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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 November, 2004, 13:00 GMT
Will you miss the video cassette recorder?
Boy using video cassette recorder
The UK's biggest electrical retailer Dixons will stop selling the video cassette recorder, marking the beginning of the end for the product.

The demand for VCRs has slumped due to the rapid increase in the popularity of DVD players. They now outsell video recorders by 40 to 1 at Dixons stores.

The video cassette recorder was introduced in 1978 and the product revolutionised home entertainment by allowing people to leave home without missing their favourite programmes.

Will you miss the video cassette recorder?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your comments:

I've got a DVD Recorder and compared to the VCR it is painful to use. When you put a disk in it can take several minutes to format. Then to play it in another DVD player, and compatibility isn't guaranteed, you have to "finalise" disks. This takes another 3 minutes. Yes the picture quality is much better on DVD, but the VCR is much quicker to respond to a new tape, and you always know that a tape from another machine will work. I still use my VCR for some stuff, plus it's way too complicated to explain the DVD Recorder to my wife !!
Karl, London, UK

This is just a sales ploy
S, Bletchley, Bucks
Don't panic yet. This is just a sales ploy in order to increase sales of the more expensive DVD recorders and lower the odds on the amount they have left in the storeroom when people take to the DVD at their own pace. The DVD recorder hasn't even been properly developed yet. The good old VCR will be around for some time to come.
S, Bletchley, Bucks.

I have a DVD player and I wouldn't be without one, but the fact is at the moment, VHS is still the only system to offer portable, rugged and reliable multiple re-recordable media that is 100% compatible with other players of its type, and on which digital copy restriction technology cannot function. For all their admittedly significant quality advantages, DVD recorders still lose out on these fundamental requirements at this moment in time. Besides which, I have not been overly impressed with either DVD media durability or player reliability so far.
Dan, Yateley, UK

Record turntables are still selling 25 years after the supposed demise of the LP record. Although dinosaur technology even when they first came out (magnetic tape dates from the 1930's) VCRs will be around for a bit yet
Jerry Taylor, Newcastle, Tyneside

I've got an investment in VHS and I'm not replacing my tapes any more than I was willing to replace my vinyl when CD was foisted on us.
Phil, UK

Living in the tropics makes the videos mouldy after one rainy season, so the dvd is a much better option... and a lot cheaper.
Sarah-Jane S., Bali, Indonesia.

VHS tapes have a protective shield which closes down to protect the tape. DVDs have a box which gets lost and exposes a fragile silver disc which if so much as a speck of dust should touch its delicate surface, renders the disc unplayable. DVDs constantly skip, whereas a video plays solidly from beginning to end. Tapes are cheap and readily available. DVD discs to record onto are ridiculously expensive. Pre-recorded video tapes are wide and varied - almost unbelievably so, encompassing every genre and age.
Roy, London

How long before young people start wondering what a VCR was like, as they seem to do now with vinyl (which hasn't died a total death by the way). VCR's will be around for years to come.
Jennifer Hynes, Plymouth, UK

When did Dixons earn the right to decide UK policy on the sale of recorders? If they don't wish to stock them, they have a right to do so but other retailers may decide to carry on selling them.
Brian Day, Bradford, England

About time too
Martin, UK
About time too! Out with the old, in with the new(-ish). Before anyone gets themselves into a paddy about having old VHS they want to keep, they should bear in mind that it is much easier and cheaper to transfer video tapes to DVD yourself using a computer than it ever was to transfer Super 8 film on to video. Roll on the next new technology...
Martin, UK

I own a DVD video recorder. It supports up to 6 hours on a disc with picture quality a VCR couldn't dream of. I can play the DVDs on my PC or convert it to my MP3 player or my PDA in minutes. VCR? Obsolete technology as far as I'm concerned.
Jon, Northampton, UK

At least the school teachers will be happy. They could never work the VCR's anyway !!!
John, Toronto, Canada

Miss it - I still haven't worked out how to use it yet!
Pauline Fothergill, Halifax, West Yorkshire

It was cheaper to buy a new model than to repair the original
Kim, Newton-le-Willows, UK
My memories of the VCR when I was a kid were blowing into the slot every time the picture went fuzzy, my dad unscrewing the top to unravel my favourite My Little Pony videos, and frequent trips to the video repair shop only to discover it was cheaper to buy a new model than to repair the original! Not to mention working out how to set the timer! Having said that my latest VCR is a little gem, and I think I would miss it quite a lot!
Kim, Newton-le-Willows, UK

