Goodbye VHS – World’s Last VHS Manufacturer Shuts Its Doors
To most people, the VHS is a product of a bygone era, which is why it surprised so many people to learn that in 2016 there was still a company manufacturing VHS players. Like all outdated machinery, the VHS’s time on Earth eventually had to end, and in July 2016 Japan’s Funai Electric, which claims to be the world’s last VHS manufacturer, announced that it was making its last machine.
The King Is Dead – How VHS Ruled the Home Video Market
VHS may be a relic in the 21st century, but just a few decades ago it was the king of the home video market. Introduced in 1977, the VHS was in direct competition with the Betamax format, which had debuted two years earlier. By 1987, however, the fight was effectively over: VHS controlled 90% of the VCR market, and the Betamax was reduced to an also-ran.
The reason for VHS’s dominance? VHS embraced the porn industry, releasing many X-rated films to the home video market, whereas Betamax’s parent company, Sony, specifically forbid the adult entertainment industry from releasing anything on its video format. Rather than buying two different machines, many consumers elected to buy VHS machines that let them play all the movies they wanted, even the dirty ones.
For three decades, VHS was the undisputed leader of the home video market. All that began to change with the introduction of DVDs, which featured crisp digital quality video, chapter selection, and loads of extra features. As DVDs were followed by Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, and eventually streaming video, the VHS format inevitably faded into history, but not without hanging on well into the 21st century.