No more VCRs, production stops on last-known production line

VCRs were required to play or record such tapes.

It has been roughly 40 years since the first videocassette recorders (VCRs) hit the consumer market, and while they more or less vanished after the arrival of DVDs in the late 1990s, there were still a few stubborn manufacturers who continued making new VCRs even today. According to Funai, the difficulty in getting parts and declining sales were primary reasons that led to their decision to shut down. The electronics company sold as many as 15 million VCRs per year at its peak. You know, just in case you prefer your movies grainy and low resolution.

In an age of Netflix and YouTube, the humble video cassette recorder may feel like a distant relic.

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As physical media has declined, the interest in VHS as a niche product has increased; some cinephiles collect old video tapes the way music lovers collect old vinyl. Funai actually makes its VCRs in China and then sells them in many countries around the world.

Funai began making VCRs in 1983. It only succeeded over Betamax because it was slightly cheaper and backed by the porn industry. In the intervening years, VHS fought off Sony's Betamax and brought video into everyone's home. Some rare horror movies are still being sold on tape for thousands of dollars.

So if you do still have a hoard of hidden VHS tapes somewhere at home, you'd better be quick to snap up a VCR player before demand gets too high. "Watching them on VHS is closer to the old drive-in or grindhouse theater, the way the director intended it to look".

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