The End Of The VCR

from the who-needs-it? dept

People spend so much time on new up-and-coming technologies, but not much attention is paid to technologies as they die out. That DVDs caught on at an amazing rate is not news. However, plenty of people are still using VCR machines – even if they can’t figure out how to program the clock. Still, with DVD players being sold at $50, it’s tough to see how the VCR has much of a future. Pioneer has now decided to end production of their VCR products and focus on other areas. Of course, this will annoy those who still have large videotape collections, but over time people will gradually move on to DVDs, writable DVDs and PVR-type solutions.

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Comments on “The End Of The VCR”

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Dave Cotovsky says:

The End of the VCR?

If given a choice, I would rent a video on VHS over DVD any day. I have experienced lots of defective DVD’s from skips to stalling completely and it is a frequent occurrence. On the other hand, this is rare with VHS tapes. You have more control over a tape in terms of fast-forwarding or rewinding. But the big difference is the robust nature of tapes over DVD. Tapes are tough. DVD’s scratch like an old record- this is progress? I cannot detect the supposed superior resolution of DVD on my television which is only a couple years old. It does look sharper if played on computer, but its kind of lonely sitting there watching movies at your desk. VHS is robust technology and should always be an alternative choice at the library and video store. Its worth the price of a rewind.

Joe Baderderm says:

Re: The End of the VCR?

I haven’t been to the video store in years. Instead of renting at the store or NetFlix, we use Con-cast PPV. I was at first annoyed that you couldn’t get all the “cool” extras but I never have time to view them anyway. I was especially happy not to have the DVD copy of “Maid in Manhattan” when my mother-in-law wanted to see it. That movie was just plain and painfully awful. I would have ended up taking the DVD out and breaking it.

paket says:

Re: The End of the VCR?

“I have experienced lots of defective DVD’s from skips to stalling completely and it is a frequent occurrence.”
I have never had this happen to me, even after throwing many DVD’s, CD’s, CD-R’s and CD-RW’s at my player(Pioneer). I’ve never had to bring a DVD back to the rental store because it wouldn’t play – but I have with VHS. Nor have I heard complains of “frequent” failures. Perhaps the problem is with your player?
“…the robust nature of tapes over DVD. Tapes are tough.”
VHS tapes are based on magnetic media, which is fragile. The media in a VHS tape degrades every time you watch it. The spools degrade every time you watch, rewind or fast forward. A DVD has no moving parts to wear out. A VHS tape is way more sensitive to heat, humidity and impact that a DVD. Try leaving a VHS tape and a DVD on the dashboard of your car during a hot sunny day. Take them inside and play them both. You can watch the DVD while you scrape the VHS tape off the play head of your VCR.
It’s true that DVD’s do scratch, but again, you will never have to unjam a DVD player.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The End of the VCR?

If the DVD isn’t too skippy, just clean it up a bit, throw it into your DVD-R/Rom, rip a copy with DVD Shrink (, and burn the copy on a DVD-R. Problem solved (also solves the ?region code? problem). Plus, if you really feel guilty about taking away money from those “hard working” copyright owners, just smash the DVD-R when you take the original back to video store.

Now everybody’s happy!

LittleW0lf says:

Re: not surprising

Try and find a CD burner now made by a company you’ve ever heard of.

AOpen is still selling CD burners for about $30-40. For those unfamiliar with AOpen, they also build CD-Rom, DVD-Rom, and DVD Burners, and are used by a majority of the standard hardware companies. However, some may be more familiar with their old name, Acer (their parent company), which holds a very special place in my heart for those companies with really, really bad products that seem to be sold everywhere, have a 30% failure rate out of the box, and is so much more inexpensive than any other company out there.

Of course, AOpen has gotten better…I’ve only had about a 4% failure rate on AOpen hardware during the first 90 days of usage, which is about par with everyone else. And, yes, I thought the name change from Acer to AOpen (for their consumer hardware products) was a good move.

Liteon and MSI still sell theirs too, and these are well known companies too. And you can still buy Plextor drives if you are interested in paying twice as much for half the capabilities/speed as AOpen, Liteon, and MSI, if you are so inclined.

eeyore says:

Re: Re: not surprising

For those unfamiliar with AOpen

My point exactly. Most people have never heard of that company. Hewlett Packard and Sony and all of the major suppliers got out of the CD burner market and into the DVD burner market. Now the markup on DVD burners is getting slim and soon the major players will lose marketshare to the knockoff brands and bail out of that market too.

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: Re: not surprising

For those unfamiliar with AOpen My point exactly.

And taken completely out of context, wow…

I’ve bought one HP and one Sony device in all my life, partly because they are crap. The HP had far less capabilities and speed for far more of a price than any other burner I’ve purchased. And the Sony only worked well under Windoze (which I try not to use much, even though I have several Windows machines lying around.) So, I can see why both got out of the market quickly, it is called product darwinism. Those that made good, cheap products tend to stick around, while those who don’t either need to evolve or die out.

The only people who buy HP, Sony, or Plextor products either don’t mind or care about spending a lot more for less, or don’t know any better. Next you will tell me that Dell, HP, and Sony all made their own parts (when they sold CD-burners,) and didn’t buy “knockoff” brands from other countries and slap their label of them (as a former computer repair person who worked with the likes of Compaq, Dell, HP, and the like, I can tell you definitively that these companies bought parts from AOpen, Liteon, Toshiba, Teac, etc., and slapped their label on them and marked up the price.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Anyone make B&W TVs?

I can’t remember seeing one of these in the stores for a while (I mean real TVs, and not TV watches and other gizmos). I actually had one sitting around gathering dust so I gave it to my lawn guy, who seemed happy to get it.

My guess we’ll see the same thing happen to tube TVs in my lifetime as ONE DAY, everything will be a flat panel of SOME sort.

Dave Locke says:

The End Of The VCR

“Still, with DVD players being sold at $50, it’s tough to see how the VCR has much of a future.”
Show me where I can get a $50 DVD unit which lets me timeshift, or archive something to tape. Show me a digital recorder, like TIVO, and tell me how I can archive something which is on the unit unless I dub it off to videotape.
Oh, writeable DVDs? Well, now we’re way way way beyond the $50 for a set-top unit, aren’t we. I know where you can get good VCRs for $50, though.

Rick says:

End of the VCR?

Those people who think that VCR’s are relics of the past might change their opinion if they bought a Sharp VC-AH990 6-Head VCR which is sold at Although these VCR’s are somewhat difficult to set up if used with cable TV (the TV picture rolls quite a bit during the initial set up) in the United States and that they require a cable tv box with audio & video outputs, these VCR’s never give (I repeat: “never give”) a bad recording and for some reason or another, they just keep on going and going! These VCR’s are primarily geared for the European & Asian markets but they can certainly be used in the United States. These are exceptionally reliable, faultless machines.

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