JVC ends VCR production after 32 years

November 3, 2008

JVC has ceased production of its single remaining VHS player after a successful run of 32 years.

The player, long ago technically obsolete, was made primarily to service older, supplementary collections of video cassettes. JVC said it will continue to offer a few combination players and plans on selling its standalone VCRs until inventory runs out.

The home video revolution began with the introduction of Sony’s Betamax in 1975. A year later, JVC introduced the competing VHS format. For the next decade, the two formats battled for dominance, with VHS eventually emerging as the winner.

For consumers, the most obvious difference between the two formats was the recording length. Standard Betamax tapes lasted 60 minutes, not long enough to record a full length movie. The three-hour VHS tapes were ideal for recording long-form television programs and movies. Sony later adapted the Betamax to longer recording times, but by then it was too late.

Another major factor in VHS’s success was the sale of pornography. Sony would not allow the recording of adult content on its Betamax format, while VHS did. This was a factor said to drive the sale of the VHS format in the United States.

Now, both analog tape formats are obsolete, replaced by digital technology.

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