Network: My Technology: This puts TV in the shade

Johnny Vaughn, presenter of Channel 4's The Big Breakfast, on the delights of a DVD video-player
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The Independent Culture
My favourite bit of technology is new. And it's an excellent technology, a Philips DVD player. A DVD video-player is strikingly better than a normal video-player. I am a home-video enthusiast, so for me, it's life-changing; the whole film is put on a disc like a CD and you whack it in and off you go. There are no more gaps, such as when you press "pause" and the machine makes horrible noises before eventually freezing; everything is easy and immediate.

What is particularly revolutionary is you are able to choose exactly what you want to see, and do so really easily. It allows you to pick a scene and go straight, for instance, to scene number 80. The scenes are listed like tracks on an album, enabling you to cut straight to the best bit. And, for the man who likes gadgets, it's got a great handset with buttons that light up. You can jog or pause, and the accuracy is wondrous. You don't even need to fast-forward past the useless 20 minutes of trailers - you just jump straight there at the press of a button. It's just like jogging past a duff song on a CD - or perhaps a cheesy, embarrassing love scene you want to skip.

I already had a large library of home videos and have now started to buy lots of DVDs. Again, as a collection it's better than normal videos; they take up no room, and are not chunky or big like traditional video cases. Storage space is important to me because I am the kind of person who hoards; it cuts down the space used by a third, as it comes in something as handy as a CD box. To my mind, it's the way forward.

A film on a digital disc is a big leap in quality. The clarity of the picture is extraordinary; it's like watching a video, but with the sharp, clear cinema quality. It's so much better. And you don't have to worry about the albatross of all videos, the tracking. What really surprised me was that even if you are using a normal stereo, the sound out of the television set is CD quality. It's absolutely crisp and can go to full volume with no distortion. Also, which is really exciting, you can pick whichever camera angle shot you want to see. Effectively the main shot in, say, the best of the football season, is behind the goal, but with the press of a button, you get a close-up.

Normally, I would call myself a Luddite, but this is different. Video- recorders are one of the most inefficient forms of modern technology. For instance, you have to put the video in the box the right way round. It's nearly always a problem adapting to new technology - it can take two days to get used to it - but this DVD has no problems. Within two minutes I was ready to go. The downside is that you can't record from the TV set on to the digital videos. But I don't record off television anyway, which is probably to do with the fact that I have never mastered the art of setting the video - who has?

At the moment, it's a case of having fun with a new tool. Once you get a good film going, it's quite enjoyable to fiddle around with it. And it's not at a stage, yet, when they have to hype it and add lots of useless functions. Of course, it already has a good amount of equipment, but it is functional rather than gadgetry for the sake of it. The only real disappointment comes when you go back to a normal television set after spending an afternoon playing with the DVD; you want to have the same power over television.

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