Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Media Movies

Reports of VHS's Death Highly Exaggerated 624

aicrules writes "What does it take to ensure that a technology choice will remain relevant and available to the general public? Well, being sold by Wal-Mart is certainly pretty high on that list. According to a CNN/Money article, Wal-Mart Stores will continue to sell VHS tapes for as long as its customers want them. With Best Buy, Circuit City, and Target all dropping sales of the VHS medium, how long can VHS hold out? What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Reports of VHS's Death Highly Exaggerated

Comments Filter:
  • VCR vs DVD Player (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fembots ( 753724 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:54PM (#12817294) Homepage
    There's a poll in the article asking " Are you planning to replace your VCR with a DVD player? [cnn.com] "

    I guess that sums up why VCR and VHS tapes are still selling, because while DVD players are pretty advanced and cheap right now, DVD recorders are still expensive to most households, and what are consumers going to do with their precious VHS tapes?

    What is required is a VHS+DVD recorder with easy to use interface to transfer VHS to DVD, that'll be the first step to move consumers away from VHS.

    I'm moving all my CDs to DVDs. It's pretty easy to do that with a software, and let's not forget that my DVD writer is also capable of reading old CDs, that's why I didn't think so much while buying a DVD writer.

    I suppose if technology moves too quickly without sufficient transitional period, older technology might get a chance to stay longer.
    • My dad just bought one that offers one touch dubbing VHS & DVD+R/RW, in addition to being able to record directly to either.. I think he paid $200.
      • Re:VCR vs DVD Player (Score:3, Informative)

        by debest ( 471937 )
        My dad just bought one that offers one touch dubbing VHS & DVD+R/RW, in addition to being able to record directly to either.. I think he paid $200.

        Betcha Macrovision prevents any copying of your purchased movies in either direction. On any hardware I've seen, this dubbing only works for unprotected tapes or DVDs (meaning home videos or recorded from TV).
      • Yes, and that would be expensive to a good chunk of humanity.


    • Re:VCR vs DVD Player (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fizzl ( 209397 )
      And some, minority I must add, are happy to use their existing technology as long as it works.
      You know, there are _A_LOT_ of people who actually have to save up for such purchases as new media players, computers and other not-so-critical-for-livelyhood appliances.
      There's no reason to eat less for 6 months to buy a recording DVD-player, if the VHS still can do the timeshift required to see a show you wanna see.
      And now contemplating on the minority... Is the real situation so that infact majority of our "firs
      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        Is the real situation so that infact majority of our "first world" countries citizens can throw away the cost of a DVD player any time they want?

        No, people just *think* they can. Wait until a credit crunch hits... much of the first world (especially US of Americans) will be broke. We're watching the beginnings of it now... it's exciting! Once this real estate bubble pops, everybody with those handy-dandy interest-only mortgages will be *fucked*. Then, because of massive mortgage defaults, credit will
    • Is giving up on iclod city the same as deciding that it's a shit game?
  • Blanks? (Score:5, Informative)

    by XanC ( 644172 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:54PM (#12817298)
    The article doesn't make clear whether we're talking about movies on VHS or the actual blank VHS tapes.

    The advantages of the blanks should be clear enough... It's still not cheap/easy for most folks to record TV any other way.

  • Why? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:55PM (#12817301) Homepage
    What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?

    It looks nice in the back of their horse-drawn buggy?
  • by R.D.Olivaw ( 826349 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:55PM (#12817307)
    If it remains profitable to sell it then I don't see why it will disappear. Some shops might find out that the demand is not worth stocking VHS but on the other hand some stores might come up that only cater for the VHS clients. Somehow a la Vinyl. If the demand persists.
  • by DaveJay ( 133437 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:55PM (#12817309)
    1: My wife is pregnant with twins, and as much as I'd like to get a DVD of the ultrasounds, they spend their money on staying abreast with the latest childcare technologies, just like they should. So I need VHS to take those ultrasounds home with me (just did this today, in fact);

    2: My grandparents (in their late 80s) were very reluctant to accept VCR technology; moving them to DVD will be impossible. And we want them to see the ultrasounds. ;)
  • Cause... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tanlis ( 304135 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:56PM (#12817311)
    saying my dvd player is always flashing 12:00 just doesn't sound right.
  • by Luminous ( 192747 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:56PM (#12817314) Journal
    For myself and a dozen million other people, VHS is still the cheapest easiest way to record TV programs. Yeah, yeah, I'm behind the tech curve because I don't TIVO or digitally record tv. I don't get tv via bit torrents and honestly, I just can't bring myself to spend the money or the time learning all of that. VCR. Put in Tape. Hit Record. Done.
    • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:15PM (#12817577)
      I just can't bring myself to spend the money or the time learning all of that. VCR. Put in Tape. Hit Record. Done.