Yes I will miss the video, what about all the videos that we have all spent money on. Being on benefits if I buy a film I take the cheaper option rather than the DVD.
Georgina Harrison, Morecambe

Miss my VHS player? well from what I hear within 3 to 5 years we will asking if we miss the DVD player seeming as they are already saying that the Compact Disk will become obsolete that soon. Keep in mind the CD has been about for many years now as well, from the early 80's. They are talking bout the next generation of movie players being on a MP3 style player which will have movies on tiny little chips with the quality of DVD disks.
Neil Graham, Cardiff, Wales

The VCR will never die, every 7 years there will be a new format each one running for years, DVD is now outdated, blue ray discs can hold up to 25gb off info, so DVD is dead!
Peter Meehan, Preston, Lancashire

I can't fast-forward through the trailers at the start of a DVD
John B, UK
I resist a lot of new technology because it contains so much electronics (that I'm paying for) that prevent me using it how I want. In order to prevent piracy I find myself unable to transfer a video to a DVD for my own consumption. I find I can't fast-forward through the trailers at the start of a DVD and I don't want to sit for five minutes reading the same old garbage about what I'm licensed to do with my DVDs. I have a DVD drive in my computer, so I think what I'll end up doing is to copy DVDs onto a hard disk, cut the adverts and all the junk I don't want to watch and then play what's left through a media player.
John B, UK

Cheapest DVD recorder, 150, discs 4 each, max recording time 6hrs. Cheapest video 40, tape 1.40 max recording time 8hours. What the best value if you just want to watch Eastenders after you're back from the pub ?
Mark Miller, Salford

DVD recorders are becoming more accessible now price wise but they're still quite confusing to choose and use. Hard disk recorders will soon also meet the needs of many. But will all the old video tapes end up in landfills? Ways should be found to recycle them if they're all about to be discarded.
Martin Bucknall, Glasgow, Scotland

I suspect this has more to do with profit margins for Dixons than anything else.
Panos, London UK

I notice Dixons still sell 4:3 TVs. I'm surprised people still buy them!
Joe, Hartlepool UK

Your video collection should be safe for a good few years yet
Peter, UK
People should remember that just because Dixons won't sell you a new VCR, doesn't mean you can't use your existing one! Your video collection should be safe for a good few years yet.
Peter, UK

I still have my VCR for one reason, to be able to play movies that I bought before I got a DVD player 5 years ago. These days I watch all new movies on DVD and if I ever want to record something I use Sky+.
Christine, UK

Imagine the dilemma in households deciding whether to consign video-tapes of baby's 1st steps and Gran's last holiday to the wheelie-bin!
Calum Steen, UK

We still tape programmes we want to watch at a more convenient time
Jennifer, Netherlands, ex UK
We have two VCRs in use at the moment as well as our DVD player. Both are probably used more than the DVD player simply because with our busy lifestyle we still tape programmes we want to watch at a more convenient time, something we can't do with a DVD for the same price yet. However, if one or both break down at least my husband could finally be persuaded to get rid of his 1000 plus collection of videos he never watches anymore!
Jennifer, Netherlands, ex UK

I suppose the boxes of old decaying VHS tapes will join my boxes of even older decaying Betamax tapes which I can't bring myself to throw out. At least with DVD, when that eventually gets superseded, I won't need such big boxes.
Simon Mallett, Maidstone, UK

It may be worth buying a spare player now, while you can. Otherwise, how will you play your existing films when your current player conks out?
James Murphy, Dorset, UK

At least with a VHS you could fast forward through the ads on rental videos - my DVD player stops me doing this!
Dan, VHS

They and their tapes took up too much space
Mags, Newbury, UK
No, they and their tapes took up too much space in today's cramped houses. All that fast forwarding through adverts and waiting as well...no thank you.
Mags, Newbury, UK

Good news for those of us still with video players. We'll have quality videos and rock bottom prices!
Ed, London

I know we can't stop progress, but I still prefer the video cassette recorders compared with the DVD players, as I have found that DVDs scratch very easily, making it impossible to play. Until they come up with a scratch resistant disc, I still think the video is more hardwearing.
Denise Morris, Blackwood, S. Wales

