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


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.

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