      More accurate version:

      VCR: Find show in guide. Enter show time information into user interface that has not been improved since mammoths roamed the Earth. Look for blank tape. Stare at tape and wonder what was on it. Put in tape. Hit record. Hope scheduled time for show does not change if it's a recurring recording for a series.

      Tivo. Find show in guide. Hit record. Done.

      • But it gets more complex if you want to share the show with friends / family / etc. With VHS, you simply lend out the tape, which is already prepared, with a high degree of confidence that the lendee owns and understands how to operate the playback equipment. I know people who are perfectly comfortable using a VCR, but who get flummoxed by DVD players.
    • just because somebody out there with a tin desk and a red tie thinks I should replace everything I own with whatever they decided to sell this year... is not a reason to do so.

      there are two reasons that we still have vinyl records, analog tape, VHS, boring passenger cars, bicycles, trains, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

      first, there is plenty of the old technology around, it still works, and folks still use it and like it.

      second, there is not enough money around, folks want to use it in ways that are more importan
  • Reason? Money. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Swamii ( 594522 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:56PM (#12817315) Homepage
    What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?

    We'll always have our VCR because my wife has nearly every Disney movie ever made on VHS (sad, I know). And since we have a VCR, we can get our 5 year old VHS tapes that are often cheaper than DVDs. And honestly, they hold up quite a bit better with a 5 year old than DVDs and CDs do.
    • I had the same concerns. Then we learned about MythTV and started ripping our DVD's over to Myth. Now our kids can pick any movie from the list without danger to our DVD's.

      The original DVD's are placed in our storage room for safe keeping and we get to watch these great movies with little worry.

      Of course there is always the problem where the kids were pulling the power plug on the Myth box. After the third time of being unable to watch watch "Little Mermaid" they decided to stop pulling the plug.


  • That is a fairly content-free sentence. When Wal-Mart decides to stop selling VHS, the press release will read, "our customers have told us they no longer want them".
    When exactly did journalism become merely aggregating press releases?

    • When exactly did journalism become merely aggregating press releases?

      In this case, it was a press release that corrects an earlier (apparently incorrect) news article that had been making the rounds. I'd say that this is one of those cases where the press release takes care of the reporting all by itself.

    • When exactly did journalism become merely aggregating press releases?

      In the US, no later than the early eighties, under the Reagan Adminstration.

      Of course, blogging has brought the whole mess to a new low ....

    • Walmart is an extremely large database company that also has a bunch of real-estate objects with cheap manufacturing-database-interface objects in them and other database joins that occur when marketing database objects walk in the door and start invoking messages on the manufacturing-database0interface objects.

      Their definition of "Customers want stuff" is much different from, say, a mom&pop electronics store, or Weird Stuff Warehouse or HalTed Specialties [].

      Unfortunately, Fry's seems to have stopped

  • 1)They record. DVDs don't, without very expensive hardware.
    2)People have old media they want to play- both store bought and homemade
    3)You already own one. DVD players (especially recorders) cost cash. If you already have a VCR, you don't need to buy anything more. So why switch? While there is a quality difference, its not enough to bother most people. THis is the same reason hidef TV isn't taking off.
  • Two reasons.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mungtor ( 306258 )
    1. It's the easiest way to record something. Not as convenient/intelligent as DVR/Tivo, but damned easy.

    2. It's cheap for both the VCR and the media.

    And, if you have small kids they want to start watching the movie from where it stopped the last time, not from the beginning or the beginning of the DVD chapter.
  • I know a fanatic... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:59PM (#12817354) Homepage Journal
    I know a fanatic who refuses to watch movies on computer screen. He records Divx to VHS tapes and then watches them on TV, from the player.
    Perverted, isn't it?
  • Because it works! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:59PM (#12817355) Homepage
    I got my VHS 6 years ago when I moved out into my first flat. Naturally Iit had to be the cheapest one available. It contains one tape since half a year now and records my daily dose of Trek.

    Easy. Programmed it once never runs out of tape. At the end it just rewinds and starts over. Quality is ok, as I don't need high definition to watch nice scifi stories before bedtime. I won't replace it unless it breaks.

