At one time, VHS tapes were the pinnacle of home entertainment viewing. They gave people the chance to watch their favourite shows and films from the comfort of their own homes, and they could record their own footage and have tapes of all the best family memories like birthday parties and Christmases.
But compared to the technology we enjoy today, the VHS tape had many drawbacks that we no longer need to deal with. Here’s a look at just some of the reasons why the VHS fell out of usage.
Having to rewind your videos to the beginning before you can rewatch them would be unheard of in today’s DVD and streaming market. But back in the era of VHS tapes, it was the only option. There was no restart button or skip button to take you to and from parts of the tape; the only way to find a specific moment in the footage was to rewind or fast forward manually.
Not only was this inconvenient, but it also meant potentially getting spoilers if you rented a VHS from a shop and the footage hadn’t been rewound to the beginning. We’ve come a long way from those dark days.
No Interactive Menu
VHS tapes had one mode: you put them in and pressed play. The footage would play from wherever you left off and go through to the end, and then it could be rewound and watched again. Today, DVDs and streaming services allow us the joy of an interactive menu so we can pick and choose where we want to start watching.
With streaming, we can select individual episodes of a TV show at our leisure. DVDs include the likes of director’s commentary and deleted scenes so we can enjoy extra bits of our favourite films. There’s no denying that the addition of interactive menus into our viewing experiences has made home entertainment all the more enjoyable.
Poor Image Quality
Compared to DVDs and streaming, the image quality of VHS tapes is inferior. Nowadays, we enjoy the glory of 4K and HD quality, something the humble VHS could not even dream of.
Colour was also limited on the VHS, as they used composite video to carry colour. The different colour signals were mixed, which meant they could interfere with the black and white signal (luminance). DVDs and Blu-rays, however, hold the picture in a component video format, where the luminance and the two colour difference elements are carried separately. So even if you ignore all the advantages DVDs have regarding ease of use, the VHS also had a much poorer picture quality.
VHS tapes are fragile and susceptible to breaking or becoming damaged. Even if you leave tapes in the perfect environment, they will eventually deteriorate naturally over time. The more they are played, the more they are at risk of breaking or becoming damaged as there are moving components in the players that could snap or warp the tape.
The tape in VHS tapes can suffer from mould damage, where mould spores eat into the oxide coating and causes the tape to stick to itself. This causes the tape to become unrepairable. The tape can also lose tension or become warped, making repair difficult, or maybe impossible.
DVDs are not susceptible to the same issues and will last for a much longer time without needing ideal humidity or storage conditions. And as streaming is available online, it is virtually indestructible.
VHS tapes are much bigger than their DVD counterparts. It is virtually impossible to make them more compact and easier to transport, making them a nuisance to take with you anywhere. DVDs can be removed from their slim boxes and put into a DVD carry case, so you can carry hundreds of discs in one go with no trouble.
So if you’re going on holiday and want to take a selection of films with you, you can take as many DVDs as you want without taking up much space, whereas you would be seriously limited with how many VHS tapes you could bring. Alternatively, you could stick to streaming services and carry nothing with you but your login details.
One Player Format
VHS tapes are played in VCR players. These are the only device capable of playing VHS tapes, so if you do not own one or yours break, you are out of options. No manufacturer makes new VCRs, with the last one being manufactured in 2016 by Funai. You can find some online on sites like eBay or at car boot sales, but one day they will eventually become impossible to find.
On the other hand, DVDs can be played in many devices aside from DVD players, like games consoles and computers. Streaming services can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection, so they can be played directly from your TV, computer, phone or tablet. So you have a lot more options for accessing your videos with DVDs or digital versions of your footage.
If you have old VHS tapes of family memories lying around, make sure you do a VHS to DVD conversion today to keep that footage safe. We will ship your VHS tapes back to your along with your DVD or digital copy, so you can still keep the original while secure in the knowledge that you have a reliable backup. Contact us today to find out more.