The Japanese company Funai Electric, which claims to be the world’s last VCR manufacturer, says it will end production of the antiquated technology this month.
VCRs were a staple of any home entertainment system for decades, having first been introduced in the 1960s, but not gaining traction until Sony brought lower-priced models to market. Other Japanese manufacturers, including Panasonic, RCA, JVC and Toshiba, were also instrumental in developing the VCR.
A forefather of the DVR, one of the most popular uses of the VCR was programming it to record (or ‘tape’) TV shows you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.
Check out this VCR ad from 1975….
In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that home use of VCRs to record television didn’t constitute a violation of copyright law, paving the way for an explosion of the technology in American homes – just as soon as people figured out how to program it.
Funai started making VCRs in 1983, and at one point was selling 15 million units a year. Now, with parts becoming more and more scarce, they have decided to close down the production line and put an official end to the once-popular device.
So few houses even have VCRs now that many kids, when faced with one, have no idea what it is.
While most everyone has since migrated over to, at the very least, the DVD player, many people still have home movies recorded onto VHS tapes. With the final few nails being driven into the VCR’s coffin, you will need to convert those memories onto a new format.
The best way to make the change is to do it at home with a VHS to DVD converter. All you need is the machine, some blank DVDs and, if you want, cases and labels. Because it’s unclear how long they will be available, you should act fast if you want to convert your VHS tapes to DVDs. CLICK HERE to find all the supplies you need.