The end of the VHS era

The final truckload of VHS tapes has shipped, signaling the end of the format.

Ding dong, the VCR is dead

I've never been very good at giving up on old technology. I held on to my audio cassettes well into the compact disc era; my old Handspring Visor is still sitting in my desk drawer; and I admit that I still have an old Sony VCR taking up space underneath my TiVo.

And so I had a slightly nostalgic moment when I read this report from the Los Angeles Times that the last major supplier of VHS tapes has shipped its final truckload of the format. I know the VHS tape has been considered dead for years now, but now it is officially the end of an era. Ryan Kugler, the owner of the warehouse, said that he'll end up just giving away the rest of the unused tapes or dumping them into the trash.

The LA Times article goes on to tell a pretty interesting history of the VHS tape, including what it meant for the home entertainment industry and how it was eventually taken over by DVD some time in the mid-2000s. It's a particularly interesting story now, as it appears even DVDs might go the way of the dodo, what with Blu-ray and online downloads gaining in popularity.

So, does this mean I'll give up my VCR? I don't know. There are a lot of cult movies and independent films that never made the transition to DVD, and many of them are still available in independent video rental stores across the country. That said, the format is fragile, and brick-and-mortar video stores are dying a slow death, so maybe I will give it up some day.

What do you make of the end of the VHS? Do you think DVD and Blu-ray will suffer the same fate? I would also be curious to hear what VHS tapes, if any, you might have lying around. (The only VHS tape I have in the house is a copy of the utterly lame Lord of the Rings cartoon.)

 

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