VCR machine bows out of the market; Japan to stop production

  • The Japanese company making VCR machines has announced it will stop production this month
  • The company cited declining sales, stiff competition and difficulty in sourcing parts
  • Its chief competitor, Betamax players, ended its storied history last year

Kids of the 80s and the 90s now need to say goodbye to one of their favorite sources of entertainment in those decades after the last Japanese company manufacturing the VCR machines announced recently it will finally end production this July.

VCR, short for videocassette recorder or simply video recorder, dominated the market for nearly a decade until it was superseded by the more advanced DVD technology earlier in the 2000s.

Funai Electric, the company which also manufactures VCRs for the more popular brand Sanyo, has announced it will cease production end of this month.

Citing declining market coupled with difficulty in sourcing parts, Funai Electric said it will close down its VCR production unit after 40 years.

“A company that was making parts for us said it was too tough to keep making them with sales at this level so they stopped which led to our decision — we can’t make them without that part,” said a spokesman for the company.

At its peak, Funai used to sell 15 million units each year until VCD and DVD, and later on, Blu-ray players came into the picture.

While it managed to sustain production despite the stiff competition, the company only sold 750,000 machines last year; mostly in China and North America.

VCR machines are used in playing two competing widely-popular formats in the 80s and the 90s – Sony’s Betamax and JVC’s VHS.

Betamax entered the market in 1975 and followed by VHS a year later, but it was during the 80s that the market boomed; prompting several companies like RCA, JVC, AMPEX, Matsushita Electric / Panasonic, Sony, and Toshiba to join in the development of the VCR.

In 2002, Sony announced it will stop manufacturing Betamax players but will continue making Betamax tapes until November 2015.

With its chief competitor Betamax bowing out of the market last year, Funai Electric became the last company to manufacture VCRs until the recent announcement was made.