    I really like digital HD-recorders a la Tivo but I don't think my mum would throw away her extensive opera collection on VHS just yet.

    I will replace mine, however, if it dies with a DVR. If, by the time, there is still one out there with a sane DRM policy that is...
    • I got my VHS 6 years ago when I moved in at my parents basement. Naturally it had to be the cheapest one available. It contains one tape since half a year now and records my daily dose of Trek.

      Easy. Programmed it once never runs out of tape. At the end it just rewinds and starts over. Quality is ok, as I don't need high definition to watch nice pron^N^N^N^Nscifi stories before bedtime. I won't replace it unless it breaks.

      I really like digital HD-recorders a la Tivo but I don't think my das would throw awa
    • I really wonder if the opera folks are psychotic about DRM ? Not to diss them and all, but it just seems kinda funny the idea of RIAA or other organizations complaining about the enormous quantities of opera being shared illegally on the internet.
  • by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:59PM (#12817361) Homepage Journal
    What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?

    Pornography, of course.

    • What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?

      Pornography, of course.

      The question was with not to .

  • Reason? (Score:5, Funny)

    by anonicon ( 215837 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:00PM (#12817366)
    "What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?"

    Easy, it gives me warmer, deeper, and groovier playback on my vintage VHS machine, compared to the over-produced, sterile playback of a DVD.

    Say all you want, but I can just see and hear the difference, the resonance, the WARMTH. I just love tubes. ;-)
    • Re:Reason? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cavemanf16 ( 303184 )
      ROFL! While I know this post was meant to be funny, it's funny because it's definitely NOT true! My wife and I after seeing Star Wars 3 in the theater a couple of weeks ago decided to watch the "original" 3 movie series which I had on VHS (the extended version, hadn't watched those tapes much). Before the opening credits were done we couldn't take it anymore and went and bought the full-DVD box set. VHS just looked that bad in comparison to my component video hooked up DVD player. I don't even have that fan
  • Why VHS? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mkettler ( 6309 )
    "What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?""

    You mean besides the obvious? (consumer protest of DVD due to the region coding system.)

    Admittedly VHS winds up having some of the same "features" but at least this is a byproduct of 2 different standards (PAL vs NTSC). It's not an intentionally designed feature like DVD region coding, and it's not as restrictive as DVD region coding is.

  • <obligatory>
    I'm just be worried when I can't be my favorite stuff on Beta [ebay.com] anymore!.
  • by Tuxedo Jack ( 648130 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:00PM (#12817373) Homepage
    VHS is dying.
  • Erik the Viking (Score:2, Interesting)

    Because "Erik the Viking" (or insert your favorite old movie here) is not out on DVD yet.
    • You know, honestly there is just one movie that I love that seems perfect for DVD, but it just isn't happening. Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. It's so beautifully shot. They still release it on a double-VHS set, but no DVD. I just really do not understand... They put out every other horrible film on DVD. But Hamlet... Come on! It was even shot on 70mm.
  • Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.
    Apparently this is not true yet, if you are using VHS! At least Wall-Mart says so.
  • With how easy it is to record on a VCR, it's no surprise that people like them. DVD recorders are more expensive, to my knowledge, lack the "it just works" thing when it comes to recording shows. I think that is why we've seen TiVo become so successful. Once your TiVo can spit out a DVD in a few minutes people might consider ditching their VCR.

    Beyond that, there's a huge installed base of VHS tapes. Why get rid of the player? It doesn't make any sense unless you're a geek who's obsessively ripped all of h

  • by bc90021 ( 43730 ) * <bc90021@@@bc90021...net> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:02PM (#12817396) Homepage
    ...is because Han shoots first like I remember! ;)

  • I bought a box of cereal last week and it came with a DVD player. Okay, that is an exaggeration, but honestly at one point in time, I had 4 dvd players of differing quality (my real one, my Playstation, my computer, and I bought a vcr, the cheapest one came with a built in DVD).

    So who buys VHS movies now a days? Not I. Unless of course I'm at Walgreens and I see a copy of The Wackiest Ship in the Army on sale for $3.99. I guess it is just habit for some and for others, they see no need to buy a DVD pla
  • Why? (Score:2, Funny)

    by flibble-san ( 700028 )
    Because with VHS tapes you can 'Re-record, not fade away'
  • When new release DVDs of a movie are all rented out at Blockbuster, I can always find a copy of the movie I want on VHS. :-)
  • by TomorrowPlusX ( 571956 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:04PM (#12817420)
    What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?

