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Variety on the death of the VHS cassette

Variety on the death of the VHS cassette November 14, 2006

Lately, my wife and I have been looking at copying the contents of our VHS tapes to DVD, and whenever I suggest that we should hold on to the old tapes in case we ever need to record anything on them, she looks at me like I’m crazy and says we should just toss them out because they take up too much space. Today, as if to confirm her point, Variety posted a eulogy for the VHS format:

The format had been expected to survive until January, but high-def formats and next-generation vidgame consoles hastened its final decline. . . .

Although it had been ailing, the format’s death became official in this, the video biz’s all-important fourth quarter. Retailers decided to pull the plug, saying there was no longer shelf space.

As a tribute to the late, great VHS, Toys ‘R’ Us will continue to carry a few titles like “Barney,” and some dollar video chains will still handle cassettes for those who cannot deal with the death of the format. . . .

The story says VHS was created 30 years ago, which sounds about right; my father got our first VCR no later than the spring of 1979, a date that I am pretty sure about because that was when we taped a community-channel broadcast of a school choir performance that I took part in towards the end of Grade 3. If memory serves, blank tapes were around $30 back then. How the time flies.

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