Whenever I visit my parents in California it's always heartwarming and nostalgic to see their old Panasonic VCR sitting in the glass and pressboard TV stand, hoping someone might accidentally slip a tape inside its dusty slot. That ignored electronic accessory just might become a cherished heirloom for my senior years with news of the tape format's last gasp now echoing into history. Funai Electric, the final holdout company producing VCR machines, will officially cease production at the end of this month. The manufacturer cites mostly the difficulty in locating parts for production and severely declining interest in the archaic format for its business decision. This is certainly old news to most of the enlightened world, especially to Blastr faithful, but still a moment to reflect on and remember.
The shocking fact is that Funai actually sold 750,000 of the clunky black doorstops last year! However, it is obviously no longer cost-effective for them to continue making them in an advancing era of Hulu and Amazon streaming, Netflix domination and an abundance of Blu-ray and UHD 4K releases. Beginning in 1983, the Osaka, Japan-based consumer electronics corporation produced VCR machines for a variety of major brands, including Sanyo, Emerson and Magnavox, and sold over 15 million units per year at its zenith.
The first commercial VCR was marketed by Phillips in 1972 and became a standard houshold appliance by the mid-'80s after major players like Sony, Panasonic and JVC jumped into the VHS game. So shed a small tear and take comfort in the fact that you'll still be able to find these sturdy entertainment workhorses and their stacks of cardboard-boxed tapes in a yard sale near your neighborhood soon!