VHS on its last legs?
June 21, 2002 6:45 PM   Subscribe

VHS on its last legs? According to source, Circuit City is already phasing out sales of VHS tapes and players in favor of DVDs. Sure, it's an ancient format, but again, not everyone has a TiVo (yet)...
posted by betobeto (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
first of all, since when is Circuit City the authority on anything? that place is a horrible pit of a store, filled with lowest form of management from the store level all the way up, zero customer service, and a joke to anyone who really cares about electronics.

DVDs are the heart of Circuit City's video sales, be it to be used to encourage people to buy new televisions, or to purchase a 5.1 surround system.

as long as the consumer believes that VHS is being supported there is no sense of urgency to go DVD.

Circuit didn't create that urgency, but as ridiculous as they are. they're certainly not going to get in it's way.
posted by tsarfan at 7:01 PM on June 21, 2002

'Bout time...now that I have a DVD player, I never want to see a VHS tape again. Other stores will follow soon, and eventually, the VHS tape will be relegated to the same "good for its time, but no more" heap as the rotary-dial telephone.
posted by davidmsc at 7:08 PM on June 21, 2002

They're considered a "source" after Divx? Pure genius.
posted by chules at 7:12 PM on June 21, 2002

Er, VCRs do more than playback videos. And until DVD players cheaply and easily allow rewritable recording from television, I don't see people phasing out their VHS-based VCRs entirely.
posted by waxpancake at 7:13 PM on June 21, 2002

*whistles past the mpaa graveyard*
posted by lescour at 7:40 PM on June 21, 2002

Bahahahaha! I forgot all about DIVX!

I worked at my local Circuit City branch during the big DIVX rollout and even the employees who were forced to shove it down the customers' throats thought it sucked too.

Also, somewhat ironically, our store was right next to a graveyard. Coincidence? ;)
posted by mmesker at 8:50 PM on June 21, 2002

They're only getting rid of VHS movies. Circuit City will continue, for now, to sell blank tapes and VCRs.

posted by cnelson at 10:42 PM on June 21, 2002

You know, if for some reason another VHS tape was never produced I think somehow, somehow, my life would go on.
posted by krisjohn at 11:20 PM on June 21, 2002

From what my American friends tell me, video recorders are used mostly for watching rented films rather than recording from the telly. The opposite applies over here: we're a culture of 'which do I watch, which do I tape?' (Or, 'work late, tape the night's telly'.) Is that because you're less likely to tape things when you have 247 channels to pick from? Or is it just that there's not much worth recording? (Which I find hard to believe, if TiVo is that popular...)
posted by riviera at 3:51 AM on June 22, 2002

DVDs already take up about 10% of my video store. (It would be even more, if they were shelved the same way, but the DVD cases are leaned flat while the VHS tapes are put in sideways like a book, except for the new releases.) Alas, the major downside of this is that they don't let the actual DVD itself out on the floor like they do the actual VHS tape.

riviera, I think there's a subset of people who tape stuff off the air, and those who do, do it obsessively for certain shows or for particular reasons such as schedule (many of which are easily served by a Tivo, of course). And there's also the subset of people who use their cameras to tape everything in their lives -- but those have largely moved to the minicam format. Otherwise, you're right on all counts, 247 channels, etc.
posted by dhartung at 4:01 AM on June 22, 2002

Ah Circuit Shitty... Here is a company that partnered with an ENTERTAINMENT LAW FIRM and created the "cripple-ware" rental model of DVD known as DIVX.

Worst consumer product launch/idea, EVER:

1. They made it incompatible with standard (non-DIVX) DVD players, leaving out a rather large number of early DVD adopters. (DIVX reared it's head a year or two after the DVD format appeared.)

2. The CEO of Circuit City told those very same early adopters in a press conference they would have to buy new DIVX DVD players since their current DVD players/standards were now (according to him) considered "basic".

3. They wanted consumers to throw away the DIVX discs after the 48 hour rental period (if they chose not to buy the disc) creating endless amounts of garbage and waste.

3. Furious early adopters started a campaign to bring down DIVX (mostly via web sites and boycotts), and cost Circuit City (and partner(s)) millions and lost market share.

I think DIVX is the only example of consumers actively coming out against a product line, and effectively killing it. Thank god it worked.

Now if we can just kill that DVD "rental pricing" model that Blockbuster is pushing...
posted by jca at 5:02 AM on June 22, 2002

"betobeto"? Are you related to betabeta (max)?
posted by groundhog at 5:24 AM on June 22, 2002

I think DIVX is the only example of consumers actively coming out against a product line, and effectively killing it. Thank god it worked.

It didn't flop because of a consumer revolt, it flopped because it was a bad idea and nobody bought it. It could have been a convenient alternative to rentals, but its fatal flaw was that not only did it require a new player, these new players cost $100 more than a standard player. In order for there to be any chance at all at adoption, the price differential needed to be zero, and to get early adopters to switch, they needed to actually offer rebates.

There were also a number of flaws with their licensing model, such as the fact that if you had multiple DIVX-compatible players in your home, the movie had to be licensed separately for each player. However, this wasn't a flaw in the technology per se, it could easily have been rectified on the back end at any time.

There are plenty of technologies that were killed, like DIVX, by consumer indifference, or more bluntly, because they did not offer sufficient value for their price of entry. 3" diskettes, the Digital Compact Cassette, and the Cauzin Softstrip are just three examples I thought of off the top of my head. Had DIVX offered any compelling consumer benefit, the ranting of a few malcontented early adopters would not have mattered, and they were almost certainly not a factor in its failure either, though I'm sure they like to think so.
posted by kindall at 8:17 AM on June 22, 2002

where i work, the dvd rental section isn't nearly as big as the vhs, even taking into consideration that you can stuff way more dvds in the same amount of shelf space, although it's getting bigger. there are just too many older movies that aren't released on dvd yet.

as far as dvds for sale, comparing the relative size of the packaging, we have about the same amount.

i still get tons of people asking for video, and i'm fairly sure it's not going away soon. CDs came out, what, twenty years ago, and we're only just now really begining to phase out cassettes.
posted by sugarfish at 10:04 PM on June 23, 2002

"betobeto"? Are you related to betabeta (max)?

Not in the slightest, groundhog. Nor to Circuit City either, unless having bought a camera there 3 years ago makes me entitled to it :)

That's just what Wired says, which is not to be taken as "the" word, either.
posted by betobeto at 12:30 AM on June 24, 2002

Hmmm, we must be unusual Americans in my family, because we hardly ever rent VHS videos (and nobody has a DVD player), and, apparently like the British, we tape stuff off the TV to watch later, not series we're obsessed with so much as things we aren't home to see or things that are on too late. My father, for example, tapes Friday night boxing because it's on too late for him. I usually tape things like opera or ballet that are not on very often so I don't want to miss them, but prefer to plan when I want to actually watch them. However, I do have one very large of set of VHS tapes that I purchased -- exercise videos. There are a few of those available on DVD, but I think it will be a while before I have to worry about changing systems.
posted by JanetLand at 7:53 AM on June 24, 2002

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