The end to the VCR (Video Cassette Recorders) era has arrived. Last week, Japan company Funai Electric announced that it would no longer manufacture VHS (Video Home System) after July. With the production of betamax video tapes being stopped last year, VHS was the lone survivor of the VCR era, a title that has been short lived, and just like video killed the radio star, DVDs, On Demand and high definition have killed the VCR.
History of the VCR
The VCR debuted in 1975 with the introduction of Betamax. Two years later, VHS came on the market and by 1987, VHS controlled 90% of $5.25 billion VCR market, which it dominated for 20+ years. The DVD player, which was the next wave of technology to sweep over the home entertainment system industry, appeared in the early 1990s. However, it did not become mainstream until the early 2000s when, in 2001, DVD sales surpassed VHS sales.
Today, there is a whole generation of adolescents and teenagers that have never even seen a VHS cassette, let alone could they figure out how to get a VCR to work. For a closer analysis about the history of the VCR and it’s impending demise, please see a recent article posted in Forbes.
Is the Death of the VCR Good Riddance or Not?
I’m a little torn on this one because on the one hand, I think it’s great to see advances in technology and for the old to give way to the new. But, on the other hand, I grew up as a child during the heyday of VHS. I remember how fun it was to go to the video store with my parents on a Friday or Saturday night to pick up a video cassette and some snacks. And, how exciting it was when the video store called to say the movie we reserved had been returned.
Today, video rental stores have all but disappeared; gone are the trips to the local video store. Now, movie night takes nothing more than a few clicks of the remote control, or brief stop by the kiosk at your grocery store.
DVDs and On Demand have made home entertainment easier and more accessible, and with high definition, the quality is undeniably better. However, I’m not quite ready to say good riddance to the VCR. It played a memorable part of my childhood and I’m not sure that my children will enjoy renting a movie right from our living room as much as I enjoyed a trip to the video store with my parents and siblings. And let’s not forget that the patience it took to rewind a VHS is something that is completely lost on many youth today.
Remember: Be Kind, Please Rewind