Funai Electric, a Japanese consumer electronics company, will end production of VHS videocassette recorders (VCRs) at the end of July, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei. This will also mark the end of the format as a whole 40 years after it began production.
Funai sold VCRs under the more familiar Sanyo brand in China and North America for nearly 30 years. The company’s move to stop manufacturing comes after years of declining sales and difficulty finding the materials for the electronics.
Funai Electric began production of VCRs in 1983 following the unsuccessful launch of its own CVC format in 1980. The electronics company sold as many as 15 million VCRs per year at its peak. Last year, Funai sold 750,000 units.
Hollywood embraced the format, releasing movies on videocassettes that were then bought or rented from chains like Blockbuster, which currently has just a few dozen stores.
The VCR gained mass appeal in its early years as the first technology that allowed viewers to watch programming on their own schedule at home, whether taped from the TV or rented at a store.
Sony announced last year that it would stop selling Betamax video cassettes, a rival to the VHS, after stopping production of its recorders in 2002. Beta-format VCRs were required to play or record such tapes.
DVDs and Blu-Rays as well as DVRs have long made VHS and Beta obsolete. However, many homes across the country continue to store personal home videos and movies, with some viewers hanging on to their VCRs to view the vintage tapes.