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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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. This channel is not viewed primarily in terms of its in-betweenness, but rather in terms of the information that it carries from one side to the other—it, is the very act of carrying information, in other words, that makes something a medium.

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And so the story opens. There is a useful lesson here for the history of technology.

This book is just just not for me as I think I really don’t care to understand that aspect of today’s culture. Greenberg’s writing is clear and easy to understand with only the occasional foray into heavy theory.

From the humble VCR radiates discussions and analyses on an array of interweaving topics. Before video, the fact that movies were meant to be seen in theaters was unquestioned, and ancillary media like television were little more than necessary evils.

Video Stores and the Invention of Movies on Video. 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.

Jamie Martin added it Jan 20, The 60 Best Songs of playlist Mixed Media. In everyday use, though, the technology became reinscribed, leading to a sociocultural shift the outcomes of which remain with us today. Aaron marked it as to-read Jul 29, Dave Russell rated it really liked it Dec 24, Images, albeit moving, which were once confined to one time viewing opportunities when broadcast or on the cinema screen, can now be stored, viewed, and reviewed at leisure.


In this sense, this inherent property of media can be understood as a boundary object, another sort of in-between creature. By focusing on the “spaces in between” manufacturers and consumers, Greenberg’s account offers a fresh perspective on consumer technology, illustrating how the initial transformation of movies from experience into commodity began not from the top down or the bottom up, but from the middle of the burgeoning industry out.

Hardcoverpages. It isn’t entirely irredeemable, but The House that Jack Built’ s familiar gimmicks say much more about Lars von Trier as a brand than as a provocateur or artist.

From Betamax to Blockbuster by Joshua M. Greenberg

Nick Orsini rated it liked it Nov 23, Whether a storefront in a suburban strip mall or a below-ground space on a city street corner, you probably knew the owner by name, and he or she likely knew your taste in movies. The author ruined that with an overly academic style of writing. The consumer VCR was initially conceived as a time-shifting device, a storage technology allowing users to record broadcast television for later playback. Initially, blank cassettes were accessories for VCRs, no more special than head cleaners or other main- tenance items.

Ian marked it as to-read Dec 21, These top- down institutions served as closure mechanisms, establishing and mandat- ing a particular understanding of exactly what movies on video were, and thus how the video store should function.

From Betamax to Blockbuster by Joshua M. Greenberg – PopMatters

Jessica rated it really liked it Jan 20, Greenberg charts a trajectory from early “videophile” communities to the rise of the video store–complete with theater marquee lights, movie posters, popcorn, and clerks who offered expert advice on which movies to rent. The underlying theme running through both of these arguments, and the book as a ffrom, is the importance of mediation.


The humble video store and its enabling technology, the videocassette recorder VCRlaid the foundation for this world in which movies are tangi- ble blickbuster goods. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Mike rated it it was amazing Feb 17, Be the first to ask a question about From Betamax to Blockbuster.

Justin rated it really liked it Feb 23, Just as Bruno Latour describes the coproduction of nature blockvuster soci- ety when a boundary is drawn through human experience, we produce the yin and yang categories of message and medium through the practice of media use. Those responsible for making this happen were the new video distributors, who mediated between retailers and manufacturers of recorders, tapes, and movies, facilitating a grad- ual movement from a distribution model based on the brown goods world of high-technology appliances to one based on the recording industry.

Michael marked it as to-read May 14, In his riff on the play, however, Stoppard puts Rosencranz and Guildenstern at the cen- ter of the story, relegating Hamlet, Claudius, and the rest of the royal family to the periphery. At the same time, the new video technology was itself a medium, bringing movies into homes around the country and trans- forming movies from experiences into commodified goods.