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Monday, November 20, 2006

VHS: 1976-2006

No additional VHS videocassettes will be produced, ever. The Video Home System, long obsolete in the DVD era, is gone.

I personally can't remember the last time I purchased a VHS-format movie, and apparently I'm not alone. As Variety magazine indicates in this obituary to the format, VHS ultimately died of "loneliness:"

"After its youthful Betamax battles, the longer-playing VHS tapes eventually became the format of choice for millions of consumers. VHS enjoyed a lucrative career, transforming the way people watched movies and changing the economics of the film biz. VHS hit its peak with "The Lion King," which sold more than 30 million vidcassettes Stateside."
I can't say I'm shocked that videocassettes have fallen out of fashion or that they will no longer be produced. How long will DVDs last as the successor to VHS? Here's a bigger question: How long will it be before there isn't a container at all for our entertainment? The technology is already there, minus the bandwidth needed for wide acceptance of movie and TV downloading, and society has already been struggling to deal with what it means when you can't confine entertainment to a box. Until these questions are answered, DVD, you are on the clock...

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