Disney Film Media Comparisons

Edited: June 20, 2023, 7:28 AM

I decided to view two movies on both VHS and DVD. I don't have access to streaming so will leave that for others who can do this.
I watched each movie ( Jungle Book and Snow White ) simultaneously on VHS and DVD. Switching back and forth to compare their relative qualities.
The VHS versions were obviously poorer in terms of picture quality. Kind of scratchy and less defined. Whereas, as you'd expect, the enhanced DVD version was superb in terms of picture definition and colour.
What was noticeable was that the old VHS version displayed more information at the top and bottom of the screen. One scene from The Jungle Book , where Baloo floats down river on his back, had a marked difference.
In the cleaned up widescreen DVD we only see monkeys' arms reaching down from the trees trying to take Mowgli whereas on the VHS format we get to see the whole of the monkeys' bodies making it far more enjoyable experience.
In addition to that missed information on the DVD I also felt that the scratchy images on the VHS were far closer to how I remember experiencing these movies in the cinema.
Maybe it's a generational thing although I certainly like the the digitally enhanced versions. However,for me, perhaps they are just too clean. Too perfect. I think overall that I prefer the older format with some scratches and jumps.
I'm sure that it's not beyond technology to find a happy medium between the two formats or maybe to put both on the same DVD.
Having not seen the streamed versions it may be that they have already addressed this issue.
Only you guys can tell me that.
Anyway what are your thoughts ? Original film format or cleaned up enhanced format ?

Replies (2)

Edited: June 20, 2023, 8:33 AM

I think it's unfair to perform these type of comparisons, because Disney, in particular, has done numerous "remasters" of their classic films, and different releases over the decades have presented films in slightly different forms. The old VHS "from the vault" editions were often not remastered unless they were released alongside a DVD "gold/diamond/platinum" edition of the film, which is really the only way to perform an "apples to apples" comparison.

Also, it's important to note that the DVD (and sometimes VHS) versions of the films offer a choice to watch in either letterbox/widescreen OR full screen, so if you're going to compare the same film on different media, it's important that you're watching them in the same format.

Personally, I think the biggest difference between VHS and DVD/BluRay is the sound. VHS can only provide analogue sound, which then requires a high end amp to convert into true surround sound (most amps will not push any tracks to surround speakers and will only push dialogue to the center channel), and even then the best amps will not create the same separation present on a digital surround-coded track found on DVD/BluRay. My Harmon-Kardon amp will do some track separation for analogue material (though I have to manually change a bunch of the setting to make it sound right), but digital track ALWAYS sound better, and are optimized when they are coded in a standard format my amp can broadcast (DTS, THX, Dolby-5/6/7, but not Atmos).

As far as streaming goes, it really depends on your equipment and internet connection (though for me, I've noticed most sound is defaulted to Dolby-5 even if the film was created with THX or another standard). I haven't done any side by side comparisons to see any difference in the content streamed versus what's memorialized on disc/tape, but I have read certain companies are digitally altering their streamed content for offensive material. However, what I've noticed more often is that the most recent remastered edition is not always the version of the film that is streamed.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive