- The Editors
Home Theater Forum. Kendrick argues that home theater enthusiasts’ insistence on a widescreen aspect ratio as the sole legitimate use of the technology performs the discursive function of differentiating the group from a mass audience of DVD consumers. The preference for a “modified” aspect ratio is linked by HTF posters to the figure of an uneducated, lower-class “Joe Six-Pack,” who provides a convenient foil for enthusiasts’ assertion of their own economic and cultural capital. Kendrick concludes that the production of such social distinctions within home theater enthusiasts’ discussions of DVD technology presents film and media scholars with fundamental questions concerning the nature of the viewing experience and the ontology of the motion picture image itself.
The authors in this issue make important contributions to the current body of scholarship on DVD technology, identifying and examining DVD’s impact on distribution and marketing strategies, habits of consumption, and forms of textual production. The growth of the format is at present only expected to increase. Because of its relatively low price, mass-market availability, and ever-expanding library of titles, DVD has gone mainstream, surpassing the laserdisc as the videophile’s platform of choice while overtaking the aging VHS format. Both the film and television industries are finding means of expanding the presence of currently successful titles, while numerous older or unsuccessful titles gain new life and new sales. The possibilities the format offers (widescreen or pan-and-scan options, multiple language soundtracks, multiple language subtitles, Dolby Digital or DTS sound, and supplemental materials) provide fertile ground for future research. Scholarship is beginning to emerge on these and related issues, such as pedagogy, piracy, and opportunities for independent, cross-media, and microcinema production. We hope that the articles in this issue will contribute to such scholarship and help provide a foundation for future work.