If your VCR (videocassette recorder) is coming to the end of its life, you may be wondering where to get a new one. You have no doubt noticed that no tech shops sell VHS players anymore, but can you still get them anywhere?
The short answer is, no, you cannot buy newly manufactured VCRs. The last VCR was manufactured in 2016 by Funai Electric, the last remaining VHS player manufacturer after all the other major tech companies had stopped making them. They announced they were ceasing production that year due to poor sales, and there have been no new VCRs on the market since.
However, that does not mean that they do not exist anymore. Here’s what you need to know about getting hold of a VHS player to play your old tapes.
Where Can You Get Old VHS Players?
Your options for a VHS player is to source an old one that was made pre-2016. While they are old, you may still be able to find unused ones still in their original boxes. Here are some places you can try to find VCRs:
eBay is the number one place for buying things like defunct tech, as it is the world’s largest used marketplace. Check out the listings on eBay to see if anyone is selling a VHS player. Chances are, here is where you will find unused VCRs that still come in their original packaging.
- Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is another online space where people sell their belongings. Unlike eBay, it is less of a business and more a place where people can sell things they own that they no longer want. So you may be unlikely to get a new VCR on Facebook Marketplace, but you could find a used one that people are clearing out of their house.
- Car boot sale
If you prefer to buy things in person rather than online, a cat boot sale can be a great place to look for a VHS player. As they are a defunct piece of tech and most people no longer use them, there are plenty of people who want to clear them out from their attics and sell them at car boot sales.
- Charity shop
You could find a VCR in a charity shop, especially one dedicated to electronics. However, this may be unlikely as most charity shops would not accept donations of such out-of-date tech, so your best bet will be going to people directly online or at car boot sales rather than trying to find one in a charity shop.
Convert Your VHS Tapes
If you manage to find a VCR player to replace yours, don’t forget to do a VHS to DVD or video to digital conversion to preserve your video footage. Nostalgia is great, and you may want to keep watching your VHS tapes in their original format, but tapes are not built to last, and you can come into a world of problems that makes watching your home videos very difficult, such as:
- Tape deterioration
The sensitive tape inside VHS tapes can become easily ruined as the magnetic particles lose their charge and decay. Your footage can become shaky and unstable, or the image will jump on the screen and experience a loss of detail, making the viewing experience less enjoyable. Even with proper storage and care, you cannot completely stop the natural deterioration of these tapes over time.
- Digital corruption
Tapes like mini DVs and Digital 8 tapes can suffer from digital deterioration, where your footage is lost and cannot be recovered. These tapes were the steppingstone from VHS to digital before digital became the norm. They are susceptible to corruption, which can cause video pixilation and audio loss.
VHS tapes can develop mould when kept in poor conditions. Mould grows on the tape, and the spores eat into the oxide coating, making the tape stick to itself. Some mould can be cleaned away if caught early enough, but it is not always possible, and the tape that has stuck together is unrepairable. Mould can ruin your video footage or make the tape completely unplayable altogether.
- Tape slippage
Due to the moving parts of a VHS, things can go wrong that damage the footage or prevent it from playing. Tape slippage happens when the tape loses tension or has become warped; it requires a complex repair that is not always possible.
DVDs and digital formats are much more reliable than VHS tapes. They have none of the deterioration problems of VHS, there are a wide variety of devices that can play your videos, and they are easier to share with friends and family. If you would like to learn more about how Video2DVD can convert your home videos into a better, upgraded format by transferring VHS to DVD, video to MP4 and more, contact us today.