VHS: Dead but not useless

I made sure I keep a VHS tape player in the system when I hooked up our AV in the living room.  In fact, I had to — it translates between the set top box and the old tele.

Why keep a VCR going in 2016?

This is why:


(Sorry about the Show-through).  I have small kids.  By keeping a VHS player, we can pick up kid’s videos at jumble sales, Opp shops (Thrift Stores), roadsides… you name it.  Why, besides being tight?

Kids grow up quickly.  I can happily enjoy my ancient copy of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead twenty years after I got it, but Roary the Racing Car wears out a lot faster.  So why buy a pointless piece of plastic that will be useless in a couple of years when I can (for orders of magnitude less money) recycle a tape that is otherwise headed for landfill?  Well, I suppose buying the new stuff does support the industry… but I’m not sure how much Disney needs the cash…

By keeping the VHS player in the system, we get a lot of stuff cheap; but price is only part of the issue.  We try out a lot of stuff because — why not?  The video shown above was maybe 20¢ or 50¢.  It turns out to be a quite interesting show about training to become a fire-fighter.  Very little talking down to its audience means the kids like it better.  And they know what a ‘Chemical Incident Unit’ does.

We’ve got most of the Disney classics, some Pixar, and a random assortment that goes from Budgie the Helicopter to Casablanca by way of Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank and Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin (some of which the kids thought was hilarious).  The stuff the kids permanently grow out of we’ll just toss, the stuff with lasting value we’ll purchase in a more modern format.

Unless the tape player carks it.  Although I think I’ve got a couple of spare ones in the shed…

In a pinch I have been known to still tape the odd TV show. And I do mean ‘tape’.


Yeah, right, whatever.


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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, based in Australia.

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