YouTube recently took some time to recognize the 57th birthday of the first commercial video cassette recorder, the Ampex VRX-1000. To commemorate the occasion, the video streaming website introduced a VHS button in the bottom right of the player for select videos to help us all remember what life was like before DVDs, Blu-rays and digital video.
If you grew up during the 80s and even into the 90s, you’re all too familiar with the drawbacks that came with the VHS platform. Sure it was completely awesome to be able to record live television, home movies and even watch blockbuster movies in the comfort of your home but it came at the expense of screen noise, distortion and screen roll.
Some of these issues could be rectified by using the tracking buttons on your VCR while others required you to use a VCR head cleaner to remove dust and other contaminants from the player. Of course, if the actual tape inside the cassette was damaged, there wasn’t much you could do to fix it.
YouTube did an admirable job of recreating most of these effects but what is most impressive is when you hit the pause button, the image jitters just as it would on a real VHS tape – job well done. We have no idea how long this effect will stick around or if it will eventually expand to all clips so if you’re interested in checking it out, it’s probably a good idea to do it sooner rather than later.