Many of us can remember when portable transistorized radios were ignorantly called “transistors.” We have a tendency to abbreviate the names of various sorts of electronic technology (see stereo and satellite), often in the process confusing the medium with the content. Video is the electronic reproduction of images, and applies to broadcast and cable television, prerecorded videocassette recordings (made on a videocassette recorder, or VCR), and related technologies. MTV appropriated this broad term for a very narrow meaning: “videotaped productions of visual material meant to accompany popular music recordings.” This is now what most people mean when they speak of “a video,” unless they are “renting a video,” in which case they mean a videocassette or DVD recording of a film. One also hears people referring to theatrical films that they happened to have viewed in videotaped reproduction as “videos.” This is simply wrong. A film is a film (or movie), whether it is projected on a screen from 35 or 70 mm film or broadcast via the NTSC, SECAM or PAL standard. Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane is not now and never will be a “video.”
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