    Well, perhaps some of us don't cream our pants for every new technology. Perhaps some of us don't feel like cable is worth the cost, and therefore devices like Tivo are worthless. Perhaps some of us don't have DVD recorders. Perhaps some of us don't feel like making a "media center".

    Perhaps some of us have VCRs that work, and don't feel like it's money well spent to invest in a something new which isn't useful to us. Perhaps some of us don't really like TV so that we consider it worthwhile to invest in something new when something we have works.

    I really am insulted sometimes when people act as if I'm not doing my patriotic duty when I don't rush out and buy a 42" digital television and cable and tivo and x and y and z. My 20 year old zenith and VHS are good enough for me to watch a rented flick every now and then.

  • by gevmage ( 213603 ) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:05PM (#12817423) Homepage
    For the same reason as devices still cropping up (GPS receivers, for example) that use an extremely old tech, like RS-232.

    It's because you know it works, without having to worry about drivers or anything. You can buy VHS tapes anywhere, and you know they'll work in your VCR, and that you can play them back in any other VCR.

  • "What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?"

    My answer used to be a fear that my favorite movies were going to take years to be released on DVD *cough*starwars*cough*.
    Personally, I still own a few VHS' for two reasons:

    1) The movie isn't available on DVD
    2) I haven't gotten around to purchasing the DVD yet.
  • As someone with four younger brothers, I know why my folks buy VHS rather than DVD: durability. The primary problem with DVDs is the fragility of the medium. An 6-year-old can manage a VHS change fairly proficiently, but, given that dropping a DVD on a hard surface can irreparably damage it, wouldn't likely be allowed near DVDs.

    Additionally, children are not nearly as likely to be very critical of signal quality issues. The parents of said children then would be less likely to purchase DVDs over VHS, given
  • One thing VHS can do that DVD cannot do is remember where in the program you are when you want to take the medium out and move to another room and resume in another player.

    Of course someone will suggest I should be playing things through a wireless TCP/IP network so I can watch it on any computer or appropriately equipped TV anywhere in the house. I'm sure that will eventually happen.

    Of course someone will suggest I should use the fast forward search.

    In the end, I will have all my movies on hard disk, a

  • by SengirV ( 203400 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:07PM (#12817461)
    1. Not everyone has a Tivo, and while people are recording programming on VHS, they are likely to pick up a VHS every now and then particularly becaus of point #2.

    2. PRICE!!!! Have you priced VHS compared to DVDs? It's the same racket as cassettes versus CDs. They are more expensive to produce, like cassettes, but are usually a fraction of the price. Hmmmmm. While the prices of VHS are so much less than DVDs, there will still be a market, especially at discount places like Wal-mart.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:08PM (#12817479) Homepage
    What is the major reason for people still sticking with VHS?

    Let's see. The vast majority of households already have VCR technology.

    There is a huge installed base of players and media.

    It's the only recording technology the average home consumer understands and is willing to invest time in. My mom can record on a VCR. The letter PVR and DVR don't mean anything to her.

    It's only in the last few years that 1.44" floppy drives are no longer included in PCs by default. I personally haven't had data on a floppy in quite some time, I've still recently used 'em for boot disks.

    TV stations have been using video cassette to archive video for as long as we've had them.

    Why does someone always get shocked by the fact that technology which has been massively accepted by the consumer market doesn't suddenly go away overnight just because someone else builds something new??

    Hell, how many people do you know who own manual (or even electric) type-writers.

    Despite what you've read in Wired magazine, a new digital technology doesn't automatically obviate and replace and older, clunkier technology. Sometimes the sheer inertia of that old technology takes a while to get rid of.

    Heck, how many Windows 3.11 or Window 95 boxes are still out there?

  • WHOOOO!! :D
  • I use VHS to backup my computer [].
  • Like Tivo? (Score:4, Funny)

    by m00nun1t ( 588082 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:11PM (#12817518) Homepage
    I've vaguely heard of VHS... isn't it a bit like Tivo?
    • Not really... (Score:3, Informative)

      by cr0sh ( 43134 )
      Unless you are a hacker willing to take the time to do some work, or (possibly?) willing to fork out cash each month...

