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It's offical: The VCR is now dead


You thought the VCR had died some time ago? It has been on life-support for some time.

Japanese electronics maker Funai Electric has announced it will stop production of VHS VCRs by the end of July.

The VHS has been competing with Betamax for 40 years. Sony discontinued production of Betamax cassettes in March of this year.

Wait, time out! VHS? VCR? Betamax? What is this about?

VCR = Video Cassette Recorder

VHS = Video Home System - a cassette format used by a VCR

Betamax = A competing cassette format

VCRs were the precursors the HDDs, CVDs and DVRs.


Many families and libraries have content stored in the VHS format and have converted the tapes to DVD or other digital disks.


Funai began making videotape players in 1983, and videotape recorders in 1985. Funai made 750,000 VHS machines in 2015. In 2000, it made 15 million.


Panasonic withdrew from making VCRs several years ago, making Funai the only remaining manufacturer.

Funai will continue selling VCRs through its subsidiary until inventory runs out and will provide maintenance services as long as it can, the company spokesman said.

Videotapes can still be converted using VHS-DVD recorder-players. But a time may come when all such options also disappear.

Many are shrugging off the VCR's disappearance as inevitable.

"I think only hard-core fans of old machines are going to be using VCRs," said Isao Tokuhashi, author of "My Eyes Tokyo," a book about newsmakers in Japan.

Like most people, Tokuhashi invested hours 10 years ago to transfer video he wanted to keep to DVD, and these days stores video in his iPhone and computer. He no longer owns a TV and hasn't recorded any shows recently, he added. "None of my friends still has one," Tokuhashi said of the VCR.




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