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no more video tapes :(

vic user

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Vito Pilieci
The Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's been a good run, but the Video Home System tape has had its day. Manufacturers have decided to stop producing VHS tapes in 2006.

Here's a real blockbuster: The digital revolution is about to kill the video cassette.

After 28 years, manufacturers have decided to stop making the tapes some time in 2006.

Nearly two decades ago, the North American TV room was the battleground for a bitter war between VHS and Betamax. VHS (It stands for Video Home System) won that war but next year, a new king of the TV room will have to be crowned.

As has been seen with the decline of technologies such as vinyl records, cassette tapes, floppy discs and photographic film, digital technologies are muscling in and taking over.

By the end of 2006, companies within the home video industry will phase out VHS technology, leaving only DVDs (formerly digital video discs, but now known as digital versatile discs) as the way in which people can buy or rent a movie.

The announcement detailing the end of the VHS technology was made at an industry trade show in July.

While giving his annual state of the industry address, Crossan Anderson, president of the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) which lobbies on behalf of the home entertainment industry, said "within 12 months or so, or sooner than that, we must expect that new releases will be exclusively digital."

"In my mind, there is no reason to mourn the passing of VHS. A quarter of a century of reliable service for consumers -- a medium that retail entrepreneurs drove to the position of consumer's first choice for watching movies," he told the crowd. "For me, it is a hall-of-fame product worthy of appreciative applause."

Both 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. studios have reportedly announced that they will stop manufacturing VHS copies of their new releases by the end of next year. Movie rental businesses, such as Blockbuster Video, have either already completely replaced their VHS collections with DVD copies, or are overwhelmingly onside with the digital format. Some stores, such as Circuit City and Best Buy in the U.S. have stopped selling VHS movies and many electronics manufacturers are no longer making VCRs.

With DVD players now in more than 80 per cent of Canadian homes, it's no wonder VHS is finally being tossed out.

The turning point for the technology came in 2002, when DVD player sales surpassed VCR sales for the first time.

"I am frankly surprised that it has hung on this long," said Jeff Leiper, director of Canadian market strategies for research firm the Yankee Group.

"They will just stop making (VHS) because no one wants to buy them anymore."

According to figures provided by the VSDA, VHS sales revenues have plummeted over the past five years. In 1999 people spent $5.5 billion U.S. on VHS movies.

In 2004, that figure dropped to $910 million U.S. On the other hand, DVD sales in 1999 were a mere $1.3 billion U.S. Last year, DVD sales topped $15.15 billion U.S.

"It has become very clear that DVD has supplanted VHS," said Brian Newman, executive of National Video Resources, a lobby group for independent film and video, adding that movie companies are having a tough time making a profit on VHS movies.

There are more than 97 million VCRs in homes across North America.

The VHS video medium skyrocketed to popularity after winning two battles in the early 1980's -- the first with Sony Corp.'s Betamax over which video tape technology would become the industry standard, the second was with the entertainment industry which argued the technology should not be allowed because people could breach copyright laws by taping their favourite TV shows.

It became a favourite of consumers because of its ease of use, durability and low cost.

"It has been around for so long for the same reason that audio tape was, it's a very durable format," said Mr. Newman.

"With an audio tape you could throw it on the floor of your car, stomp on it and you could still play it in your car stereo. A VHS is much the same way, unless you leave it on the dash and it melted."

Mr. Newman said some people have refrained from purchasing a DVD player until more recent years, as the movie discs can scratch easily, there have been problems with DVD movies not working on some players and, until 2002, the cost of the units was still high.

He said in recent years, all of those problems have been addressed. But, the biggest reason people are switching to DVDs is because of the picture quality the digital disc offers.

"VHS is not the greatest format in the world in terms of picture quality," said Mr. Newman.

Where VHS cassettes often offered a grainy picture and stereo sound, DVDs offer crystal clear picture, Dolby Digital 5.1 or better sound and a slew of bonus features including movie blooper reels, interviews with the cast and behind-the-scenes footage.

"People are willing to pay a premium for it over VHS, for the premium features," said the Yankee Group's Mr. Leiper.

"DVDs can charge a premium of $5, $10 or $15 because of the ease of navigation and the DVD bonus features."

The other factor that is forcing the home entertainment industry to close the door on VHS video cassettes is the emergence of two new video technologies next year.

