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The VHS is Dead

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the long-live-the-VHS dept.

Television 470

Ronnie Coote writes "The UK's largest retailer of electronics is phasing out VHS VCRs. Sales of DVD players have outstripped VCRs by 40-to-1 recently. So how long until the mass market will be saying goodbye to the DVD player?" A few historical links to commemorate the occasion: Sony Kills Betamax, Why VHS Was Better, and How to Preserve VHS Recordings. For the future, maybe we'll have Digital VHS, but I suspect it will mostly be hard drive-based recorders.

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Not true.. (-1, Redundant)

Lostie (772712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904060)

..NetCraft hasn't confirmed it yet.

gnaa fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904064)

gay nigger first post. suck my cock.

Re:gnaa fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904205)

aHAHAHAH yOU fUCKING fAIL iT, GNAA wannabe!

Re:gnaa fp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904307)

Call yourself a NIGGER?? Call yourself GAY??

aHaha, looks like you FAILED the FP, u ladyboy.

Mandatory NETCRAFT (5, Funny)

michael path (94586) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904065)

Something Not So Funny (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904251)

The reality is that the Chinese killed VHS [tibet.org] . The Chinese factories simply churn out so many DVD players that they are no more expensive than a VHS player.

There are other examples of how the Chinese have altered the landscape of history.

Linux is having a tough time in gaining traction in China because piracy is so severe that both Solaris and Windows XP are essentially free. How can Linux compete against them?

Re:Something Not So Funny (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904334)

How can Linux compete against them?

It can quit sucking.

Drama queen (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904335)

There are other examples of how the Chinese have altered the landscape of history.

Somehow I don't think this will be as significant to future historians as the Great Wall or the Cultural Revolution.

Re:Mandatory NETCRAFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904258)

Sorry, -1 offtopic, but I'm kind of new to Slashdot and am wondering what's the deal with the running "Netcraft confirms..." jokes? I know where the "In Soviet Russia..." and "I, for one, welcome our new $overlords..." jokes stem from, but where did the Netcraft stuff originate from?

Re:Mandatory NETCRAFT (2, Insightful)

oostevo (736441) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904321)

This is so going to get me modded down for being off topic ...

It's a common Slashdot troll (post with the intent to annoy), normally reserved for stories about BSD, but it's spread to all stories in the form of "Netcraft has confirmed ... (some random victim) is dying".

See more information at Wikipedia's article [wikipedia.org] .

Re:VHS is dead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904310)

...long live VHS!

Err.. (-1, Offtopic)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904070)

Let me guess... next you'll be telling me that cassette tapes are dead too, right?

Chinese, not DVD, killed VHS. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904187)

The reality is that the Chinese killed VHS [tibet.org] . The Chinese factories simply churn out so many DVD players that they are no more expensive than a VHS player.

There are other examples of how the Chinese have altered the landscape of history.

Linux is having a tough time in gaining traction in China because piracy is so severe that both Solaris and Windows XP are essentially free. How can Linux compete against them?

Please.. (4, Funny)

russint (793669) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904076)

Please, spare us the netcraft jokes.

Re:Please.. (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904184)

russint (793669) writes:
> Please, spare us the netcraft jokes.

Russint confirms... Netcraft jokes are dead.

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Netcraft joke community when Slashdotter russint confirmed that Netcraft joke market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all Slashdot posts...

sad (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904082)

Digital killed the video star...

Netcraft confirmed? (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904083)

Actually I agree, haven't used VHS in over 2 years.

Wish it was Windows is Dead (-1, Offtopic)

totallygeek (263191) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904094)

Linux outinstalled Windows 40 to 1.

Re:Wish it was Windows is Dead (0, Offtopic)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904154)

Try to imagine yourself in a customer support call center for Dell or HP or Gateway... and 2500 old ladies called you all at once to tell you that their new Linux internet machine thingy isn't connecting to the interweb thingy anymore. Oh, and they want their icons back. When you're done freaking out and the twitching has subsided, feel free to reply to this post.

