VHS store owner drives 600 miles to rescue 20,000 tapes destined for landfill

midian182

Posts: 7,143   +63
Staff member
WTF?! Many people have some ancient VHS cassettes lying around their homes or in storage. Given that the format died out well over a decade ago and the world's last VCR was made in 2016, most of them end up being thrown away or given to charity shops. For the owner of the UK's only video store, however, they're more than just trash, which is why he made a 600-mile round trip to rescue 20,000 VHS tapes destined for a landfill.

Andy Johnson opened the VideOdyssey VHS rental store in Toxteth, Liverpool, back in 2018 and has been overwhelmed by the support and popularity it has received. As reported by the BBC, the business featured on a movie lovers' bucket list by Time Out Magazine that included Hobbiton in New Zealand and the Ghostbusters firehouse in New York.

VideOdyssey had contained 15,000 tapes, but that figure has more than doubled since Johnson made a 300-mile journey to Dundee in Scotland to collect another 20,000+ VHS cassettes, which, as they cannot be recycled, would have ended up in a landfill. The collection was being stored in three lock-up garages.

"I was just absolutely amazed when I got the phone call," he told the BBC. "The guy who got these lock-ups told me it could be more than 20,000 so we are quite excited."

Most people of a certain age look back on the VHS era wearing rose-tinted nostalgia glasses. They were an intrinsic part of our childhoods, so we can forgive the low resolutions, tracking problems, fuzziness, and often crap sound. Despite the quality issues that worsen over time, Johnson believes that the format is seeing a resurgence.

"VHS is starting to have a similar comeback seen with vinyl. People want that physical connection to their favourite films, rather than the cold experience of playing something from the cloud," he said. "A lot of amazing movies were never brought out digitally and they're in danger of being lost forever."

It was 2019 when one of the two remaining Blockbuster stores in the world closed down, leaving a sole outlet in Bend, Oregon. At the height of last year's lockdowns, it started offering nineties-style sleepovers in the store.

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VitalyT

Posts: 5,936   +6,192
As I'm reading it, I have the 1982 The Thing playing in the background, at 4k HDR 60fps, thinking - Nah, dude, you can keep those tapes, I choose to relive my nostalgic moments differently.

I bought my RTX3080Ti for a reason - so I can play 4k movies with SVP Pro, to auto-inject extra 30fps automatically, without struggle, and enjoy classic movies with HDR + 60fps.
 
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RudyBob

Posts: 231   +240
Not much different than a comic book collector, pokemon collector, video game hoarders etc. I mean the list goes on but whatever floats their boat
Sure, from which you learn VHS isn't worth floating unless it has family or friend history, IMO
 

ziffel66

Posts: 123   +202
" People want that physical connection to their favourite films, rather than the cold experience of playing something from the cloud"

Nope. People want that connection to their past. It's just nostalgia. Also, 99.9999% of people don't want VHS in 2021. Same as people don't want to use a wall mounted rotary dial phone.

If this store owner's premise were true, then open up a store that sells typewriters so folks can get that "physical connection to their correspondence".
 
Yeah I think with Vinyl if it is done properly you can get quite close to CD quality, indistinguishable to most people, just as the difference is invisible with formats above CD or vinyl with higher frequency response would be, but standard VHS can never come close to blu ray or even DVD so it is much more limited for people today who aren't interested in the technology.
 

RedBlu

Posts: 46   +59
Yeah I think with Vinyl if it is done properly you can get quite close to CD quality, indistinguishable to most people, just as the difference is invisible with formats above CD or vinyl with higher frequency response would be, but standard VHS can never come close to blu ray or even DVD so it is much more limited for people today who aren't interested in the technology.
Theoretically, vinyl has a near infinite frequency response. It's analog and not restricted by bitrates, but practically there are physical limitations due to the needle, etc.

A better comparison would be film reel. The resolution is only limited by the grainsize of the filmstock which is on the order of modern cameras (~5 um). This is why they can remaster from the original reels but anything filmed in Hollywood on early digital digital cameras or tape is SOOL.