Funai Electric, the last Japanese company to manufacture VCRs, is shutting down production after 33 years. The company will make its final video recorder this month, before following the rest of the world in waving goodbye to the humble VHS.
Children today will never know the struggle of having to manually rewind a video after watching it, or having your favourite film slowly deteriorate before your eyes until it became unwatchable. But for all its shortcomings, there was a certain, quaint charm to the clunky VHS, which ruled the home entertainment roost throughout the 1980s up until the introduction of DVD in 1995.
While the format is long past its prime, VCRs and VHS recorders still see regular use in some parts of the world today, including Japan. Until recently, at least: according to Chinese news website Nikkei, sales figures continue to fall, with Funai Electric shipping 750,000 VCR units worldwide in 2015.
While this might seem like a lot for what is essentially a dead format, the company was selling some 15 million units in its heyday, reports the Telegraph. Because of this, as well as a difficultly in acquiring parts, Funai Electric is finally closing up shop.
VHS was launched by JVC the 1970s and famously won the ensuring format war with Betamax – developed by Sony – to become the media of use for the home entertainment industry. VHS tapes began disappearing from shop shelves in the early-mid 2000s in favour of the slimmer, higher-format DVD.