Still for sale though (1, Interesting)

Heem (448667) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904096)

It amazes me though that all the big retailers are still selling and having sales on VCRs.. I mean.. who still has a VCR? Even if you do have one.. why would you bother buying a new one?

Re:Still for sale though (2, Funny)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904116)

Ummmmmmmmmm.....because you have a lot of video tapes that you don't have the time or inclination to convert them into another format?

Re:Still for sale though (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904123)

casue some peopel have hundreds of tapes, and it's kind of costly to replace them all in one go.Plus not all of them will be replacable.

Still for sale though-Good enough. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904273)

I'm not certain why you got a funny for telling the truth.

I have over a 100 VHS tapes going back over a decade. Quite a lot of it irreplaceable.

I have (some) of the equipment needed to convert (I need a genlock), and the skill, although time is an issue.

However the majority have none of the above, and VHS is a good example of the "good enough" and "If it aint broke" principles.

Eventually I'll get a DVD recorder (once all the "whatcha gonna call it" settles down), but then there's the issue of "what's good to record on TV?"

Re:Still for sale though (2, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904320)

HAHAHA YEAH THAT'S A KNEESLAPPER. Yeesh, mods on crack again.

Anyway, we recently bought a Pyro A/V Link [adstech.com] analog-to-digital converter. It plugs into the Firewire port on my wife's iMac and appears as a video camera to iMovie. Converting our VHS movies to DVD consists of:

  1. Open iMovie.
  2. Click "Import" and hit "play" on the VCR.
  3. Wait until the import is finished.
  4. Export the project to iDVD.
  5. Click "Burn".
  6. Profit. In this case, that means don't spend more money on the DVD version of a movie we already own than the cost of the blank DVD-R.

The killer app for us is being able to move our kids' movies to a more future-compatible format. As a bonus, we can use the same device to burn content from our DVR without having to mess with its broken Firewire port.

My wife mumbled something about "wedding video", so I guess everybody has their own pet use.

Re:Still for sale though (3, Interesting)

isometrick (817436) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904146)

My old roommate still has like 20-30 VHS tapes full of recorded-off-TV movies that he still likes to watch. (Shhh ... the MPAA's still watching out for those Bill and Ted pirates)

He got his first DVD player in the laptop he bought at the beginning of this semester.

He still watches the VHS.

Re:Still for sale though (1)

deragon (112986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904162)

Because you want to record TV shows and VHS is still much cheaper that any of the newer recording solutions and VHS quality is good enough for TV shows?

Re:Still for sale though (2, Insightful)

Zackbass (457384) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904168)

A great majority of TV watching people both like the familiarity of recording shows on the VCR and are not ready to make the jump to using a PVR. Also, the process of being able to record a show on tape, take it out of the VCR and do whatever with it still hasn't become common enough or cheap enough with newer mediums such as DVD-R for many people to buy into it.

Re:Still for sale though (4, Interesting)

flossie (135232) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904202)

It amazes me though that all the big retailers are still selling and having sales on VCRs.. I mean.. who still has a VCR? Even if you do have one.. why would you bother buying a new one?

I prefer videos to DVD. When I rent a DVD from Blockbuster, I often find that the film just stops when it gets to a damaged part. With rented VHS, the quality may not be quite as good as the best parts of DVD, but it keeps running. I am also not at all amused at the inability of my (Bush) DVD player to skip certain content on the disk. For some reason, it won't let me bypass those ridiculous copyright notices. I have never had that problem with a VCR.

Re:Still for sale though (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904298)

I pass on DVDs and rent VHS as well. It amazes me how scratched and scuffed the DVDs I used to rent were. Don't people know you're not supposed to touch the surface of the disc? The ones I was getting looked like someone put it face down on the sidewalk and slid on it. Never again.

