RIP, The VCR Is Basically Dead At 40
Friends, we are gathered here today to say goodbye to the vessel of video variety. The VCR, or “video cassette recorder,” as you may now it, is officially dead. Not the false death of obscurity, as we had previously assumed, but the one, true death. And so, we must look back on our dear friend in their final moment of life, as the last VCRunits are scheduled to roll off of the assembly line at some point this month. After which, it shall be no more.
The bad news comes directly from Variety, as they reported that Funai Electronics, the final manufacturer of the VCR, will terminate production of the long antiquated device at the close of July. This comes almost ten years after VHS tapes stopped being made, with the last film being mass produced on the format being Fox’sEragon. In the past couple of years, specialty VHS titles have been printed, the most recent being Deadpool, which had a limited amount of VHS units created to give out at this week’s Comic Con, inspired by the April Fools’ gag it had played on audiences through their social media presence. The VCR is survived by DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD formats.
While it’s not like the VHS is a format that’s gone before its time, it’s still sad to see such a nostalgic format slipping the surly bonds of this earth, and joining the bleeding choir invisible. Much like the Laser Disc, Video Disc, and Betamax players, the VHS will soon be relegated to a museum piece, a cultural oddity, and that machine your parents keep on top of their cable box and below their Blu-ray player, despite the fact that they haven’t watched a VHS since Jerry Maguire.
After a hard fought battle with Betamax, the format that folks considered to be the superior candidate, the VHS continued to blaze the trail for the home video experience to evolve down. But as 1997 introduced the DVD, the days of the clunkier, more sensitive format were numbered. This was a day that we knew would come, and as such we’ve had plenty of time to prepare for it.
So if you have video tapes that need to be preserved, or if you’re looking to keep a piece of the past alive in your own home, you should go out and buy a VCR while you still can. While there’s a chance that the device may come back as a luxury item, much like the Vinyl player before it, we wouldn’t chance it if we were you. Fair thee well, VCR. May a flight of VHS tapes sing thee to thy rest. If you feel like sharing your favorite VCR / VHS memories with us, in honor of this noble physical format, please use the Comments section below.