In 2006, Sony Corp. will release its Blu-ray disc and Toshiba will release its HD DVD movie technologies. The new technologies promise even better picture and sound quality than what is offered on current DVDs.

Movie studios are spending millions to get ready to offer their new release movies on the two new technologies.

However, while fans of the VHS movie may have a tough time finding movies for their VCRs at the local video store, Mr. Newman said the VHS cassette may live on a little longer in universities and libraries where millions have been spent to build VHS movie collections over the past 28 years.

"They are going to be reluctant to spend money to buy the exact same titles in a new format," he said.

"They just don't have the funding of a Blockbuster."


chris
 

carlsson

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It was a while ago I checked whether stores still sell audio cassettes. They do, don't they? I'm sure some smaller manufacturers will continue to manufacture empty VHS tapes for a few years more, as long as there is a reasonable demand for it. As noted in the news text, many people will want to tape their TV programs and other things. Already today, there are recordable DVDs and units with hard disks, but it will take a while until they drop in price so the majority of people are willing to buy it, in particular those who recently bought a simple DVD player.

I wonder what happens with the price on DVD+/-R after VHS tapes are removed. On one hand, the demand should rise, leading to more sales and lower prices, but the industry, politicians (!), record and movie companies may see a golden opportunity to make more money with fewer options on the market. Already now, in many countries there is a special sales tax on recordable media which is meant to cover loss for copied material. People who use a lot of recordable media - for whatever reason - grunt every time these taxes are raised. I don't know if the tax is based on how much amount you can fit or other parameters, but one would assume a DVD-R poses more threat to the entertainment industry than a VHS tape.
 

Terry Yager

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It'll be a while yet before audio cassette tapes disappear completely, because the market for them is much broader than for video tapes, which is kinda vertical. The main market for videotapes is the distribution of Hollywood movies, thru sales, but mostly thru rentals, but when have you ever seen an audiotape for rent? The market for pre-recorded audio tapes has pretty much been taken over by the ready availability of cheap CDs, but there will still be a market for blank tapes for many years to come.

--T
 

NathanAllan

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There was a special charge here in the US, too, for blank cassettes for a while at least. I can still buy a variety of cassettes and videotapes for a lot of different purposes. And as long as the stop-action security VCR is around and stays relatively inexpensive they're gonna stay around. My $0.02. And I use tapes and videos every day still, regardless of my DVD sitting there.

Does anyone know if there's a DVD player that has a TV tuner on it that isn't a DVD/VHS combo??? I have a cheap-o cyberhome. I'm holding off on getting another one because I want one with a TV-tuner.
 

creepingnet

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I won't complain....

I won't complain....

Shoot, I just bought a TOP LOADING VCR at the local thrift for two and a half bananas. They sell tapes for cents......the nice part Is I'll be able to amass a huge VHS collection on the cheap.
 

Terry Yager

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Re: I won't complain....

Re: I won't complain....

Mad-Mike said:
Shoot, I just bought a TOP LOADING VCR at the local thrift for two and a half bananas. They sell tapes for cents......the nice part Is I'll be able to amass a huge VHS collection on the cheap.

They'll go very nicely with your collection of 8-track audiotapes.

--T
 

carlsson

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NathanAllan said:
Does anyone know if there's a DVD player that has a TV tuner on it that isn't a DVD/VHS combo???
Hmm. Those recordable DVDs and with hard disk, doesn't they have a tuner and a timer? I always assumed it is how they work. If it is not recordable, I don't know what you want a tuner for. Maybe if someone makes a combined digital TV reciever and DVD player, but it sounds a bit wicked.
 

creepingnet

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Re: I won't complain....

Re: I won't complain....

Terry Yager said:
Mad-Mike said:
Shoot, I just bought a TOP LOADING VCR at the local thrift for two and a half bananas. They sell tapes for cents......the nice part Is I'll be able to amass a huge VHS collection on the cheap.

They'll go very nicely with your collection of 8-track audiotapes.

--T

LOL, I don't have any 8-tracks....though I'm toying with changing that eventually (come 70's rock came on 8-track).

Actually, it's not a bad VCR I find, actually, the picture quality is pretty impressive for something that old.
 

Terry Yager

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I've got a couple (Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, etc), but I've always kicked myself for not collecting more when they were available for just pennies.
The few that I do have were "collected" when I had a '71 Buick Electra Rag-Top that I installed an "original" streeo stystem into.

--T
 

CP/M User

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What troubles me about this is what will happen to the blank VHS media?