What I'd like to see... (5, Interesting)

temojen (678985) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904302)

Imagine The data capacity and economics (as far as tape costs go) that would be possible with a VHS data backup drive. Right now it's cheaper to buy a new computer and build a RAID-server than to buy a tape drive & rotation tapes for a small-medium business. $1/Tape is a lot better than the $1/GB you pay for tapes now. If the digital tape format & (USB/FireWire?) interface were standardized, there could be some major competition for the drives (instead of the $1200 drives now on the market).

People might actually start making regular backups again.

No it ain't dead. (4, Interesting)

waxmop (195319) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904101)

I've rented so many scratched DVDs that at this point I rent the VHS tape before I rent the DVD.

Re:No it ain't dead. (4, Insightful)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904183)

Not to mention if you have kids...

If I have a tape for my kids in the VCR, I can stop and start it right away, without having to wait for the disc to spin up, sit through advertisements, fast forward to where the video ended last, etc...

Toddlers don't have patience for DVDs.

Re:No it ain't dead. (1)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904305)

Not only that, a videocassette can withstand a toddler playing with it, standing on it, etc. Toddler gets ahold of a DVD for any length of time and usually it won't play any more.

Re:No it ain't dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904349)

Man, if only you were in a position to...teach them patience or something. But nevermind, you're just a parent.

How can you skip intro scenes (1)

yorkpaddy (830859) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904367)

I'm sure there is a gnu/linux player that can do this. Where can I find one. Tell me more about how it is done. How does the DVD industry make it dificult to subvert the forced intros.

Re:No it ain't dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904231)

If i were you i'd just change my video tape library. Good video libraries don't offer scratched DVDs, my dear.

Re:No it ain't dead. (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904272)

I've rented so many scratched DVDs that at this point I rent the VHS tape before I rent the DVD
A machine with a good laser and mechanism can play disks from a hire shop with decent standards, no VCR could play strecthed, creased tape properly... I don't miss those black and white lines crawling down the screen!

Damn it. (0)

Elpacoloco (69306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904102)

Personally, I refuse to use DVDs. They offer too little control for my taste, and frankly, I don't give two hoots if it's digital or analog.

If this makes it hard for me to rent movies, I guess I'll just not see as many movies as before.

Re:Damn it. (4, Insightful)

fireduck (197000) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904139)

I refuse to use DVDs. They offer too little control for my taste

compared to VHS? the only thing you have no control over with a DVD is the intro sequence, where you are often forced to sit through the FBI/Interpol warning and maybe the distributors logo before the main title screen (although some are now including adverts as well). past that, you can just jump the last scene of the movie if you wish, far far faster than possible with a VHS.

Re:Damn it. (1)

Chundra (189402) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904215)

the only thing you have no control over with a DVD is the intro sequence...

Sure you have control over it. Just rip and reauthor.

I mean, go make yourself some delicious popcorn while your friends and family enjoy the pre-movie entertainment.

Re:Damn it. (1)

Sygiinu (226801) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904229)

My old Warfdale 750 lets me fast forward/skip the intro and whatever else I like. It was sightly disappointing when I found I couldn't do that on my new one.

I suppose what I'm getting at here, is that with careful choice you may be able to skip the intros on DVD players too.

Re:Damn it. (1, Redundant)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904269)

until they turn off that feature as well.

Can't get past adverts, trailers, FBI warning.
don't get me wrong, I like DVDs I just want to remind people that the little control you do enjoy can be taken away at the discretion of the MPAA.

Re:Damn it. (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904208)

Ok, I have a dangerous addiction to analog AV but what the heck do you mean "control". You put it in your player and hit "play". It's the same in DVD, VHS, Betamax, 16mm or 1/4" video reel.

DVDs are more tactile, easier to store, survive better than magnetic tape over time and don't require rewinding. They come with more content and can be played in a variety of devices including your computer. If anything they give you more options.

Re:Damn it. (1)

Mant (578427) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904262)

I guess you don't watch VHS either, since that mostly gives you less. OK, you have to go through the intro on some DVDs (with some players), but the best you can do on VHS is fast forward through stuff at the begining, which isn't instant.

Beyond that DVDs give you way more control than VHS does. I don't care about digital or analog as such myself, but I do care about image and sound quality and DVD is so far ahead of VHS it isn't funny.

