I missed a significant birthday on Monday, so here’s a belated happy birthday to the VHS video system. Thanks to JVC the whole world of home movies and recording really opened up. I know no article is complete without the obligatory mention of Sony’s Betamax (which is probably older than me), but it was VHS that stormed the world – thanks in part to the porn industry.
It’s easy to dismiss VHS as a graveyard technology now that we’ve entered the world of DVD and hard disc recording, and are pushing on towards high-def optical disc formats, but VHS still has its place – for one there’s a lot of content sitting around on tapes, and combined machines (HDD, DVD and VHS) are still being released, though they don’t get as much attention as sleek PVRs and DVD recorders.
VHS was even granted an IEEE milestone as an honour of its significant social and historical impact.
So raise a glass to VHS and that stack of black plastic video cases I know you’ve got stashed away somewhere at home. The future might be all shiny and disc shaped, but VHS revolutionised home cinema.