5 things we won't miss about video recorders
It's just been revealed that the world's last VHS video recorder will roll off production lines in Japan later this month.
Its invention in the late 1970s opened up a while new world of viewing opportunities in the late 1970s.
That seems like a very long time ago, with first DVDs and then Tivo and Youtube making that pioneering technology look like it came from the Stone Age.
They were great while they lasted, but here’s five things we won’t miss about VHS.
1. Chewed-up tapes
Nowadays it would take a hard disk crash to wipe out all your data, but in days of video yore, your recordings were more fragile, being committed to a half-inch wide mexal oxide-coated tape being fed between mechanical rollers. Head cleaning tapes didn’t seem to do much good, with ‘tracking’ problems distorting the picture and cause a weirdly warbly sound. And just one kink could cause destroy your wedding video in a disastrous snarl-up.
2. Missed shows
Being able to capture TV programmes forever was science fiction at first, but soon we were beset by first-world problems, such as simply forgetting to record a show, or worse still, a delayed transmission or human error meaning that we ran out of tape - imagine Murder She Wrote stopping dead just before the killer’s revealed.
3. Video Plus
Technology came to our rescue as the video recorder evolved. Newer models could use Video Plus, where a (usually) six-digit code could be used to automatically select the correct programme to record. Assuming, that is, that you had enough tape (see above), or your mother hadn’t unplugged the video to do the hoovering. And the newspaper got the code right (ahem).
4. Video shops
These days we can hit a couple of buttons to watch a film. Back in the day… you’d have to schlep it down Blockbuster or Azad or your local video shop. And woe betide anyone who had forgotten to rewind their previous rental. Fines would be incurred. And late returns would also incur a penalty - after all, video shops were just like libraries (remember them?) but with blaring telly screens and popcorn.
5. Other people
But the most heinous crime anyone could commit in the world of VHS (and Betamax, and V2000) was to use someone else’s video cassette for their own recording. Imagine watching Game of Thrones and 20 seconds into the Red Wedding, up pops Mary Berry going on about soggy bottoms. That’s what us video recorder users had to contend with (except back then it was someone taping Fanny Craddock over The Sweeney).