Actually, VHS wasn't better. (5, Informative)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904106)

Maybe in the early days of the video wars, but Beta turned out to be a far superior format than VHS. The quality was better, less quality was lost when copying, the tapes were a bit smaller, Beta tapes last longer, etc. The reason VHS won was because a Beta would only hold one hour and a VHS would hold two when they were released. Later Beta tapes would hold 5 hours in an extended play format, and they'd lose less quality in the extended format as well. Sucks that VHS had to win.

Re:Actually, VHS wasn't better. (4, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904143)

actually, Sony killed Betamax in the consumer market because they expected everyone to pay them a license just to distribute movies on the tapes.

Uhm (4, Insightful)

Ninjy (828167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904112)

Just because something isn't used as much anymore by the majority of the people as it used to be, doesn't necessarily mean it's dead. A group at college that I'm in was designing a database for some rental place. We purposely included because we were certain that a lot of these places would still actually have tapes. And, after a quick check at a local place called Video Land, I confirmed our thoughts. Sure, it might be phasing out. But that doesn't mean it's dead.

Re:Uhm (1)

PMJ2kx (828679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904193)

That's what I tried to tell my boss about Windows 3.1, but, oh well...

TiVo's the killer (4, Insightful)

BlueThunderArmy (751258) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904121)

Yep, hard drive-based recorders pretty much put the nail in the coffin. Easy to use, better features-TiVo and its ilk removed the last viable argument for keeping the VHS format alive.

I, of course, still have mine around. I already pay enough for TV services without a monthly DVR bill... (grumble, grumble)

Re:TiVo's the killer (1, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904188)

Tivo is 200 bucks + subscription, a VCR can be had for under 20. (Blah blah mail in rebates and other book-cooking scams not taken into account)

TiVo's not even in the same market.

VCRs stopped selling about the same time you saw DVD players for less than 40 bucks.

Hardly anyone ever used a VCR to tape shows, they used them to watch movies. It was always primarily a playback device to most people.

I now have a DVD player to replace the movie-watching functions, and never needed the "record Who's the Boss tonight at 8" feature.

please explain to me (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904230)

how tivo does me one whit of good? since I don't have cable or satalite?
we only watch monies and childrens shows in my house.
How do I get a movie from my library and play it on a TiVo?

George Lucas is behind this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904122)

Greedo shot first. Greedo ALWAYS shot first. You did not see Solo shoot first. It never happened. Never, ever. Not in any version. Remember: Greedo shot first.

Owell (1)

infowar (802583) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904125)

VHS had a good run

Everyone already HAS a VCR!!! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904128)

Why buy a new one?

DVD players are new(ish), so of course they're gonna outstrip VCR's in sales!

DUH!

Not for me. (5, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904132)

Not as long as I have my original, unLucasfuckedup Star Wars tapes.

Not for me-Laser LPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904314)

" Not as long as I have my original, unLucasfuckedup Star Wars tapes."

Laserdiscs.

The UKs largest retailer (-1, Offtopic)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904135)

You mean Harrod's right? Harrod's is a piss ant compared to even some of the mid-sized box stores here in the states.

Best Buy, Circuit City, Walmart, K-Mart, etc, etc, all still stock VCRs.

They aren't completely dead, but of course they're slowly going the way of the LP or 8 Track.

There are still plenty of people with VHS-C based camcorders, and when said camcorder is only 50 bucks compared to a few hundred for the cheapest digital recorder, this will probably continue.

Re:The UKs largest retailer (1)

radish (98371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904217)

Harrod's?? That's one store, in London. How can one store possibly qualify as "The UKs largest retailer"? If you were to RTFA, you'd see it's talking about Dixons, which is the largest electronics chain in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. They pretty much own home electronic retail in Britain. Think of it as Best Buy + Circuit City.

Re:The UKs largest retailer (1)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904235)

You mean Harrod's right? Harrod's is a piss ant compared to even some of the mid-sized box stores here in the states.

