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Monday, December 22, 2008

One Last Christmas for the VHS Tape

From the LA Times, 'VHS Era is Winding Down. The article is a brief history of the VHS format (though it neglects to mention Betamax, the predecessor to VHS.)

Here's a snippet:

    The last major Hollywood movie to be released on VHS was "A History of Violence" in 2006. By that point major retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart were already well on their way to evicting all the VHS tapes from their shelves so the valuable real estate could go to the sleeker and smaller DVDs and, in more recent seasons, the latest upstart, Blu-ray discs. [Ryan] Kugler, [president of Distribution Video Audio Inc.] ended up buying back as much VHS inventory as he could from retailers, distributors and studios; he then sold more than 4 million VHS videotapes over the last two years.

    Those tapes went to bargain-basement chains such as Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar, and Kugler's network of mom-and-pop clients and regional outlets, such as the Gabriel Bros. Stores in West Virginia or the Five Below chain in Pennsylvania. If you bought a Clint Eastwood movie at the Flying J Truck Stop in Saginaw, Mich., or a "Care Bears" tape at one of the H.E. Butts Grocery stores in Texas, Kugler's company probably put it there. He also sells to public libraries, military bases and cruise ships, although those clients now all pretty much want DVDs.

    Kugler estimates that 2 million tapes are still sitting on shelves of his clients' stores across the country, but they are the last analog soldiers in the lost battle against the digital invasion. "I'm not sure a lot of people are going to miss VHS," he said, "but it's been good to us."

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