The death of VHS

The last remaining manufacturer of VCR players has now ceased production.

After more than 30 years, Funai Electric has stopped making the products due to declining sales and increasing difficulty to find parts, marking the true end of an era.

Launched in Australia back in 1980, VHS was the king of home media for about a quarter of a century and defeated rival formats, such as Betamax and LaserDisc, without breaking a sweat.

This old Australian advertisement from JVC, inventor of the VHS tape, reminds us just how far technology has come since then.

New digital formats came along with the new millennium and VHS tapes/VCR players – faithful companions to TVs worldwide – began gathering dust. By 2008, movies were no longer being released on VHS as DVD/Bluray sales continued to climb.

In 2016, streaming services such as Netflix, Stan and Presto, are threatening DVD and Bluray sales, but they’ve still got some life left in them.

I still own a few of my favourite films on VHS, although I haven’t had a VHS player for years now. There’s something nostalgic about them that reminds me of weekly trips to the local video store.

If you still have a collection of VHS tapes, some of them might be worth a lot more than you would expect online, particularly if you are a fan of horror films. Certain editions of classic films such as Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre often sell online for prices far exceeding $100.

Saving VHS tapes for the future

If you have any VHS tapes you’d like to save for future generations to watch, you might be wondering how you can convert them to digital formats.

By looking for local businesses that specialise in converting old media into digital formats or DVD, you can expect to pay around $25 for each VHS tape you convert.

However, you can also purchase a device that will enable you to do this in your own home for much less money. This device, available on LivingSocial for $14, plugs into your computer’s USB port and allows you to digitise tapes using your VCR.

Even if you still have a working VCR player you might want to consider digitising your favourite tapes, as their quality will degrade over time.

Do you prefer VHS tapes to modern digital formats, like DVD and Bluray? Do you have any favourite VHS tapes that you’ll keep in your collection?

Written by ryanbo

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