Deep breath now, keep calm…that’s just the cold, merciless, creeping fingers of age catching up to you. The last ever VHS playing VCRs will be manufactured at the end of the month in Japan, soon to become shrouded in myth and hiding within a few obsessive collector’s stashes.
The days of watching crappy, frequently janky cassettes were certainly uprooted by the creation of household disk formats and DVDs, but production of compatible devices has remained, if drastically reduced. Sales have been dropping at incredible rats, quickly overtaken by cheaper and higher quality DVD players. Once an industry that sold around 15 million players a year, fell in 2015, where sales had dropped to a mere 750,000. This information comes from the fine people at Funai Electric, producers of the entertainment cornerstones for over 30 years.
Accessing the parts required to keep up a large scale production of VCRs (and indeed the monetary resources to keep the industry heavy) has become a near impossible task over the years. The home media war may have been seemingly won many years ago, but VHS fought to the last, even after numerous retailers refused to continue to sell the outdated technology in the last 12 years.
This is the nature of consumer demands, old friends are sometimes left behind in the brutal march to get the best version of Army of Darkness into the hands of the free world. A noble task indeed.
So what now? Tech doesn’t exactly vanish into the ether like horrendous fashion tends (thankfully) do, it often lives a glorious rebirth on the behalf of avid collectors and cult like worship of a bunch of old, if beloved, garbage. Vinyl, old game consoles and even vacuum cleaners have returned from the grave in the past, so we will hold on to a confident assumption this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the VCR.