      With a VCR, I can record as much as I want (for however many tapes I need), and *keep* those recordings - for as long as they will last. Case in point, my wife and I have *every* episode of X-Files recorded - plus every episode of Millenium. Sure, I could buy the DVDs, and the video would be better - but sometimes watching those old commercials can be entertaining by themselves. Plus, I did

  • by scooterh ( 21890 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:11PM (#12817527)
    I want things I buy to last a long time. I am thrilled when I spend $100 on something and it doesn't need to be replaced in a year. There's a reason that earlier generations of American families had more money (well, net worth) than current generations, and while it is a GREAT oversimplification to boil it down to consumer tendencies, it is certainly one of the possible suspects.

    I can't tell you how often I walk into a house and see a 20 year old TV or a 100 year old piece of furniture. I also can't tell you the last I thought to say "Man, that particular digital component was really well made...I shouldn't have to replace that for decades (not "years" or "months").

    Older manufactured equipment was simply made better, and some of us prefer it to spending more of our liquidity on the latest and greatest (which, as stated above, tends to be more poorly made and hence, more quickly replaced).

    If this post sounds a little "that's the way it was in my day, and WE LIKED IT", too bad....it's simply a reflection of my own anecdotal experience and preferences.
  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tpn o - c o .org> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:18PM (#12817609) Homepage
    No lie. With DVD players out that are 30 bucks but don't work reliably out of the box, people will still keep their VHS around and stick to VHS tapes because they are more reliable.

    First hand, mother experience.
  • ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:19PM (#12817620)

    One of the main reasons I prefer to watch movies at home rather than the theater is because of the ads. I don't want to sit thru 15 minutes of ads before I watch a movie. Guess what? I've never bought a VCR tape of a movie that has ads on it. Guess what? I've never tried to fast forward through something at the beginning of a VCR tape and have my player tell me "NO! the maker of this DVD insists that you have to watch an ad first! Just because you bought it does not mean you can skip the ads! Sucker!"

    I record TV shows to DVD and buy shows on DVD that I know don't have ads on them, but for the most part I prefer VCR. I'd rather forgo the convenience of not having to rewind if it means I am not supporting a system that will eventually be used to force me to play more ads in my home. I'm sick to death of all the inane chatter and insipid "buy me and you'll be cool" shit. I'm sure as hell not going to pay for more of it.

    Oh yeah, and VCR tapes, despite being more expensive to manufacture, are cheaper (even if you factor in the cost of a blank DVD for me to encode it on).

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @05:27PM (#12817725) Journal
    1. VHS tapes don't force you to watch an anti-piracy message (or advertising) with the fast-forward button disabled
    2. VHS tapes come with a 'memory' feature that tracks where you last watched them. Watch a movie half way, eject the tape, watch another movie and return to the first one and you can pick up exactly where you left off. The memory automatically follows the video tape so if your VHS player dies in the middle of a movie then when you get another you can still continue from where you left off. (Anyone who's ever accidentally jumped to the next chapter while watching Mulholland Drive on DVD will appreciate this feature.)
  • by drgroove ( 631550 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:08PM (#12818190)
    DVDs are great, unless you have kids. My kids have magically found a way to scratch nearly every DVD I have either owned or rented. CDs too.

    VHS tapes are cheaper, and don't get scratched. A kid has to get past the back-flap on the VHS to get at the tape, which - while not being Fort Knox by any means - seems to (thusfar) have prevented them from damaging any of my VHS tapes.

    The day they invent the scratch-proof DVD is the day I stop buying and renting VHS. Until then, I only rent DVDs when either the VHS is unavailable, or the extra content with the DVD is extremely compelling.
  • by Stonan ( 202408 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:42PM (#12819010) Homepage
    It's the poverty line and the amount of people living under it.

    The movies released to DVD also goto VHS. Plus all the tapes being sold for around $1 coupled with the fact that anyone can buy a player for 50 cents from a pawn shop (just ask if they have any to get rid of. When DVD players became affordable to the lower middle class these pawn shops were stuck with thousands of VHS players)

    True, with VHS you don't get the special behind-the-scenes videos and the bloopers and such but, for 90% of the movies out there the 'special stuff' isn't really that important

    (Sorry if that shocked anyone)
  • Fast Forward (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FuzzyDaddy ( 584528 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @08:37PM (#12819384) Journal
    So I can fast forward through 10 minutes of previews on my kid's videos.

    I just got a car with a DVD player (the only minivan they had, I didn't really want to spring for it). I stuck in a DVD for my kid to watch on the road. Ten minutes of previews, no fast forward...

    Then we stop for gas. Engine off, power off. Engine on - and we're stuck with the SAME previews for 10 minutes - WITH NO FAST FORWARD.

    I can't begin to explain how much this pisses me off.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"