No you stupid halfwit - not like Harrods at all. Harrods is one store. Dixons group is the biggest electrical retail chain in the UK.

Why the hell doesn't the US Govt make it compulsory to have a certain IQ before posting?

Re:The UKs largest retailer (1)

DavidpFitz (136265) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904237)

You mean Harrod's right? Harrod's is a piss ant compared to even some of the mid-sized box stores here in the states.
Harrod's is not by any stretch of the imagination the UK's largest retailer. Nor is Dixons (which the article refers to) - they may be the largest consumer electronics retailer though.

Harrod's is probably one of the largest shops in the world. I am sure there are warehouse shops all over which are bigger and Macy's may be too, but Harrods is most certainly the finest. It blows even the best department stores New York has to offer right out of the water.

Re:The UKs largest retailer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904297)

You mean Harrod's right?

No, only tourists shop at Harrods. Dixons is the store.

phasing out (3, Funny)

MyOrangeJulius (823267) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904136)

VHS still has its uses, much like the audio-cassette tape. For instance, when I need a chuck in place of my Taurus' poor brakes, I just tape together three or four. Advantages over wood: -light weight -portability -fun for the family (depending on the tapes' content.)

Betamax gets the last laugh (3, Interesting)

Magickcat (768797) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904138)

The number of scratched DVDs that I get from my video store, I think perhaps VHS was actually better. These DVD movies are just crap with their pausing and skipping. I bought a retail Lord of the Rings - Two Towers, and the quality and pausing on a new disc half way through were so bad, that I'm lkeaning towards thinking that we were better off with magnetic tapes. Perhaps Betamax gets the last laugh - it seems that it was better than DVD too. Add the problems with legal Linux distro DVD players, and I think the consumer has lost out.

Re:Betamax gets the last laugh (4, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904177)

If a new disk is skipping it may well be your player not the media.

Re:Betamax gets the last laugh (2, Informative)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904370)

The number of scratched DVDs that I get from my video store, I think perhaps VHS was actually better. These DVD movies are just crap with their pausing and skipping.

I used to think the same thing, then I got a decent player. Haven't seen a DVD skip since then.

Buy a VCR... Now! (5, Insightful)

nmoog (701216) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904153)

If you've got a half decent video collection, then do your self a favour and buy a top-o-the-line VCR now... and treat it good. You'll never be able to replace ALL the vids in your collection. (And ripping them to 'puter is ok, but you'll find this weird vid at a car boot sale in 2014 and think back to this slashdot story...)

You can still buy a good record player thanks to them bieng the tool of choice for DJs and hardcore classic moosic lovers, but if you want to replace your Betamax, thats harder... I think VCRs are more likely to go the Betamax route, than the record player route.

Re:Buy a VCR... Now! -- Boot sales (1, Interesting)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904280)

I suppose this isn't exactly on topic (read: complete tangent), but you mention a "car boot sale," which I assume means someone selling used junk from the trunk (US vernacular) of their car. Are such boot sales common? I don't recall ever seeing one in Tennessee, though yard sales/garage (carhole) sales are common around here. Is it a UK peculiarity, or maybe just more common in areas more densely populated than TN suburbs?

Re:Buy a VCR... Now! (1)

swb (14022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904311)

but you'll find this weird vid at a car boot sale in 2014

Why would I buy boots for my car? And why would I buy a video from a place that sold car boots?

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'm assuming a "car boot sale" is a retail outlet being operated from the boot/trunk of a car, and that lots of weird, unrelated things are sold, including strange old videos.

No need (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904340)

They'll still be for sale, the high end ones that is. I can stil buy Betamax/Betacam semi-pro and pro units. It'll be a long time before high end ones go away.

If you do want to get one to last though, do get a semi-pro unit. The consumer units are all pretty cheaply made. Spend $300-$500 and you can get one that'll last for 10-20 years, even with quite a bit of use. It'll also produce a much better picture.

