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R.I.P. VHS

pete_c

Guru
R.I.P. VHS     
4 hours ago 22nd of July, 2016
From the section Magazine BBC
 
vhs.gif
 
VHS has come unspooled. It has been taped over. The screen has filled with static, then gone blank.

This month will see the last videocassette recorder (VCR) produced in Japan, according to reports. Once no home was complete without a library of chunky black cassettes and a recording device with a slot you had to keep telling the kids not to insert their toast into.

Home video changed everything. Now you could record TV programmes and watch them again, rather than having to commit them to memory and then play them back in your head. Plus you could rent movies from the video shop and enjoy them at home, instead of having to sit in a cinema alongside other humans who might not appreciate Tom Selleck or Molly Ringwald as much as you did.

In the "format wars" of the 1970s and 80s, Video Home System, as no-one ever called it, handily saw off rival like LaserDisc and BetaMax. Some speculated the pornography industry's preference for VHS made the difference, although this has never been proved. The adverts in which an animated skeleton, channelling Buddy Holly, promised that with Scotch tapes you could "Rerecord, not fade away", surely played their part in winning over hearts and minds.

But there were downsides you had to balance against being able to fast-forward through the adverts for the first time. The tapes would sometimes chew up and the picture quality never quite did justice to that David Lean epic you were watching. The recorders were a nightmare to programme (unless you were under the age of 20, in which case you were generally designated Official Household VCR-Operator) and all too often you would return home to find someone had recorded over that film you were really looking forward to watching with an episode of Knots Landing or Airwolf.

Friends of VHS may have predicted its demise when the DVD was launched in 1995, or indeed when digital video recorders like Tivo and Sky+ came along, and then when the internet and streaming services like iTunes, Netflix and iPlayer meant you didn't have to trudge all the way to the video shop to rent the latest Patrick Swayze or Mel Gibson masterpiece. A vinyl-style hipster VHS revival is not anticipated.

No flowers.
 
Here purchased my first JVC VHS recorder in 1980. Some time afterwards JVC came up with a functional digital VHS audio recorder which I have kept to this day.  It did video but never used it for that.
 
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wkearney99

Senior Member
It's astounding how such significantly pervasive tech like magnetic tape has come and gone.  That and the whole nature of TV programming being on a fixed schedule.  Here one day and gone the next.
 

JonW

Senior Member
wkearney99 said:
It's astounding how such significantly pervasive tech like magnetic tape has come and gone.  That and the whole nature of TV programming being on a fixed schedule.  Here one day and gone the next.
 
Amazingly, magnetic tape is still in high demand in some areas.  I have a friend who is in charge of tape sales for Sony video cameras and demand is as high as ever (for professional cameras).  For whatever reason, some of the reality TV shows and some porn makers will only record on tape.   The tsunami in Japan wiped out their factory and caused a world wide shortage for a while and about a 10-20x price increase in the resale market for tape.
 

pete_c

Guru
Very first VHS recorder purchased didn't have much to do with movies at the time; rather used it for school. 
 
I do recall first movie tape purchased was close to $100.
 
Over the years here went to Sony 8mm cameras.  First 8mm Sony camera was a bit large and 2nd was much smaller.  The larger one had more features or easier to get to features than the smaller one. 
 

RAL

Senior Member
Where it all began...
 
http://ethw.org/First-Hand:My_Ten_Years_at_Ampex_and_the_Development_of_the_Video_Recorder
 
"On April 16, 1956 (a Monday) we demonstrated the Mark lV recorder at an NARTB convention (National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters), today renamed the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters), at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago. On the Saturday before the convention started (April 14) we demonstrated the recorder for about 300 CBS affiliates meeting at the Conrad Hilton Hotel. I recorded (from behind a curtain) the opening speech of Bill Lodge, V.P. of CBS, who described all the activities that CBS had been involved in during the past year and that he had a big surprise to announce. After I rewound the tape and pushed the play button for this group of executives they saw the instantaneous replay of the speech. There were about ten seconds of total silence until they suddenly realized just what they were seeing on the twenty video monitors located around the room. Pandemonium broke out with wild clapping and cheering for five full minutes. This was the first time in history that a large group (outside of Ampex) had ever seen a high quality, instantaneous replay of any event."
 
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