Any child of the ’80s will have fond memories of watching their favorite movies on VHS tapes. You may even remember when VHS and Betamax battled it out to determine the format winner, very much as Blu-ray and HD DVD did years later. While the VCR has been obsolete for many years as far as a format for buying and renting movies with DVDs having replaced the cassette wholesale, VCRs were still being made. That is ending this month.
Japanese VCR manufacturer Funai Electric is the last company in Japan still making the venerable VCR and it has announced that it will cease production of VCRs due to declining sales and increasingly difficult to find parts for manufacturing. Funai actually makes its VCRs in China and then sells them in many countries around the world.
In North America Funai sold VCRs under the Sanyo brand and under other brand names. There will be demand for VCRs in the niche collector realms with many people collecting vintage and rare VHS tapes. “These are movies that feel too cleaned-up on DVD and Blu-ray, as if they were never meant to look that good,” explained one collector. “You can see the mistakes they made and the bad makeup and everything. Watching them on VHS is closer to the old drive-in or grindhouse theater, the way the director intended it to look.”
Moms and dads around the world also have a stash of old home movies on tape and those will need to be played somehow. If your VCR that has been hanging around since the ’90s is having issues, you might want to run out and buy a new VCR since they will soon go the way of the Dodo.