There was a short, blink and you’d have missed it, news article on the BBC website on Tuesday heralding the creation of the last ever VCR maker. The article is here > http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36896924 but although only two paragraphs in length I read it with a (un)healthy tinge of sadness and a wave of nostalgia washed over me. It doesn’t seem that long ago (though it totally is) that I was extoling the virtues of Sony’s pioneering Betamax video tape solution. The quality was so much more superior to VHS and yet because of a combination I’m guessing of bad marketing and price tag it was doomed to failure. A lesson Sony would still not learn with DAT and mini-discs both becoming Sound Engineering favourites, and the former a very popular backup media.
My dad (the Lord Jack Daniels rest his soul) always seemed to go for the cutting edge, but ultimately doomed platforms – Betamax being one example, the BBC Micro Model B being another! Yes we were THAT posh, but all my school mates had Spectrums and Commodores, and a vast array of games to play on them! I guess I followed in his footsteps investing in a mini-disc player later on in life, but in my defence I used the unit a heck of a lot for recording my own music. Anyway, where was I, kind of lost my thread there for a second. Ah yes, so the last ever VHS-playing VCR has trundled down the production line and no more will be produced. I wonder how many households still have a drawer or cabinet full of VHS tapes that they can’t quite bring themselves to admit are poor quality, made poorer over the years of natural magnetic deterioration. And I wonder how many have moved the denial dial on a notch and tried to flog them at a car boot sale! I mean, yeah, vinyl I can understand, but VHS tapes?! Does anyone actually buy them now? I remember doing a boot sale with my mum and she had lined up about 40-50 VHS tapes, including her prized Charles and Diana wedding tape. I told her that of the 40-50 VHS tapes she had, she will *still* have come packing up time. I was of course right. Meanwhile, my collection of music CDs and computer games were selling like the proverbial hot cakes!
So this article (actually remembered the point of all this now) got me to thinking that one day we will be pouring similar sentimentality upon the likes of Bluray (a tech Sony actually got right). It doesn’t seem possible right now, but did anyone think that DVD would be surpassed upon it’s inception? This constant evolution is evident in all areas of tech, only this week SEGA announced the release of a new handheld console that will contain 80 games built-in (http://thenextweb.com/gadgets/2016/07/25/987741/#gref) and only the other day we were all discussing robot hoovers and the recent arrival of the robot lawn mowers!! Suddenly those far-fetched sci-fi landscapes and technology doesn’t seem that unrealistic.
However, if any of that tech should say “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” I would suggest bolting for the nearest exit and never stop running.