R.I.P., VCR.
Funai Electric, the world’s last
known VCR manufacturer, says it will
cease production of video-cassette
recorders this month.
Japanese firm Funai started
manufacturing VCRs in 1983, and at
one point was selling 15 million
units a year. Alas, the clunky VCR
has since been replaced by an array
of new technologies: DVDs, Blu-ray,
and now, streaming video services.
Last year, Funai sold 750,000 units,
and found it was getting harder to
find the parts to make VCRs.
A Funai spokesperson said that
customers have been the company
and asking where they can find the
last few products.
VCRs for home use were introduced
in the 1960s, gaining traction after
Sony brought lower-priced models to
market. Other Japanese
manufacturers, including Panasonic,
RCA, JVC and Toshiba, were also
instrumental in developing the VCR.
The electromechanical device
records, stores, and plays back
television programs using a
magnetic tape cassette.
In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled that home use of VCRs to
record television didn’t constitute a
violation of copyright law, paving the
way for an explosion of the
technology in American homes.
For a time, a battle ensued between
Sony’s Betamax and JVC’s VHS —
both VCR tape formats — but VHS
eventually won out.

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