Well, it seems like after 30 years of being in business VHS is officially being called dead.

In a story from Variety, they report that the old format had been expected to make it to January, but with all the new formats (HD-DVD, Blu-ray, etc.) the "little plastic tape carrier that could" was shuffling the mortal coil early.

Of course VHS will still be available in some places. Toys 'R' Us is planning on paying tribute by continuing to carry some Barney titles. Also, one can still purchase VHS titles from dump bins in $1 Stores and the like.

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Originally called the "Vertical Helical Scan to parent JVC of Japan (in 1986), the tape had a difficult childhood as it was forced to compete with Sony's Betamax format."

Eventually, VHS tapes "became the format of choice for millions of consumers. VHS enjoyed a lucrative career, transforming the way people watched movies and changing the economics of the film biz. VHS hit its peak with The Lion King, which sold more than 30 million videocassettes Stateside."

This all changed when DVDs were brought out in 1997. In 2003, DVDs finally overtook the VHS tape and as shelf space dwindled this made the fate of the former format even more dubious.

The article goes on to say that "VHS is survived by a child, DVD, and by Tivo, VOD and DirecTV. It was preceded in death by Betamax, Divx, mini-discs and laserdiscs."

R.I.P. VHS.

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs