Rewind your memories and just take a moment to realize that the entire era has just ended this summer; the last-known company that was still producing video cassette recorders (also known as VCRs) has officially announced that it has finalized production of the last unit.
That’s right, on July 21 The New York Times pointed to a short announcement published earlier in the Japanese newspaper Nikkei which was essentially a press release by the Funai Corporation, stating that the company took a decision to cease the production of VCRs due to the “difficulty of acquiring parts”.
The New York Times also referenced a statement in which the company said, “We are the last manufacturer (of VCRs) in all of the world.” Further to this, it was stated that only 750,000 VCRs were sold in 2015 worldwide, significantly down from the millions sod every year decades earlier.
It is hard to imagine anyone from generations growing up with streaming technology which brings all the latest movies and television shows straight to TV’s, tablets and smartphones screens, to get a feeling of nostalgia from this news. However, virtually everyone from those in their late-20s and older will almost certainly remember the sight of VHS tapes scattered around the floor adjacent to their televisions, and boxes full of old VHS tapes dumped somewhere in the closet or the basement of their homes. These tapes were extremely popular in 80s and 90s, when VHS was one of the most popular kinds of home entertainment.
People used to record their favorite TV shows and popular movies from premium cable channels so that they could view them again later, which was sometimes a complicated procedure requiring the setting of a timer on the VCR in order to program unit to record at a certain time period. For the first time, people started having the magic feeling of freedom from the TV schedule: you didn’t have to be at home at a certain time to watch something anymore.
In some parts of the world, like mid-80s USSR, very often smuggled VHS tapes carried the valuable information about “Western culture” and “the capitalist way of life” to the younger generations who were planning to rise in rebellion against the isolation imposed by the old Soviet Union.
Many of us have important memories stored in a form of home video footages on VHS tapes: a wedding video, the birth of a child, vacations, proms and other important events. These footages are really important for us – they are like time capsules that conserve the best moments that can be always pulled out and re-lived at any moment.
VHS tapes have now been officially consigned to history – making it a good idea to transfer all the footage stored on them to some more reliable media storage, such as DVDs. Magnetic tape is more sensitive to environmental factors, and therefore the tape (and footage!) may deteriorate and result in data loss. DVDs are more long lasting, so you might consider to use them to make a backup of your precious memories.
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