'It's a blurry mess!' -- latest 'Kids React' tackles VCRs, videotapes

Watch children try to figure out how to play a VHS tape in a videocassette recorder in this latest "Kids React" video from The Fine Brothers.

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Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

"We have made better things." Sydney, age 7, says in the video. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

It wasn't so long ago that VHS tapes and VCRs were the technology everyone used for home entertainment. Not only could we finally watch our favorite movies whenever we wanted, but we could also rent stacks of videos from stores like Blockbuster.

Soon enough DVDs and then Blu-ray came along. Now, digital entertainment is the norm, and VCRs are collecting dust in closets around the world. Every once in awhile you come across a pile of old VHS tapes at a yard sale or flea market, but mostly likely they've gone the way of the trashcan.

In the latest "Kids React" video by new-media production duo Benny and Rafi Fine (aka The Fine Brothers), children aged 6 to 12 try to operate an old VCR -- complete with VHS tapes -- on an old TV with entertaining results. After all, many of these kids don't even know what a VHS tape is, let alone a VCR player. In case you've forgotten, VHS stands for Video Home System -- which won out against the Betamax format in the 1980s -- and VCR stands for videocassette recorder.

Past episodes of the "Kids React to Old Technology" series have kids hilariously attempt to figure out a rotary phone, a Walkman cassette player, a vintage Apple computer, an original Nintendo Game Boy and the talking bear toy, Teddy Ruxpin.

When the large and heavy VCR player was presented to the kids, many of them were downright mystified.

"Some thought it played music or was a projector, but some did know what it was but never had used it before," Benny told Crave.

"It's a blurry mess," Lucas, age 7, complains. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

When the kids were told that people often used their VCRs to record their favorite TV shows onto VHS tapes, they thought it was cool but wondered why people didn't just hit the record button on their TV remote control.

Asking the kids to figure out how to use a VCR, when they didn't realize they needed VHS tapes or a TV to play movies seemed rather cruel, but eventually, with a little help from the Fine Brothers, they figured it out.

"There was, however, quite the struggle to put the tape in properly or even how to turn it on," Benny told Crave. "Once they did though, they were not impressed with the quality and were shocked to learn about the concept of going to a video store to rent a movie as well as how tapes would lose quality as you played your favorite movie over and over again."

As the kids watched the VHS movie play, they were clearly unimpressed with the image quality.

"It's really buzzy!" Sydney, age 7, said.

Kids -- and adults -- of today are, of course, pleased that newer technology means they don't have to go through so many steps to watch a TV show or movie.

"Nobody would die if we still had these things today, but it's a lot easier to watch my favorite show just online," Marlhy, age 12, said in the video.