The End of an Era … LAST VCR EVER … to Be Manufactured This Month

From: pjmedia.com,  by Stephen Kruiser,  on Jul 22, 2016,  see the article HERE.

VCR.sized-770x415xt

Via Variety:

Funai Electric, a Japanese consumer electronics company, will end production of VHS videocassette recorders (VCRs) at the end of July, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei. This will also mark the end of the format as a whole 40 years after it began production.Funai sold VCRs under the more familiar Sanyo brand in China and North America for nearly 30 years. The company’s move to stop manufacturing comes after years of declining sales and difficulty finding the materials for the electronics.

Funai Electric began production of VCRs in 1983 following the unsuccessful launch of its own CVC format in 1980. The electronics company sold as many as 15 million VCRs per year at its peak. Last year, Funai sold 750,000 units.

I was going to say, “If you’re over 30, this should bring a wave of nostalgia over you,” but then I realized that my 18-year-old daughter spent her early video years watching a lot of VHS movies on the VCR. That’s how quickly things are changing.

I’m old enough to remember when the VCR was THE GREATEST NEW THING EVER. When I was a very young man living with two of my best friends, one of them won a VCR at the company holiday party. Our humble little apartment then became an entertainment dream. All that with a machine that today’s youth would look at like a car that one needed to crank to start.

The VCR launched an incredibly, if ultimately fleeting, profitable industry. Blockbuster Video became a weekend destination for families, couples on dates, and even had a college bowl game named after it for a while.

Before Blockbuster, there were small mom and pop shop video stores. When Blockbuster showed up, it looked like a behemoth that could never be stopped. No one thought that within twenty years of its heyday, it would almost completely cease to exist.

The progression in home video technology since then has been nothing short of amazing. From VCRs to Video Discs (remember those?) to DVDs, Blu-ray and streaming video, an entertainment form once relegated to large venues has become ever more accessible and better to watch.

Streaming video is now leading to a revolution in entertainment that is poised to dismantle the cable television model and personalize entertainment even more.

All of this entertainment we expect to enjoy at home now is possible because of the humble VCR.

Well, I don’t know if it’s actually humble. I wouldn’t be if I’d started something that big.

~~~~~~~~~~

Remember the “format war”? It was between VHS and Betamax, two competing recording formats. Sony was the developer of Betamax (released in 1975) followed shortly thereafter by VHS which was developed by JVC. The two competed for a time and the consumer was caught in between. Betamax supposedly had the better recording quality, but VHS tapes could record 120 minutes while the Betamax was only good for 60. Betamax recorders were also more expensive, but were usually a higher quality machine. In the end, VHS won and home video recording was available to practically everyone. Remember Blockbuster stores?

I still have two VCRs collecting dust around here somewhere and my brother still has a Betamax. It is, indeed, the end of an era.

I don’t get nostalgic about these passing fads any more. After all, what’s the extinction of VHS compared to watching punch cards and paper tape bite the dust as this old computer guy did years ago? (sniff, sniff).

Garnet92.

 



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11 replies

  1. The culture does indeed live on however.

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  2. I remember the Betamax vs VCR battles and we couldn’t share/swap movies with each other. How many times did those machines eat your movie and ruin the tape? We experienced the same with 8 track and 4 track players, and today when you talk about it, kids look at you like you grew up with dinosaurs for pets.

    Along that same vein, in a recent garage sale, we had three of the big clunky and very heavy TVs that still worked great. We priced them at $5 each and needless to say, we still have them. Even for five bucks nobody wants them – they’re next electronic extinction.

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    • You just HAD to bring up TV’s … I’ve still got a BIG 32″ Sony in my bedroom that doesn’t work and will need a fork lift to pick up and get outta there and I’m still using a 25″ Zenith that’s as big as a VW in my office – it still works, and two B&W 12″ and one color 12″ in the garage (none of which work). I also have a 5″ AC/DC portable and a 2″ handheld Casio.- both of which still work. Of course, they’re all analog and wouldn’t work without a converter box anyway. I guess that’s five and I’m sure that I couldn’t get $5 for the bunch.

      I’m just about to hire someone to come to my house and pick up all of the crap that I’ve accumulated but don’t want and take it away (and that’ll include a flatbed scanner, an old computer and an old printer. I guess, in effect, I’m running a graveyard for old and useless junk.

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  3. My father developed and owned the patent on the original technology for the VCR. I can remember helping him work on his project at the kitchen table when I was a little girl. The patent is now in my possession and I came across it the other day while unpacking some boxes. He was, among many things in his life time, an electrical engineer with Raytheon. He filed multiple patents while employed there. He never pursued any kind of patent infringement case or sought compensation on it. I don’t know why, except that such cases are notoriously expensive and drawn out when it’s one man against big corporations. So the VCR holds special nostalgia for me and I do still own one, though I haven’t used it in years.

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    • Wow! That’s a real feather in your dad’s cap, CW. It’s a shame that he didn’t pursue the patents and dinged Sony or JVC for millions. You must be proud even if few know about it. But you’re right, that’s the exact logic that Donald Trump uses to overwhelm a little guy who sues him. Deep pockets will win out over shallow ones almost every time.

      I still have two VCR’s (as I said) and one of them is in my “media” room – in a cabinet along with a reel-to-reel tape deck, a cassette deck, a record player (remember them?) and an equalizer. I guess that makes me an A/V hoarder, right?

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  4. Betcha someone’s gonna startup a pool to see how long before cassette tape players follow the same demise.

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  5. I remember. Made the mistake of telling hubby about this last VCR. He wants to buy one.

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