End of an Era – Last VHS Tape Shipped


The Ancient VHS

Happy New Year! The holidays are behind us and I must say that it was one of the best in recent memory. For one, Peet came out to stay with us for the week. But also, with the downturn of the economy and everyone supposedly “cutting back”, I felt the pressure was off this year in terms of making sure just the right gift was purchased for everyone. In reality, I think we really did end up cutting back and focusing on the important things. It was a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for – and there is plenty. I am very fortunate not to be one of the many out there looking for work at this time of year. I’ve been there before – in fact 5 years ago this month I was out of work for about a 6-month period. In hindsight, that was one of the best periods of my life. Setting aside the pressure of trying to find a job before my severance pay ran out, I was with my family all around the clock. I spent quality time with my daughter during those formative years that would have otherwise been lost had I been consumed with my career priorities. So the lesson in all of this for me is “less is more”.

So I start this year feeling thankful as well as optimistic, despite the news media’s best efforts to make me feel hopeless. Some people are looking forward to the new year and feeling that we are ending one era and beginning a new one in terms of a new administration in Washington. But I instead was drawn to a headline today that said we are finally at the end of another era – the death of the VHS tape! Apparently there was only one remaining U.S. manufacturer still making blank VHS tapes and the last shipment was sent to retailers this past week. There are apparently only 2 million unsold VHS tapes left out there to be purchased and after that batch is gone, that is it. Gone … in the dustbins of history. Joining its ancestors…the BetaMax tape, the 8-track tape, the floppy disk…the Laserdisk. But for some reason, the VHS is more personal to me. It was the primary form of media that I used from my teenage years on. All our videos that are now being digitized for this website started out on VHS. It was the first way to cheaply capture videos of ourselves and family…and soon, not long after the last tape is sold, the magnetic recordings on these tapes will soon begin to fade into history unless they are transferred to something more permanent. But now I am just rambling, so I will sign off for now.

Here’s to the VHS and to a great 2009! Actually, I could care less about the VHS. They take up way too much room.

—Webmaster Chris