I remember watching my first Hollywood movie. The VHS read ‘The Lion King’ and as it was slipped into the VCR, by one of my teachers, I could not contain my excitement. As years passed, most of the movies that were put on for me and my classmates was on the VCR and a mere sight at the multiple VHS cassettes and the large box fixed below the television set, spelt the word ‘ENTERTAINMENT’ in bold for us. On one particular day, the teacher shifted from VCR to a CD/DVD player and slipped in a CD/DVD. The movie was enjoyed nevertheless but what we failed to realize is that The Death Of VCR had taken place right before our eyes.
The Death Of VCR
What we considered as a man’s shift from technology to a better and slicker version of the same, turned out to be the death of VCR once and for all. VCR failed to stand a chance before DVD/CD players, who too now have been losing their game due to the birth of online portals. But was VCR bad enough to meet such a fate? No, but just like it has been the trend with technology, VHS failed to stand before what was manufactured next.
Japan’s Funai Electric, announced the final VCR that will be manufactured by them and by completing their task, the death of VCR has become official. Although it has been more than a decade since most of us have seen a VCR, Funai Electric had manufactured the device until only a month back. Funai Electronics had been witnessing a boom in its sale a few decades ago but soon the sales dipped to such an extent that the manufacturers had to give up on this technology.
Not a long time back, VCR was considered as a luxury. The first VCR was developed in 1956 by the American electronics company Ampex. The 5.1 cm wide tape costed US $50,000 and was only owned by the television networks, obviously because of its unaffordable cost.
It took almost a decade for the first home VCR to make its presence felt and the VCR cost as much as $1600. This VCR was expensive no doubt, but what was worth noticing was the VCR could only record in black and white. Another ten years and VCR started making it to the houses of most of the individuals.
Coming to India, VCR’s entry into our country coincided with the introduction of color television sets. But the cost of VCR alone was about 50,000 Rs, an amount that was equivalent to the salary that most of the citizens earned in their entire year. As many Indian companies started to produce VCR in the homeland, the price of VCR was brought down but by less than even half.
The introduction of VCR gave rise to the video library culture and VHS were rented for as much as Rs 250. Those were the days when a family could be seen sitting together to watch all of the rented movies in one go as every extra hour could cost extra amount.
By 1990s the cost of an empty VHS cassette had slashed down to as low as 250 and the amount to rent a movie had come down to an easy 10-30 bucks. But with technology moving in a fast-forward mode, VHS were crushed down by the introduction of CDs and DVDs and VCR was replaced by CD/DVD players. Now the CD/DVD players followed the similar trend of the VCRs but as everyone had expected, technology stopped for none and the better kept coming.
If any of you still own a VCR (or even good VHS tapes) and are bothered about its scrap value, just let time pass and you will soon be sitting on a goldmine. As they say, old is gold.
What, however, is fun to know is, that about 7,50,000 VCRs had been sold in 2015 alone.