I won't miss the VCR as it is too big, chews up tapes and gives a fuzzy picture. My DVD player is compact and shows a good quality picture.
James D, Birmingham, UK

Since we only moved from a top loading VCR to a front loading version four years ago, I can't see us moving to one of those new fangled DVD things for a few years yet!
Ian, UK

I won't miss the most unreliable piece of equipment ever invented
Les, Morpeth, England

I won't miss the most unreliable piece of equipment ever invented. But I won't waste money on a DVD either. When my videos pack up I will buy a mini hard drive recorder.
Les, Morpeth, England

Isn't this just a publicity stunt by Dixons, who are losing out to supermarkets in VCR & DVD sales?
Tim Joyce, Wirral, UK

I knew the days of the VCR were numbered when I found Video Tapes of X files on sale for 10 a season. The only thing that was stopping the VCR demise was the price of the DVDs. DVD recorders are now 1/2 the price of a VCR recorder was ten years ago. What I want to see now come onto the market is a twin VCR/DVD recorder so I can transfer my Video Tapes to DVDs effortlessly.
Gary Russell, Peterborough, England

Until the manufactures sort out, and stick to one standard, I for one will stick with the VHS, flawed that it is at least the standard was universal!.
Ian Carter, Ware, UK

No, 'cause there's now't on telly worth recording nowadays!
Colin Harrison, England

The future for me is the hard disk based PVR with electronic program guide so ably implemented in the TIVO recorder. Truly a life changing product, it's a pity it hasn't really caught on. I just don't see the attraction of recording to a DVD when my Tivo can hold 180 hours of programming. I cannot remember the last time I watched "live" TV.
Mark Norton, London

I won't miss them because I have three and they'll keep me going for many years. Who cares if the quality of recording isn't as good as a DVD - the quality of TV programs today is so poor you wouldn't notice anyway. DVD and solid state recorders are too expensive for only recording a couple of hours a week so you'll not get me buying one for a long time - if ever.
Brian, Edinburgh

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that DVD players are actually cheaper than VCR players now? Since my VCR player blew up a few months ago I have been hard pressed to find one under 60 however you can buy DVD players for as little as 20 in some supermarkets.
Natalie, Manchester, UK

VCR or DVD?? There is no comparison in my view...Instant scene selection, interactive menus, excellent sound and vision all with added extras...The video has had it I'm afraid....
Chris Simpson, Braintree, Essex UK

I will miss the VCR as much as I miss my record player
Tom, Burton, UK

I will miss the VCR as much as I miss my record player, not a lot. But it won't make the Young Ones episode with the 'Have we got a video' sketch any less funny.
Tom, Burton, UK

Simply a PR stunt I fear, to counteract falling profits for the Dixons chain.
James, UK

They are not comparing like with like - a VCR records a DVD player doesn't!
John, UK

Yeah I'll miss it - it has served us well. I just hope that DVD prices come down soon to match what we pay for videos today.
Joe, Newbury, UK

The quality could not keep up with the digital age
Mike, Ipswich, UK
I remember my school buying a VCR in the 70s - I was absolutely fascinated that you could record TV programs. Sadly though the quality could not keep up with the digital age and the coming of satellite boxes with internal hard disks and recordable DVD machines make the quality of the VCR playback look terrible - not to mention trying to find stuff was a nightmare with rewinds and fast forwards. I do however wonder what will replace the DVD and when?
Mike, Ipswich, UK

With my collection of VHS videos now totalling over 8,000, this was the news that I had dreaded but had also been waiting for! I can't see them going completely until the analogue TV signal gets switched off in 6-8 years time. I do look forward to a burgeoning sales market on e-Bay and the like though...anyone after the odd 4-hours video tape?!
Tony, London, UK

Anybody who has already switched to Digital Recording will know the advantages. Although I see the trend going more in the direction of "Media Centres" rather than just DVD recorders. I have all more Music, Photos, Films, Digital TV, Internet and Internet phone services operating from a single computer. Now that's integration!
Nik, Sheffield

Alas, with no VCR, the price of DVD's can only go up!
Evan, Edinburgh

You mean VCRs still exist? I gave up mine for a Tivo ages ago!
Tony, UK

Tape rewinding, fuzzy pictures, degradation, snapping
Tim, London
What is there to miss from a VCR? Tape rewinding, fuzzy pictures, degradation, snapping? VHS was a ghastly standard vs. Beta and V2000. VHS was a triumph of marketing/product placement over technology and engineering, "just good enough" and sold to the ignorant just as Windows is today.
Tim, London

