The death of VHS: VCR players cease production

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

Stack of old VHS and casette tapes

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?

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    COMMENTS

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    Dickb
    6th Sep 2016
    10:30am
    The device advertised on this post which I have only just received by email is already SOLD OUT....see below
    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.
    Antoinelechef
    6th Sep 2016
    11:33am
    VHS was only ever a second rate system which achieved success through clever deals with Hollywood. Betamax was a far superior system which never failed--rather it became THE format for video recording in television studios. Most of the studios I worked in only had one VHS recorder which was used so the people could review content at home. Unfortunately, Sony relied on the quality of their product rather than the content available for rent or purchase.
    particolor
    6th Sep 2016
    9:34pm
    I agree with you ! :-) :-) I still have a Beta in Mint condition on (Ice ) only one problem I've only got about 3 Blank tapes and A Town Like Alice Movie !!:-( I picked it up at a Garage sale still in the box and with book $5 BARGAIN !! :-) :-) I still use My VHS its a good stand by when I run out of Flash Drives . :-) :-)
    Janice
    6th Sep 2016
    4:18pm
    This won't stop you still watching vis tapes will it, if you still have a vis machine.
    Dickb
    6th Sep 2016
    4:29pm
    Nothing stopping anyone watching VHS tapes until the VHS player breaks down and with no parts available to fix it (or economically fix it with labour costs) and the non production of new VHS players, conversion to digital format is the best option.

    Also every time VHS tapes are played, there is risk they will break, stretch or jam rendering them useless. Also as mentioned in the article, the quality continues to deteriorate with time.
    missmarple
    6th Sep 2016
    7:18pm
    I have quite a lot of vhs tapes, taken on a trip to usa / canada also of my late father but before I had the chance to have them converted to dvd's my vcr died does any one know how I can get them converted without costing an arm and leg PLEASE
    Rod63
    6th Sep 2016
    7:37pm
    I'd like to know that too.
    Sadie
    6th Sep 2016
    7:54pm
    MissMarple, Istill transfer VHS tapes to DVD for my friends. I prefer to tape programs first,then if I want to keep them I transfer them to DVD. Easy as! I live in Far North Qld. If you are near me I can do yous for you. You only have to supply the DVD's.
    Sadie
    6th Sep 2016
    7:56pm
    I recently transferred 200 vhs tapes for a friend!
    A. N. Onymous
    6th Sep 2016
    8:40pm
    Using the picture and description at the livingsocial link in the above article, I did a search for "USB 2.0 EasyCAP Video Converter" and another one for "Easycap VHS to USB Converter". I found YouTube results showing how it is used, review sites, and sites where it is sold (e.g. Amazon).

    A search for "VHS to USB Converter" without using the brand name produced some of the Easycap results but also other brands. (The first search result for this was "The Best VHS to DVD Converters of 2016 | Top Ten Reviews" at http://www.toptenreviews.com/computers/peripherals/best-vhs-to-dvd-converters/.

    Or perhaps you'll even find it (or something comparable) at a local electronics store (e.g. Jaycar, which was one of the results from my last, unnamed, search)?
    Incognito
    13th Sep 2016
    1:12am
    You can buy the Easycap on ebay quite cheaply, have been thinking of buying one but not sure how good they are, anyone used one or know of a similar one that does a good easy job?


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