As new formats like DVD, Blu-ray, and now Ultra HD Blu-ray have brought better picture quality, sound, and room for special features, most people have moved away from the VCR. As a result, it’s finally time to say goodbye to the home video progenitor for good.
Funai, the last remaining manufacturer of the VCR, will cease production of the players by the end of the month, according to Japanese newspaper The Nikkei (via Anime News Network). The company is citing a declining market and increasing difficulty in sourcing parts as the reasons behind the decision.
While Funai might not be a household name in the West, it did sell VCRs in North America, under the Sanyo brand name. With the rise in popularity of streaming services like Netflix, the declining market for VCRs might not come as a surprise, but something else might: how well they were still selling. Funai reportedly sold 750,000 VCRs in 2015.
JVC developed the VHS format and began selling the first VCRs in 1976, while Funai began selling its first models in 1983. In the early 1980s, the VHS format and Sony’s Betamax format were competitors, and while Betamax offered better video quality, VHS offered faster rewind and fast-forward times, and eventually became the go-to format for home video. Betamax players were discontinued in 2002.
This was certainly inevitable, especially with DVRs offering an easier take on the VCR’s functionality, but after 40 years, it’s still safe to say the VCR had a good run. If you’re looking for a new machine to play your recorded copy of that one TV show that never made it to DVD, you’ll probably want to buy it soon.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to preserve home movies or other irreplaceable memories stored on VHS, see our guide to converting VHS to DVD, Blu-ray, and other digital formats.