Absolutely not. Although being able to record television was a revelation at the time, it soon became apparent that the quality was dreadful. Quite apart from the dodgy playback and massive clunky cassettes, the worst thing about VHS is the extent to which the tapes degrade over time, pre-recorded tapes sometimes being rendered unwatchable after a couple of years. Get your treasured wedding video transferred to a DVD (or three to be sure) before it's too late.
Pablo, Leicester

Having experienced many frustrating times where the tape of my favourite show has been chewed to pieces or indeed did not record the correct channel on the correct day at the correct time, I will not miss VCRs one little bit. I'm just surprised it lasted so long.
Jacks, Oxford, UK

Absolutely not! I've had mine for 10 years and still don't know how to work it!
Andrew, Halifax UK

Absolutely not. I've replaced my clunky VCR ages ago with a small whirring PC that sits behind the television. It records everything I tell it to, at the touch of a button. No messing about with tapes for me any more.
James, Hertfordshire

Recordable DVD players are still too expensive for many
Jenni, UK
Since I own 150+ pre-recorded videos, I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. I couldn't hope to replace my collection with DVDs which cost far more than VHS tapes and some of my collection is old TV shows not available on DVD. Recordable DVD players are still too expensive for many, so for recording and viewing many of us still need our video machines. I think this move is a bit premature.
Jenni, UK

Experiences of VHS - incomprehensible user manuals, absurdly complicated operating procedures (even when one has worked out what the manual is saying), diabolical video quality (I've worked with broadcast-quality tape, so I know how sharp videotape can be). VHS was a cheap and nasty system even for the time when it was introduced.
Paul F, London, UK

The VCR won't fall into disuse in homes until DVD recorders become more affordable and more networkable. I went to buy a DVD recorder as a replacement for a VCR last week, but opted to buy a new VCR after learning that the signal from a DVD recorder does not use RF and cannot yet be transmitted housewide. You've either got to buy multiple DVD players (or TV/DVD combos) or restrict your watching to one room.
Alan Fraser, Macclesfield UK

I hope the technology will remain available to allow access to what are important archives
David Anderson, West Yorkshire
The VCR let us store the films and programmes we really liked. One friend has a collection of several hundred tapes, and I hope the technology will remain available to allow access to what are important archives. The DVD is an altogether better quality, more durable product. But the VCR gave us that all-important opportunity to preserve the programmes we really loved.
David Anderson, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

People have built up extensive collections of both pre-recorded and home recorded videos. It seems likely that there will be a demand for VCR players for some time to come. You can still buy turntables to play records on, so why shouldn't VCR players (if not recorders) be around for the foreseeable future?
PJ, W. Yorks, UK

There's no point buying a DVD recorder until they are available with inbuilt digital tuners and there is only one such model on the market at the moment.
Michael, York, UK

I wonder if video will be like the LP - written off only to emerge and still hang around for longer than anyone expected
John, Surrey, UK
I won't miss the lack of quality that comes with video - but I will miss the fact that it is still probably more convenient for basic recording and playback of a wide range of materials than DVD. I wonder if video will be like the LP - written off only to emerge and still hang around for longer than anyone expected.
John, Surrey, UK

This sadly was inevitable, I could see this coming from the distance. Although its an end of an era we should all look forward to DVD age. The DVD's are brilliant idea and films/music/games are now all fast arriving in DVD's.
Kashif Akhtar, Dudley, UK

Nope. There really isn't much worth taping on TV any more. Once you've seen one reality TV program, you've seen them all.
Mark, Exeter, UK

I will miss a product that is better value for money than the one that caused its demise
Ed Karten, London
I have videos that I bought 10 years ago that are still in very good condition. I have DVD's that I bought less than a year a go that are unwatchable. Of course I will miss a product that is better value for money than the one that caused its demise.
Ed Karten, London, England

I guess I'd better stock up on them when they're having their clearout sale. There will be a place in the home for a VCR for the next 20 years - not everything is out on DVD yet. Some things never will be.
Richard, Sheffield, UK




SEE ALSO:
Death of video recorder in sight
22 Nov 04 |  Business
Weighing up TV's digital future
24 Feb 04 |  TV and Radio
Dads can't keep up with techno-sons
14 Aug 03 |  Technology



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