The Video File: Mission Statement

Welcome to The Video File, a new home theater blog for anyone who loves watching movies and TV, and cares about presenting them in the best possible quality at home. That means a big screen, surround sound, and – when you really get into the weeds of it – a dedicated custom-built room. Of course, not everyone has the budget or inclination to remodel their house just to watch Netflix. This site will strive to cater to both the novice and the hardcore enthusiast equally.

I’ll write more about my background soon, but the short version is that I’ve been obsessive about home theater since the Laserdisc days and have written professionally on the subject for over two decades. Previous publications I’ve worked at include DVDFile, DVDTalk, Primetimer, and Home Theater magazine. However, my longest stint, and the one most people in the home theater community may recognize my name from, was the position I held at High-Def Digest for over a dozen years reviewing movies on Blu-ray disc, writing articles, and answering reader questions.

In 2010, I founded The Bonus View, a daily blog at HDD covering a wide range of home theater-related topics including movie and TV reviews, electronics hardware, the birth of the 4K Ultra HD format, and the slow decline of physical media in favor of video streaming. I was Managing Editor of that blog for its duration, edited every piece of content that was ever published on it (over 8,000 posts), and personally contributed at least one article per day for just short of a decade.

Regrettably, budget cuts from the corporate owners brought an abrupt end to The Bonus View in late 2019 and I was laid off from High-Def Digest. To be frank, this was a hard blow that left me in a depressed funk. I fell out of the habit of writing every day and felt unmoored, a problem that was exacerbated by the global COVID-19 viral pandemic that forced myself and everyone else to remain homebound in quarantine through most of 2020 and well into 2021. All of my normal routines were thrown asunder, and I still often feel like I don’t know what to do with my time.

I greatly miss the community of writers and readers we built at The Bonus View and would love to recreate that if it were possible. For a brief moment, my hopes were raised when I found backing to fund what would essentially be The Bonus View 2.0 with enough budget to bring some of the old staff back together and perhaps recruit some new voices as well. Unfortunately, the havoc the damn pandemic wreaked on the economy brought those plans to an end. I lost my funding and had to release all the writers I’d lined up.

Ironically, the time of quarantine made the topic of home theater more relevant than ever, as countless people were stuck at home with little to do except watch TV and movies. Even as the world starts to open back up again, behavioral changes to social habits will have lasting impacts, and the movie theater industry may take decades to recover, if ever. Speaking for myself, I can’t imagine wanting to go to a cinema anytime soon. I know I’m not alone in that. A huge audience is growing of viewers looking for suggestions on what to watch, and advice about how to improve the experience of watching it. If we’re not going to the theater, wouldn’t it be nice to bring some of the theatrical experience back home?

Ultimately, I decided to press forward and create a new blog on my own, to keep myself busy and sane if nothing else. My hope is to continue the work started at The Bonus View discussing movies, TV, electronics, and anything else related to the subject of home theater. Of course, as a personal venture without a budget or a clear income source, the scale will unavoidably need to be reduced. I may get some help from a friend or two who are kind enough to volunteer their time, but will not have a full staff at first. Because I have a regular, boring day job to pay my bills, I may not be able to post here every day.

In April 2010, I opened The Bonus View with a Mission Statement post featuring an image from the first Mission: Impossible movie, reflecting my feelings that I was about to embark on a daunting task. It seems fitting therefore to do something similar here. The image I’ve chosen this time is from the HALO jump scene in the franchise’s sixth entry, Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Starting a new web site at this time feels a lot like making a dangerous leap into the unknown. Even aside from the financial aspect of it, I’m well aware that the blog format has largely fallen out of favor with a public that has migrated to sound bite posts and short videos on social media. Nevertheless, I believe that a blog is still the best outlet for long-form thoughts and discussion with some substance, and I have confidence that there’s still an audience for that.

Your feedback is appreciated. Please respond in the comments with the things you like or don’t like about the site, and suggestions for things you’d like me to write about. This blog will probably not be driven to keep up with new movie releases. Rather, it will be an exploration of content both new and old, from a variety of sources. Like most home theater fans, I’ve amassed a sizable movie collection filled with titles I’ve never gotten around to watching, and have access to streaming services overflowing with more awaiting discovery.

This site may start small, but give it time to find its bearings. My friends and I will try to keep interesting articles flowing every week as much as possible. With luck, if this goes well, it will ramp up over time. In the meantime, be sure to visit the Archive section for links to hundreds of reviews and articles I wrote for previous publications. I’ve even dug up a lot of content that hasn’t seen circulation on the web for quite some time, including articles from DVDFile and my long-defunct Laserdisc Forever site.

I look forward to taking this journey with anyone who will join me.

6 thoughts on “The Video File: Mission Statement

  1. Hey Josh, great to see you writing again. I tried to follow some of your work on prime timer, but always had trouble locating your articles. Yeah, the pandemic was interesting, but it inspired me to turn my office into a dedicated movie room. What a game changer! It’s very tiny, but man does it keep me sane and happy. Do you have an instagram? I don’t have Facebook or anything like that, but I got instagram during pandemic just to keep in touch with my nephew who got trapped in England for six months. Are you watching House of Dragons? Surely you must be. Anywhere to see new home theater upgrades?


    1. I only use Instagram to follow a select few toy accounts and never post anything of my own. Maybe this is just me being a fuddy-duddy, but I’ve never really understood the need for IG when you can just as easily share photos on Facebook. Also, my IG feed seems to have about 17 ads for every post I actually want to look at.


  2. Holy shit you’re gettin’ the band back together! I was so bummed when the Bonus View folded and have been wandering through the home-theatre wilderness in a funk over the last few years. I’m so pumped you’re back and will be visiting this blog on a daily basis.👍


  3. “Well, now, everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
    But maybe everything that dies someday comes back” — Springsteen

    So great to see you online again! Let’s keep the show on the road as long as we can…


  4. Welcome back, Josh!

    I was hoping you would resurface again (like the other folks, Primetimer was a tough follow). I didn’t always agree with you, but found your views interesting to read. Your annihilation of that ridiculous piece of garbage “Prometheus” made me feel sane again. It was cathartic to read you trashing that over-hyped, thoroughly unintelligent mess.

    I’m glad you’re back. When the Bonus View got shut down, it was horrible. If I hadn’t gone to HDD today and re-read your last post, I wouldn’t have seen your new logo, and I wouldn’t have found this site.

    I can’t wait to see this site grow. I know I can’t be the only one missing the discussions about this glorious nonsense we all obsess over.

    Can’t wait to see what’s next!

    Take it easy,

    Liked by 1 person

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