How Cheap Can You Make a VHS Tape?

This epoch-defining invention, an exemplar of the “Progress of Science and useful Arts” if there ever was one, was granted U.S. Patent 5,568,899 [PDF] on 1996-10-29. This was, of course, just as DVD-Video was coming onto the market.


Though I could not tell the date of this video, there are plenty of recent comments on it, so I guess it isn’t too old. I came across some old VHS educational lecture tapes I had stored away & decided I wanted to watch them while exercising. I had, foolishly, disposed of my VHS machines years ago. I quickly learned that nobody manufactures them any longer. Used ones range from maybe $40 to $400. Even if they initially work (I did buy a used one for $70 which worked, happily) there are critical rubber belts, which are not easily replaceable, and which can fall apart at any time from age, not necessarily wear.

Anyway, I wonder how many people still have working VHS players nowadays. P.s. I just sent an old VHS tape - containing previously-converted very old 8mm movies from my childhood, out for digitization. I anxiously await receipt of the thumb drive containing it’s images, which device will also include the conversion of a half-dozen 8mm video tapes I can no longer watch for want of a player! - from our children’s early years. These, also, have been sitting unwatched, because the old JVC (once top-of-the-line) video recorder/player no longer works - even after I managed to rig connectors onto an old TV with a (pre-HDMI) yellow RCA video connector. This tale, once again, demonstrates that life has become too complicated. Much more such progress may prove our undoing…

ADDENDUM: In further watching of the video, I see he is talking about the past.


How long until the files on the thumb drive are no longer usable because the appropriate player software is no longer available, and the one you have won’t run on your current OS?


My wife (we) has a huge collection of movies on VHS and we have a player that works. We still watch these movies. Long ago, my idea to convert the VHS to DVD and then later to digital were shot down by my bride.


She is a smart lady! My guess is physical copies of media will become quite valuable at some point in the future. Transferring things to the cloud, or even to hard discs & memory sticks, may come to be seen to be as ill-considered as shipping all industrial production to China – short term benefit vs long term cost.

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Convert and keep. Duh.


The outfit doing the digitization is I am both an early investor and a member. Membership includes personal cloud storage, guaranteed by an endowment-type fund (lest FOREVER fail), for the member’s life plus 100 years. In addition to triple geographically-separated backups, it also guarantees conversion to future formats. Unlike all the ‘free’ storage out there, with FOREVER, you retain complete digital rights to your material. They actually hope to extend the guarantee to longer than 100 years.