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VHS is gone

It’s been a year for formats ending
As many of you know the Polaroid instant camera film has stopped manufacturing. I had a lot of fun with this film format over the years.
This is hte first year I am not buying 35mm film for my wife’s stocking. She went digital when she discovered how easy it was to get the prints she wants at the corner. I tend to agere with her that the box of photos contains more warm memories and is more muti-user friendly when the family assembles. So, she went digital to cut th cost of flm and, ironically, our developing costs are higher.
Anyway, the last remaining big distributor of VHS tapes has stopped doing the VHS format. From Distirbution Audio’s president [about VHS]:
“It’s dead, this is it, this is the last Christmas, without a doubt. I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and I’m done. Anything left in warehouse we’ll just give away or throw away.”
I did see this coming (not that it takes a genius!) but I also own a huge collection of kids’ videos in French and English that I have dreams of showing grandkids someday. (Note that language was an issue with VHS and isn’t as much with DVD.) So I bought two dual DVD/VHS machines to keep in reserve. It was worth the cheap price since we have so many videos.
“Formats never truly die, but their eras always have a few painful stages of decline. First, there’s the arrival of a promising new competitor, then its steady rise, which is invariably followed by a mourning period and the final purging of last-gen products from the market. The last stage of obsolescence for of the long-presumed-dead format is upon us: JVC has announced that production of their single remaining [VHS] player will stop immediately.”
Of course all old formats go to die in that elephant graveyard of afficionados – eBay.
I do worry that this is the format that popularized collecting film and MTV. DVD followed as a better personal format. What does a personal collection look like in streaming media land? Is it loaded on a drive? Is that drive virtual or real? Is it just a bunch of links? How about libraries and their role? Will Google’s YouTube or Hulu become the iTunes of video? How about archiving, discovery, cataloguing, reviews, etc.?
Hmmmmm. I know I asked for some CD’s and DVD’s for the holidays this week. Am I just old? Is this the last year for hard formats? Will I just get an iTunes gift card next year? I only just now realized that my last 35 mm film purchase was last year.
Is it just me or should I feel nostalgic? I didn’t miss scratchy vinyl or static-ridden radio. I might miss my own touchy-feely collection of Stephen’s personal taste, interests and culture.
Whither library collections and how they reflect their culture and local communities? Will it just be one global, commercial homogenization?
I’ll keep following it. I am happy the RIAA has announced that they’re going to stop suing single mom’s and their teens. But as the RIAA and MPAA are two of the largest donors to the Obama and Biden campaigns over the years I’ll keep my tinfoil hat on.

Posted on: December 22, 2008, 5:05 pm Category: Uncategorized

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