Alas, VCR, We Hardly Knew Ye
The butt of endless "flashing 12:00" jokes, and cruelly forced to play more than a few porno tapes, the VCR has finally succumbed to natural causes. It was 33-years-old. That's about 247 in technology years. In any case, rest in peace, old friend.
Yes, you have one on your shelf and I do too. For many years, it ruled. In its youth, it was the mighty VHS VCR that knocked off Betamax, barely breaking a sweat. It went on to ship an estimated 900 million units, with 50 million of them churned out of JVC factories. Now, like the last Model T, the VCR has left the assembly line.
JVC was the last premiere company to manufacture standalone VCRs and now they have pulled the plug on that venerable product. There are probably a few no-name VCR manufacturers still out there, and there's always eBay, but does that really count?
Still, the VCR will live on — in a mutated lifeform. Several companies, including JVC, will continue to manufacture combo units such as a 2-in-1 DVD/VHS or 3-in-1 HDD/DVD/VHS. And I'm sure that some factory somewhere will continue to crank out VHS cassettes as well.
Will the VCR eventually have nostalgia appeal and a useful afterlife like the turntable, or will it just go away? I fear the latter. But that does not detract from a long and useful life. In my heart, the VCR will flash 12:00 forever. —Ken C. Pohlmann