Over the Christmas days, I read that the last (US) VHS supplier bailed out from selling VHS tapes and if I believe The Register, this effectively means that VHS (Wikipedia article) is no more. VHS literally became a standard after it won in that (frequent) mentioned ‘videotape format war’, and despite generally lower quality audio and video, VHS was quickly adopted by the consumer market.

So, yes, JVC was the original developer of the VHS system and on one day in the early 80s, our dad ended up buying a brand new JVC VHS player and recorder. It was so brand new (and obviously expensive) that Dad explicitly told us not to tell our fellow-classmates. From then on, I remember frequent visits to a local video store and being introduced to the concept of ‘renting movies’ and ‘rewinding rented video tapes’. This didn’t last too long though: If you’ve lived in a large family, you’ll probably know that picking a movie that everybody likes is harder than simultaneously pressing the ‘play’ and ‘record’ button on the video player1.

Those early days, I also remember seeing the giant video discs (“LaserDiscs”) created by Philips: these were the predecessors of the current DVD type of discs. I thought these were amazing things but I could never imagine people actually buying these particular devices for their homes.

Additionally, this reminds me of the terrible slow adaption of CD-ROMs in the computer industry: The very first CDs proudly showcasing Grollier’s Encyclopedia ‘On One CD Disk!’ were so totally not popular. I’m certain that it was Microsoft (and the games industry, of course) that managed to convince consumers to adopt the CD as a new storage standard. The rest is history.

1 As an alternative to the “three-finger salute” (SFW, honestly), I’d like to introduce the ‘Two-finger salute’, which is the gesture of simultaneously pressing the ‘Play’ and ‘Record’ buttons on an Eighties video/audio tape recording device. And honestly, why did you have to press two buttons to start recording?

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