The largest electronics retailer in the UK, Dixons, has announced that it’s to stop selling Video cassette recorders. They say as sales of DVD Players are so strong, they outsell VCR’s 40:1, that there is no demand for VCR’s anymore. Dixons sales peak for VHS (Video Home System) was in 1993.
All of this is, of course, great for Dixons in the build up to xmas – they’re splashed across all of the papers and other media today, supplementing their already considerable media advertising spend.
You would probably have thought that we’d be jumping with joy at this knockout move for an old, and let’s face it, pretty unwieldy format. Well quite a lot of time has passed since we at the Digital Lifestyles offices originally discarded our own VHS machines, and that gives us a chance to reflect on this news, rather than react.
In that 18-24 months the entertainment industry (read TV and film in this case) has had time to plan it’s future and their approach to visual media in the digital future has become firmer.
Today’s news must make those media companies very pleased. It effectively starts the countdown to the end of access to the large collections of video content people have built up over the last 26 years on VHS, both self-recorded TV programming and pre-recorded.
It also closes one of those pesky ‘analog holes’ that often get mentioned by the media companies, in debates over the future of digitisation of media.
Dixons? They’ll also have the opportunity to sell all of their punters a whole range of new equipment when high-density disc formats (blu-ray, etc) arrive. Of course there’s a bigger profit margin in a £150 DVD recorder that a £40 VCR.
We also assume this will start to open the market for high-end VHS players as people come to realise some of their old content isn’t yet available on new formats. Will there be VHS buffs, like there are analogue HiFi buffs?