Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 11 Old 07-25-16, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over


It’s been a nice long ride, but it’s over. Nearly 40 years after JVC brought Video Home System (better known as VHS) to U.S. shores, the last known company making VHS players is officially calling it quits. Several days ago, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported the news, bringing analog lovers to their knees. Betamax, VHS’s chief rival, saw its official demise in 2015, and now the elder King of the Hill, VHS, is taking its own tumble.

Funai Electric has been making VHS players for nearly 33 years, but says that declining sales and limited parts availability fueled the decision to kill the VCR. The company claims to have sold upwards of 15 million units per year, but that number dropped sharply to 750,000 during 2015.

While you may not be familiar with the name Funai Electric, the company has been extremely active in consumer electronics since 1961. They’ve manufactured and sold an amazing array of products to the U.S. market, including transistor radios, reel-to-reel tape, 8-track car stereos, home stereos, cassette players, cordless phones, and TV/VCR combos. They also attempted to bring their own videotape format into the VHS/Betamax fray during 1980. Dubbed CVC (compact video cassette), this small format recorder attracted some attention when Japanese television broadcasters used it to record a television program on Mt. Everest. But, history is history, and CVC is a mere asterisks that most have long forgotten. Funai says that it later applied CVC technology to its VHS manufacturing ambitions, helping to fuel the company’s industry growth. More recently, the company has been selling VCRs under the Sanyo brand in China and North American markets.

The first VHS player (made by JVC) was unveiled in 1976 and cost $1,280. That’s roughly $5,420 in inflation-adjusted dollars. That release stoked a heated battle between the format and Sony’s market-leading Betamax. Sony ultimately lost for several reasons. VHS tapes were able to record for roughly twice as long (allowing consumers to record an entire movie on one tape) and JVC wisely licensed the technology to other electronics manufacturers. Cost and convenience were in VHS’s corner. There’s also internet lore that the industry had a say; VHS manufacturers are said to have accepted pornographic media, while Sony wouldn’t allow that kind of material on their format.

So, we’re now entering an era where tape-based formats in the consumer world are officially gone and higher-quality disc formats have their backs against the wall. According to a recent article in The Independent, certain VHS movies (primarily banned horror movies that never were transferred to DVD and Blu-ray) can be worth up to $2,000. So check your attic and the boxes in your basement, perhaps you’re sitting on a valuable collectable.

Image Credit: Sanyo
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-25-16, 01:13 PM
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Re: Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over

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Betamax, VHS’s chief rival, saw its official demise in 2015, and now the elder King of the Hill, VHS, is taking its own tumble.
I think this is the real story. How did Betamax last so long. Is someone still making HD-DVD players?
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-25-16, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over

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I think this is the real story. How did Betamax last so long. Is someone still making HD-DVD players?
Sony stopped making Betamax players in 2002. If I recall correctly, they had only sold roughly 3,000 units (all in Japan) the year prior....they had sold just south of 20,000,000 units in total. They stopped making tapes last year.

I think the answer on HD-DVD is: no.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-26-16, 10:41 AM
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Re: Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over

Beta was always my favorite for it's slightly superior picture and sound. Of course, those were only fully realized at the fastest recording speed. Even so, I used both VHS and Beta formats almost interchangeably. I do find it odd that the VHS format prevailed, especially in the camcorder arena where portability played a major role. The larger, heavier VHS hardware just didn't make sense to me.

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post #5 of 11 Old 07-26-16, 10:51 AM
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Re: Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over

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Beta was always my favorite for it's slightly superior picture and sound. Of course, those were only fully realized at the fastest recording speed. Even so, I used both VHS and Beta formats almost interchangeably. I do find it odd that the VHS format prevailed, especially in the camcorder arena where portability played a major role. The larger, heavier VHS hardware just didn't make sense to me.
Bata was superior. It was actually used in the TV industry for many many years after VHS was only available in the consumer side.
The reason VHS won was Sony refused to allow other manufacturers to make Bata machines where JVC did so the market share of VHS was much higher. By the time Sony did it was too late.

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post #6 of 11 Old 07-27-16, 07:52 PM
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Re: Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over

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Beta was always my favorite for it's slightly superior picture and sound.
+1

It was more than slight; VHS paled in comparison to beta. That just goes to show you that price rules, not quality. Were that not the case places like McDonalds would never have come into being.

Although I am surprised someone still had an investment in anything VHS-related. Not sure I've used anything like that for about a decade now.

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-28-16, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over

Sanyo has been selling a VHS/DVD combo machine (you can still buy it)... I also wonder if VHS has still been actively used on security systems for businesses? Don't know...
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-28-16, 01:20 PM
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Re: Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over

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I also wonder if VHS has still been actively used on security systems for businesses? Don't know...
Its possible, but only in very few as digital DVR security systems have become very affordable now. We tore out our 10 VHS time lapse security system VCRs 5 years ago.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #9 of 11 Old 07-28-16, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over

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Its possible, but only in very few as digital DVR security systems have become very affordable now. We tore out our 10 VHS time lapse security system VCRs 5 years ago.
Huh... that's interesting. Perhaps its a cheap option used in developing countries??
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-28-16, 01:58 PM
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Re: Last Known Maker of VHS Says It's Over

I guess it could. Costco sells 8channel DVR security systems with cameras for under $1000 now you can get 4 channel ones for under $400

The bigger challenge with VHS is finding blank tapes now.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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