etc……Quadruple WOW!

OMG…my head is spinning….



Update Sept 2022: Streaming boomed during the pandemic and now….movie theaters are struggling. Sadly, they, may shrink or even disappear. We will see….or, rather, YOU will see. 🙂

It’s fun living a long life, loving technology, and remain willing to embrace change….a lot of old folks don’t do that.  I am different.

Bring it on!

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