Personally, I'd say it's cheaper and better to just convert the movies to another, digital, format. Good thing about digital is it's easy to keep around. When you get a new digital storage medium (new discs, bigger HD, whatever) you just copy the data to it and you're fine. I still have data orignallf rom 5.25" floppies. I don't have a 5.25" drive, and haven't for years, it's just gone through intermediate phases to it's current storage.

Also VHS tapes have physical contact with the heads so each viewing wears them down more and more. Best to get them digital as soon as possible and then not worry about it.

Re:Buy a VCR... Now! (2, Funny)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904351)

What manufacturer/model do you recommend for a quality VCR?

"bieng the tool of choice for DJs..." And what the hell are DJs doing with a VCR?

Not Too Soon (3, Insightful)

ggeezz (100957) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904164)

Remember some people still have large collections of movies in VHS format. I don't think they are going to rush out to re-buy all of these movies on DVD. Also DVD Recorders are starting to gain in popularity, but they are still a lot more expensive than VHS decks. VHS is still the most economical way to record.

Dying yes, but not dead yet.

They're still cost effective. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904165)

Unless you have a big screen TV, the qualit of VHS is noticeable but almot a non-issue when it comes to recording a TV show. Until I got my DVR Lyra I still used a VCR even to record HDTV shows off of sattelite. They are fast easy and most importantly cheap. 40 dollar deck 2 dollar tape, you can catch that show that you want to see after you get back from whatever it is you're running off to. And best of all, NO MONTHLY FEE!

Re:They're still cost effective. (2, Insightful)

emjoi_gently (812227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904246)

I still use my VCR for recording.
It's cheap and it works.
One day it will break down, and then I'll consider recordable DVDs or some Hard disk gadget. But for now it does the job.

But I wouldnt buy a new one.

Biggest plus about VHS -- DRM couldn't touch it (4, Interesting)

IronChefMorimoto (691038) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904169)

I can honestly say that I won't miss VHS. I stopped recording stuff to my VCR almost 2 years ago when TiVOs, recordable DVDs, etc. starting coming out. I've just been too poor to plunk down and pay the lifetime fee for a TiVO or build my own PVR.

However, when I started to craft this reply -- something struck me -- VHS doesn't have DRM that prevents it from recording stuff. Or being passed around with friends. Etc., etc., etc.

Yes, you can't use a VCR to decode a DirecTV signal without a DirecTV receiver, and that might be poor man's DRM. I don't know -- were there ever VCR + sat. receivers?

And popping the write protection tab on a tape isn't so much DRM as "honey, don't you even think about taping that football game over our wedding video."

VHS was mainstream, you could record most anything that you could get a signal into the VCR, and you could pass it around at leisure. There was talk about digital VCRs coming out in the future that would tag copyrighted broadcasts, I think, and would basically introduce VHS DRM, but for the most part, it's been DRM free, right?

Now, we have TiVOs that are getting more and more restrictive or control happy (for the average consumer -- maybe not /. TiVO mavens), DVDs that can't be copied to preserve a copy, and homebuilt PVRs that may become illegal to use to skip commercials or obsolete if content providers start ramping up DRM efforts on the signal level.

I hated using VHS tapes, but they were pretty no-nonsense. Ahhh...the good ol' days. Now I must go back to finding some money to build a PVR, buy a TiVO, pay off my wife when I get an HDTV for the living room, etc.

IronChefMorimoto

whats this? (-1, Redundant)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904174)

no Netcraft Jokes! ;)

As long as I can buy VHS tapes (2, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904180)

It will never be completely dead. I'm planning to stash a couple decks for the future when people want their grandparents old VHS tapes duped to whatever storage medium is popular then.

And about time too (2, Interesting)

e6003 (552415) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904192)

VHS was kind of good for the 1980s - but now it's rather showing its age. If S-VHS (and S-VHS ET, which allows you to record S-VHS standard recordings on decent high-grade VHS tapes) had come earlier to market we might have been a bit better off. It seems that electronic picture enhancement systems from Betamax could have been applied to VHS as well (but weren't [wikipedia.org] ). There is still something very clunky about using cassettes the size of paperback books to record on, when recordable disc technology exists. Even though you can still buy brand-name VCRs (like Sony), they aren't made by Sony any more.

