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Internet killed the video star

video-tapesThe world is changing at a rapid pace, and many things we liked or were used to are being replaced with newer and more modern innovations and technologies. One of these is the video recorder, which is considered obsolete these days. Nevertheless, a few people are still using this outdated technology, and watch movies, cartoons and other stuff on videocassettes. Video rental shops that were wildly popular in the 1980s shut down a few years ago, but some enthusiasts are still holding on to videotapes.

Fans of this technology use video recorders and tapes to record content from TV. Electronics stores all over Kuwait used to sell these, but they don’t anymore. Even popular supermarkets and hardware departments of co-ops used to have them, but no longer. So these users are now struggling to find blank VHS tapes.

The Video Home System (VHS) is a standard for analog recording on videotapes. It was developed by Victor Company of Japan (JVC) in the 1970s. The first videocassette recorder (VCR) to become available was the U-matic system, released in Sept 1971. U-matic was designed for commercial or professional television production use, and was not affordable or user-friendly for home videos or home movies. The first consumer-grade VCR to be released was the Philips N1500 VCR format in 1972, followed in 1975 by Sony’s Betamax. This was quickly followed by the competing VHS (Video Home System) format from JVC, and later by Video 2000 from Philips. Subsequently, the Betamax-VHS format war began in earnest.
Sony stopped manufacturing Betamax tapes many years ago and announced that it will stop selling the remaining quantity by next year or earlier if stocks sell out. It already stopped manufacturing the recorders playing these tapes since 2002.

Where to find it
Scouting various electronic stores around the city, it turned out that the biggest and most popular ones that once sold VHS tapes and video recorders are no longer selling them. An older electronics store in Salmiya had only four VHS videocassettes in stock. The salesman at this store told Kuwait Times that they stopped receiving this product a few years ago, although they were the agents of the most popular brand manufacturing this product.

The Friday Market in Rai that sells almost everything may have some stalls selling VCRs and videotapes, and some bazaars selling used items also sold them until recently. Apart from these, some individuals on social media are selling video recorders, but none of them have mentioned selling videocassettes. Another option may be some of the few music shops around the city.

VHS was replaced by optical discs, which began to offer better quality than videotapes. The earliest of these formats, LaserDisc, was not widely adopted. However, after the introduction of the DVD format in 1997, the VHS market share began to decline. By 2008, DVD had achieved mass acceptance and replaced VHS as the preferred method of distribution.
But even these discs are not much used anymore. Almost near each co-op, there used to by a guy selling DVDs of movies, plays and cartoons, but today they are rarely to be seen. Ditto for roaming vendors carrying suitcases with DVDs, who once could be found almost everywhere. Yet these discs are still available in the market and DVD recorders are still sold, but we don’t know until when, as most people now watch everything online.

By Nawara Fattahova

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