Yep, the VHS stand alone VCR is now dead. They still manufacture combo players with DVD and VHS decks in one box, but the stand alone deck is dead. I can’t say that I’m overly upset about this, but it is kind of sad, from a nostalgic point of view.
I still have my very first VHS deck, a Fisher branded device. It still records and plays back, but the tuner died years ago. I have no idea as the where about of it’s remote, which only contained controls to play, record, pause, stop, rewind and fast forward. You had to actually get up to change channels or control the power. Oh, it only plays and records in the two hour speed now. LP no longer works correctly.
Sales of the machines went from around six million units (in Japan) in 2000 to just under 300,000 in 2007. I imagine the difference is comparable for US sales as well. DVD’s killed the format. Ironic, given the fact the way back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, play back only formats were generally looked down on and Joe Public (not the plumber) said he/she wanted to RECORD. Fast forward to today and most people just want to PLAYBACK, hence the success of DVD.
What’s really interesting is that while JVC is the inventor of VHS, they were never really the best selling brand. RCA is actually the company that brought VHS into the American home and are also responsible for the four hour speed. Panasonic, Goldstar (now LG) and Samsung all outsold JVC.
The fall of VHS was a dramatic one, yet most people hardly noticed. I doubt most people notice this news either.