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The last VCR will roll off the assembly line this month

By Shawn Knight
Jul 20, 2016
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  1. DVDs replaced cassette tapes well over a decade ago yet incredibly enough, VCRs are still being manufactured to this very day in larger quantities than you may have guessed. That will soon be changing, however.

    Japanese news outlet Nikkei (via Anime News Network) reports that Funai Electric Company, the last remaining VRC manufacturer in Japan, will cease production of the legacy media players this month. Funai, which sold VCRs under the Sanyo brand and others in North America, pegged a declining market as well as increased difficulty in obtaining parts as the primary reasons for its decision.

    Surprisingly enough, Funai reportedly sold 750,000 VCRs last year – far more than I would have ever guessed.

    JVC introduced the VHS format in the mid ‘70s, just one year after Sony launched its proprietary Betamax format. Although the two formats were locked in a heated battle for years, VHS ultimately prevailed as the go-to format and enjoyed a successful run through the early 2000s.

    It wasn’t until this year that Sony finally stopped producing Betamax cassette tapes after discontinuing its recording equipment in 2002.

    If you still have some old VHS tapes lying around, I wouldn’t blindly toss them out. As Mental Floss notes, collecting VHS tapes has become a thing in recent years with some rare cassettes fetching hundreds of dollars.

    One collector told The Independent that some movies feel too cleaned-up on DVD and Blu-ray, as if they were never meant to look that good. For example, the collector said you can see the mistakes they made and the bad makeup and everything. Watching them on VHS is closer to the old drive-in or grindhouse theater, adding that this is the way the director intended them to look.

    Image courtesy Charles Knowles, Shutterstock

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  2. LiveResistance

    LiveResistance TS Booster Posts: 85   +64

    I was actually a bit surprised reading the article to learn that they were still producing VCR's. I guess there are a lot of old VHS tapes floating around out there. All mine disappeared years ago.
     
  3. gigantor21

    gigantor21 TS Member Posts: 19   +13

    750,000 last year!? WOW.
     
    bea108 likes this.
  4. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Guru Posts: 559   +171

    I thought they stopped a decade ago. Surprised.
     
  5. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,320   +709

    This may not necessarily spell the end for VHS. Hybrid DVD-VHS units may still be a thing for a while yet.
     
  6. Axle Grease

    Axle Grease TS Booster Posts: 69   +20

    Hey... I have the Star Wars Trilogy in VHS format and the set is still shrink-wrapped. It might be worth something in a few years.
     
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,551   +2,894

    With the way VHS looses its magnetic properties over time, I wouldn't give you much with out first testing the tapes.
     
  8. avioza

    avioza TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +23

    You better buy one of the last VCR players and market it as a set.
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  9. Axle Grease

    Axle Grease TS Booster Posts: 69   +20

    They've been in a cupboard away from any power source.
     
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,691   +1,879

    Well. once upon a time, the rental houses got something like a 3 month lead over consumers, but the tapes were outrageously priced. (I think I remember reading something like 80 bucks a pop):eek: < Somebody should fact check that..;)

    Anyway, tape prices finally came down and you could get "3 for $20.00" bargains at the mall. Trouble is, I bought a copy of, "1984", (the Richard Burton version), and it was transferred on the "6 hour" setting, to save tape. Wow, did that look like crap. I think it's been transferred to DVD, and I really should treat myself to a copy before it disappears again...:oops:

    IIRC, the last gasp but stable price on VCRs was about $49.95

    I still have 2 working Toshiba VCRs, (working last time I checked), and a JVC "Super VHS" unit. JVC's s*** doesn't work much past 90 days, so I suppose it's too much to expect that to fire up. (unless literally, pure junk JVC).
    Right, people will buy anything as long as it's rare, it doesn't have to be good.

    With the size and aspect ratio of today's TVs though, if it's 4:3, it would be pretty gruesome to actually watch in high def. Which reminds me, I should buy the "hex-ilogy", (or whatever the heck they're calling it), on combo Blu-ray / DVD, before that disappears too....
     
  11. Qrox

    Qrox TS Enthusiast Posts: 45   +9

    Or you could just get the blu ray...
     
  12. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Guru Posts: 508   +45

    Until about 2 years ago I still had a vcr. It was never ever used as I had DVDs virtually from day one of them hitting the consumer market.
     
  13. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 658   +174

    Ohnoes!!! -said no one
     
  14. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,317   +618

    OUCH! We must have 50-75 vhs tapes containing some great stuff.

    When our JVC CDRW died, I though, oh well, get some other - - another OUWEE - - several cds would not play due to JVC proprietary formats. Dang, wish I knew before I recycled it; would have paid to get it repaired.

    Technology moves forward, but frequently at the cost of killing off perfectly good equipment - - sigh.
     
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,691   +1,879

    Well, IMHO, (that of a former salesman with JVC as one of his product lines), it was never really engineered to work to begin with, much less be repaired. I had 2 JVC "Super-VHS" decks. The one with all the bells and whistles died within 6 months. I have another which may still work. Sadly, I don't have the nerve or the inclination to find out. I'm not just singling out JVC's VCR for abuse either. I never had a piece of it that sounded or worked as well as they claimed it would, and I never held on to their "next big thing". I bought it at a salesman's discount, and got rid of it as soon as I verified it was still the same old over-hyped garbage.
    I still have a TDK stand alone CD recorder which, :crossedfingers: still works. AFAIK, it has DRM which will only allow it to use "Music-CDs", and pretty much nothing would play a Music_CD-RW which hadn't been finalized by the machine it was recorded with.
     
  16. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,317   +618

    Sigh; mine (JVC CDRW) worked for over 10 years - - one of the nicest I've ever used.
     

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