I think this is a mistake... (5, Insightful)

ragingtory (833483) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904198)

The primary use of a VCR is no longer watching videos - but recording things. DVD Recorders are not yet at a price point that makes it affordable for consumers - nor do we have a standard in place for the type of DVD to be recording to. Until DVD recorders reach a price point that is affordable for the average consumers, there will still be considerable demand for VHS to record television. I don't see digital recorders (Tivo, etc) at that point yet either.

VHS is far from dead (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904210)

After all, with all those cryptic DRMs manufacturers shoving through the consumers, and all the frenzy DVD format wars (DVD+-RW/HD-DVD/DVD-A/DVD-RAM/etc.), nobody's gonna abandon the tape recorder anytime soon. Maybe not making or buying new ones, but they are gonna keep replenishing the VHS tapes and fixing old units.

Still use it (4, Interesting)

DarkBlackFox (643814) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904216)

Once in a while, there will be a show on TV I'd like to watch, but am too occupied with other things to pay enough attention. If I know this will happen, I'll pop a trusty old VHS tape into my trusty old VCR, hit record, and forget about it until the end of the show. Later that evening/day/week, I hit rewind, wait a minute or so, and watch what I missed.

I know PVRs are capable of this as well, and yes, I have a computer with an All-in-Wonder 9700 that I use extensively for video capture, but

1) I'm in linux 95% of the time I'm on my computer, and Rage Theater II chips aren't supported yet. (Yes, I can get some decent capture cards supported under linux but at present my VCR just works without tweaking drivers or anything)

2) In Windows, I take a noticeable performance hit capturing video, and if I do anything to put pressure on the CPU, I'll get dropped frames. (When was the last time you got dropped frames on a VCR?)

and 3) I'd have to go through another step in burning the file to DVD/CD to make it portable/archivable. (Just pop the tape out and take it to a friends house right after recording)

While the format of VHS may be phased out in terms of new product releases, the relative quality (with decent quality tapes) and reliability of the machinery has earned a place in my room. I've never had dropped frames, codec/compressor incompatibilities, or my TV lock up while I'm recording with a VCR. Yes, I know I can buy a tivo, but I don't feel like spending that money when I have something that works fine at the moment. I don't plan to buy any new release movies on VHS, but I do occasionally pick up a few blanks in case something comes on I'd like to watch, without buying any new equipment.

But how reliable are HD based recorders? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904228)

I mean what happens if the HD crashes? I will probably end up loosing around 120 Gb of movies. CD burning is a pain as well, as those get scratched. So CDs and DVDs are not really the panacea if you want to store your movies. In some ways VHS and Betamax are still better.

VHS is dead (4, Funny)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904242)

Fans of the VHS video format have been gathering outside the home of VHS for over an hour, forming an impromptu vigil for this fallen hero of home entertainment which was found dead of Degaussclerosis in its home yesterday.

One woman, sobbing, pleaded, "But how will I record American Idol now?"

A memorial service is planned for next week. At the ceremony, the casket containing VHS's earthly remains will be inserted into a slot on the front of a specially constructed burial vault and lowered into the ground.

Still using VHS for recording TV shows... (4, Interesting)

deragon (112986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904250)

I do not have a DVD player. I do not rent much movies. I do however record a lot of TV shows. My old VHS does the job well. Alternative recording devices are still way to expensive for my taste to replace my VHS and VHS offers "good enough" quality for my needs (when I record a TV show, it is for its content, not the quality of the images).

I bet because of the recording needs, VHS will still be with us for a while. Yes, other technologies are comming and gaining market share, but they still have a lot to go (in price) for VHS to disapear from households.

VHS will never be dead.... (0)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904259)

...until the movie "Electric Dreams" is released on DVD.

DVD comment was irrelevant (1)

petersam (754644) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904260)

The original post said "So how long until the mass market will be saying goodbye to the DVD player?"

