RIP, VHS

Production of VHS tapes ends

The VHS format has finally died. Even though most of us probably thought it was already long gone, its death certificate was signed when Distribution Video Audio of Palm Harbor, Florida — the last major supplier of VHS tapes — shipped the last of its saleable stock.

Distribution Video Audio made $20 million per year selling tons of tapes for cheap, but now the business has vanished. Leftover stock will either be given or thrown away — perhaps even meeting a landfill fate just like those millions of copies of Atari's ET videogame.

VHS stuck around for more than twenty years and may be the longest running survivor of any format war. Even the DVD format may not last as long, says Ryan Kugler, the president of Distribution Video Audio: "The DVD will be obsolete in three or four years, no doubt about it. Everything will be Blu-ray." Depending on who you ask, though, three or four years may be a bit premature — Blu-ray still has a long road ahead.

The end of the VHS era may be sad, but all tech eventually goes obsolete. Look at the floppy disk and its desperate struggle for relevance after the emergence of CDs. Look at the CRT monitors choking the shelves of Salvation Army stores and plugging landfills. You can't help but wonder what will be next to go. DVDs? CDs? MP3 players? Non-touch screen monitors and laptops?

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Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)

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