The Last Recording: Death of the VCR
I am just as surprised as you are to learn that someone is still making VCR’s in 2016. I’m also just as surprised to learn that they are stopping production at the end of the month. VHS format – for you younger kids, those are the old tapes that played movies – showed up in the late 1970’s. It was the first time most people could really afford to easily record their family events or favorite TV shows. Those early VCRs (and BetaMax players) paved the way for Netflix streaming thanks to the new idea of watching crap whenever you wanted, and a Supreme Court case (Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios).
The last manufacturing standing after DVDs showed up in 1997 to destroy the market, Japan’s Funai Electric, is closing down their VCR production this month. They had been manufacturing VCRs since 1983. That means they’ve been making VCRs for my entire lifetime. So, grab one while you can to watch your VHS copy of Eragon (the last major movie released on that format) or one of the weird modern films occasionally released on VHS, like V/H/S 2.
It is truly the end of an era. As a child, I can recall trading tapes of horror movies from late night TV with friends, watching family events, and crudely attempting to make our own films using VHS format. Gone are the days of Blockbuster Video and the term “be kind, rewind”. Let’s just hope those few obscure films available only on VHS make their way to BluRay or Digital. So, join me in adjusting the tracking on the TV, clicking the knob to channel 4, and knocking back a Squeez-It for that old friend, the VCR.