You can't even start to predict that date until there's actually an agreed upon replacement for the DVD player.
Is it my PVR hooked up to a cable/satellite provider? No - the disk space problem limits its utility for building a useful library.
Is it video on demand? Maybe, but the technology has a ways to go in order to support the portability, sharability and scalability of a DVD library.

...now I'll wait 5 seconds for those more knowledgeable than I to clear this up. :-)

Its been dead for some time (1)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904266)

I remember the last VHS VCR I bought in Seattle in 1996, I got the cheapest model for 119.00

I remember the latest DVD player I bought in San Jose @ Target in 2004, I got the cheapest model for 39.99

The DVD player I got plays VCD DVD MP3 JPG and some other things I dont use it for...

so tell me.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904313)

How many programs have you recorded on your 40 dollar dvd player?

VHS is not dead (2, Interesting)

Eudial (590661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904274)

Here's the deal. I've got this GPU with TV-in, but it doesen't have a TV-tuner. So, what do i do? I hook up my VCR to my puter so i can watch TV on my puter without a TV tuner card. It's cheap and works in Linux.

A run of the mill DVD player doesen't have TV tuning capability, therefore it sucks and is nothing that will replace my VHS and DVD drive on my puter anytime soon.

Re:VHS is not dead (4, Insightful)

Eudial (590661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904319)

Here's the deal. I've got this GPU with TV-in, but it doesen't have a TV-tuner. So, what do i do? I hook up my VCR to my puter so i can watch TV on my puter without a TV tuner card. It's cheap and works in Linux.

A run of the mill DVD player doesen't have TV tuning capability, therefore it sucks and is nothing that will replace my VHS and DVD drive on my puter anytime soon.


Eh, that was a mess. That'll teach me not to post drunk.

What i meant is, why discard your VCR when you can tune TV with it? And when you /do/ want to watch DVD 99% of the computers around have DVD players. With a descent screen it makes a TV completely redudnant!

Then how do I watch my old porn collection? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904276)

[nt]

Then what are people using to record? (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904294)

As popular as Tivo and its ilk are, I really doubt it has risen to majority use for video recording.

I'm a little surprised no-one would be buying a VCR, as they are still handy to record things...

hmm (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904296)

I have actually never owned a vhs system. I dont know anyone who does. Even all of my non techie freinds exclusively use DVDs now.

DVD next? (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904301)

No, I don't think so. CD's are still popular! I mean, how much music can I buy on DVD or anything other than CD?

Darned newfangled VCRs (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904306)

I still use an 8mm projector with a gramophone for the sound.

How to archive VHS tapes? (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904309)

My buddy has a large collection of VHS tapes, and he wants to get them on DVD to preserve them and make the content more accessible. I tried to convince him to go for a file server box with a large hard drive, possibly a RAID array.

How do slashdotters recommend the preservation of tapes?

VHS tape is not dead for me! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904312)

I still use it to record TV shows. I don't have a PVR/DVR due to the high cost. I will retire using VHS tapes is when my VCR breaks to get a PVR/DVR. The VCR is only like 3-4 years old so it has a while.

I still watch pornography on VHS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904329)

VHS is still convenient taping free pornography on late Friday nights!

What I want... (4, Insightful)

Rufus88 (748752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904357)

I want a TiVo/Replay-type device that has no subscription service associated with it. I want to program it the way I program my VCR. No fancy schmancy "Record all occurrences of Seinfeld, and phone home to find out when they occur". Just a simple "Record Wednesdays on Channel 4 at 9:00PM for 1 hour", like a normal VHS VCR. I want recording quality, storage capacity, the ability to pause live TV, and the ability to watch something I recorded earlier while the system is recording something else. And I don't want to build a dedicated PC to do the job. If I can get that, I may even forego the ability to pop out the tape I recorded in the living room VCR and bring it up to the bedroom VCR to watch the rest of the show in bed. Maybe. I'll think about it. Can I get that anywhere? If not, I'm sticking with my VCR.
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