Get a Blu-ray/VHS combo player for $139.99
The Panasonic DMP-BD70V doesn't record like your old VCR, but it can play your old tapes. It's also a nicely equipped Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player.
Quick housekeeping note: the Cheapskate is traveling this week (hello, San Antonio!), so posts may be scarce for the next few days.
The VCR has been dead to me for a few years now, but I know plenty of people who still play tapes using that venerable device.
If you're in the market for a Blu-ray player but still want to keep VHS in the picture (pun!), Amazon has the Panasonic DMP-BD70V Blu-ray/VHS player for $139.99 shipped.
I believe this is a deal-of-the-day item, and the discount is pretty huge (it's $299.99 just about everywhere else), so if you want in, act fast.
Combo players like this tend to have bottom-end specs, but check out the Panasonic's goodies: Ethernet, Profile 2.0, and support for YouTube, Amazon Video, and PicasaWeb streaming (but no Netflix--rats).
Also included: an SD slot for viewing photos and a USB port for playing AVCHD video from your HD camcorder.
No, you can't copy Blu-ray movies to VHS tapes. In fact, the DMP-BD70V doesn't record at all--it's strictly a player. (I'm not even sure an analog recorder is viable anymore now that everything's gone to digital. Anyone know for sure?)
But if you have a big library of tapes that you want to keep in rotation for another few years, the DMP-BD70V gives you the option for about the same price as a standalone Blu-ray player with similar specs.
CNET hasn't reviewed this model, but the few dozen user reviews at Amazon are overwhelmingly positive.