I've stopped getting VHS tapesin terms of Movies etc & only use them as for recording stuff off the telly (it still serves it's purpose IMO).

DVD recorders are still too pricey (IMO), plus I have a perfectly good DVD player - hate to just stack another player on top of my DVD!

CP/M User.
 

katey

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I was looking though the big stack of fliers in the paper yesterday and I think it was future shop that had a standalone dvdr for 150. Not just the burner but the full vcr replacement, tuner, remote the whole bit so they are getting cheaper pretty quick.

katey
 

Vlad

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8 tracks

8 tracks

I have a bunch of old 8 tracks I always thought they were awesome. They were harder to lose than cassette tapes.

-Vlad
 

Terry Yager

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Re: 8 tracks

Re: 8 tracks

vlad said:
I have a bunch of old 8 tracks I always thought they were awesome. They were harder to lose than cassette tapes.

-Vlad

...And ya don't hafta keep flippin' 'em (on old systems without "Auto-Reverse").

--T
 

CP/M User

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"katey" wrote:

> I was looking though the big stack of fliers in the paper yesterday and I
> think it was future shop that had a standalone dvdr for 150. Not just the
> burner but the full vcr replacement, tuner, remote the whole bit so they
> are getting cheaper pretty quick.

Yeah, it's possible to pick up a burner here for around $200, but they look
to be pretty dodgy. Between $300-$400 you can get something which is a
bit more well known - though you're shelling out just that little bit more to
get some quality.

Maybe you're getting something just a little bit better in Canada/US for
that sort of money perhaps?

Another rumor (which I hope isn't true) I heard about these DVD Burners
is their only good for 500 burns. Can someone here confirm this?
This might explain why we're getting Hard Disks attached to DVD Burners
(to save the amount of Burning an ordinary burner would do) - just to
record our favourite late-night programs & delete them after we've seen
it. So it seems if that's the case then we're becomming big on the
throwaway society - terrible.

CP/M User.
 

CP/M User

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"Terry Yager" wrote:

> Yup, everything's disposable these days. It's almost cheaper to buy a
> new printer than to buy a new (pair of) ink cartridge(s) for one.

We got one of those printers where you can throw in 4 individual
cartridges - Black, Blue, Magenta & Yellow (I think they are). I just
replaced 3 of the 4 cartridges the other day (thats the trouble with
photos - they just seem to use up the seperate inks in the same time
frame (not to mention each cartridge costs $25! - think their've gone up
in price since we got the printer - we did get a lot of photos out of it
though - around 200!)

Epson Printers seem to be the best. The cartidges seem to be cheap ($30-
$40 for -A- colour cartridge) & have dual cartridge system (which the
Hewlett Packard printers also have) - so you get one slot for the black &
the other for the colour! Buy a cheap Cannon or something & you don't
have that - when I got mine a few years back it was terrible just having a
single slot for the cartridge! :-(

CP/M User.
 

Terry Yager

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Yeah, we just found out last week that the color cartridge for our Lexmark All-In-One costs $28.00, but a whole new printer is only $32.00. Kinda suckful, ain't it?
 

CP/M User

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"Terry Yager" wrote:

> Yeah, we just found out last week that the color cartridge for our
> Lexmark All-In-One costs $28.00, but a whole new printer is only
> $32.00. Kinda suckful, ain't it?

Here's an idea for that printer. Disassemble it & put a brochure in the
Computer Classifieds (or flogg it off eBay) as some DIY build your own
printer. Write some instructions on building the thing & sell it for $40 or
$50! ;-)

Just buy more printers when you get the customers! ;-)

CP/M User.
 

creepingnet

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I hate lexmarks with a passion, so much so that I've pretty much dumped every one that someone "gives" me to get rid of it (becayse they are crap).

I have the same HP DeskJet 841C I had when I started this hobby 5 years ago, that sucker literally self destructed during the move, and I put it back together in 10 minutes using Superglue! It's an expensive sucker to refill though, around $50, more than it's worth now.

Shoot, I see ink jet printers around here in Seattle go for as little as $5 in Thrift stores, and I'm talking stuff that was made a YEAR ago!

What I don't understand is why Ink cartridges cost so much, all it is is a plastic casing lined with plastic coated tinfoil, with a sponge inside, filled with ink, and a little electro pattern on the front that lines up with the one inside your printer. That can't be THAT hard to make in these days of mass production.
 
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