Hey Where is My VCR Anyway?

The following life support report describing the status of all those VCRs got me thinking about my VCR. Yes, even me, a technology guy still has room in his home theater for my old VCR.

Anybody interested in watching the original "special edition" of the first Start Trek movie released back in 1979. If so it's only available on VHS.

Anybody interested in watching the original “special edition” of the first Start Trek movie released back in 1979. If so it’s only available on VHS.


For most of us in our 40’s and 50’s the VCR era was a time of great mystery. What the heck did “tracking” do anyway? Was the TV supposed to be on Channel 3 or Channel 4? Did rewinding a tape in the VCR really wear the machine out, or did I just waste my money on those rewinders?

A Gallup poll released this week reveals that 58 percent of Americans continue to grapple with these mysteries—that’s the number of people who told pollsters that they still own a VCR. (This news comes to us by way of The Atlantic.) Presumably, the VCR-owning population can be further divided into an overwhelming majority of VHS adherents and a tiny, loyal enclave of Betamax holdouts.

The 58-percent figure is 30 points lower than when Gallup posed the VCR-ownership question in 2005, which is a big decline, but the magnetic-tape cohort still constitutes a majority of Americans. That probably comes as a surprise to the majority who eagerly moved on to LaserDisc, DVD and now Blu-Ray technologies. It should be noted that Gallup only asked if respondents “have” a VCR, not whether they actually use it. So all the tape decks languishing in American attics counted in the polls just as much as those that are being pressed into service in family rooms.

Here are just a couple of my still favorite VHS tapes.

Here are just a couple of my still favorite VHS tapes.

As I confessed at the outset of this article, I do indeed have a VCR hooked up and ready to go. There are some reasons for this madness. There are some old concerts only available on VHS as well as some classic films. It is a little fun and nostalgic to grab an old VHS and pop it into the VCR. The picture quality is indeed horrible especially when being presented on a 60″ HDTV.

Specifically 1989 Pink Floyd’s “Delicate Sound of Thunder” and 1990’s “The Concert” by Van Morrison alone are responsible for the precious space being used up by my old VCR. Both are unavailable on DVD.

Although the video on these are poor – at best, the sound quality of these concerts are actually quite good on my 5.1 sound system. I bet the engineers behind my old VCR never expected that!

Now let me explain about that record player in the family room and all those great records….

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