Skip to main content

The only company still making VCRs is about to stop making them

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Say so long to new VCRs.

The last known maker of videocassette recorders – Funai Electric – will stop making them at the end of the month, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei (the link is in Japanese, FYI).

The company says it's ending production mainly because of "difficulty acquiring parts," the New York Times reports.

It's pretty surprising VCRs were still being made at all, ArsTechnica explains. Funai's sales reached a height of 15 million a year at one point, but dropped to 750,000 in 2015 thanks to the popularity of DVDs, Blu-rays and streaming video, reports note.

Thanks, porn! –VCR makers, probably

In the New York Times' detailed history of the VCR (first produced by JVC), the paper says the players became available for home use in the 1960s. But didn't become the top way to watch a film until the late 1980s, when it surpassed Sony's Betamax players.

The Guardian reported the porn industry helped propel the VHS tape (and in turn the VCR) past Betamax. There are rumors about why, with Wired saying it's reportedly because Sony didn't want pornographic content put on Betamax tapes, but JVC didn't mind.

By the 1990s, Fortune says an estimated 95 percent of American homes had a VCR.

Sony kept producing Betamax tapes until earlier this year, but stopped making the recorders in 2002, The Guardian noted.

The DVD player is probably next. Jim Nail, an analyst with Forrester Research told Bloomberg that when Netflix started streaming, "the countdown was on" for the DVD player's demise. He says it'll probably take a several years, though.

VCR nostalgia?

The sound a VCR makes when you eject the tape, or the time you spend waiting for the machine to rewind, probably won't be enough for VCRs to make a resurgence like vinyl and other "vintage technologies."

That's according to the BBC, which spoke with Tania Loeffler, an analyst with IHS Technology. She doesn't think VCRs and VHS tapes will have the same nostalgia as record players, noting "the quality on VHS is not something I think anyone would want to go back to."

But, don't throw away your VCR yet. Fortune says there are still some movies that haven't been released on DVD, including the Beatles documentary "Let It Be" or the John Sayles drama "City of Hope."

If you're in need of a VCR, there are some for sale on Amazon.com.

Next Up

St. Louis County

St. Louis County set to declare state of emergency ahead of peak flood levels

Volunteers are urgently needed for sandbagging efforts in a small community near Voyageurs National Park.

Screen Shot 2022-05-16 at 5.03.30 PM

Brothers Bar & Grill closes in downtown Minneapolis

The Midwest chain closed its St. Cloud location in 2018.

Ken Jeong

Licensed physician Ken Jeong to do standup in MN this September

The licensed physician will take the stage at Treasure Island Resort and Casino on Sept. 30.

Osseo Police Department

Osseo PD says officer did not pursue suspect who caused fatal crash

The crash happened in Brooklyn Park early Sunday morning.

221 Main Street. E. Albert Lea

Suspect arrested after 3 family members stabbed in Albert Lea

The three victims are related, according to police.

wastewater

Evidence that omicron strains BA.4 and BA.5 are in Minnesota

The European CDC has warned of a possible significant summer surge fueled by the omicron subvariants.

driving unsplash - crop

Hastings man charged for driving drunk with 2-year-old in vehicle

Matthew Quade's BAC was almost five times over the legal limit when police pulled him over last week.

police lights

Arrest made after person shot at Hopkins apartment building

Police say this was an isolated incident and that the victim and suspect knew each other.

covid

BA.2.12.1 omicron subvariant quickly becoming dominant in MN

Experts say the subvariant is more transmissible but there is not evidence to suggest it causes more severe disease.

Related

FDA orders Duluth company to stop making claims on dietary supplements

West Duluth Distribution has been ordered by the Food and Drug Administration to stop making claims that its amino acid pills can treat and cure various diseases.