The Last Shipment of VHS Tapes Has Been Made

December 23rd, 2008 at 12:00 am

In the 1980’s, the world was introduced to a new format of video storage, the Video Home System or VHS casette tape.  Today, the last distributor of VHS movies and videos shipped their last shipment.

"It was a sea change," says Leonard Maltin, the film critic and author who has written stacks of books to meet the consumer need for video recommendations. "Hollywood thought it would hurt movie ticket sales, but it didn’t deter people from going to movies; in fact, it only increased their appetite for entertainment. Hollywood also thought it would just be a rental market, but then when someone had the idea of lowering the prices, the people wanted to own movies. They wanted libraries at home, and suddenly VHS was a huge part of our lives."

And so the life of the VHS tape is drawing to an end, certainly not an abrupt one at that but a well deserved peaceful death in its twilight while it’s kids have been taking over the world.  The last movie to be released on the VHS format was "A History of Violence" back in 2006.  Way before that, movie outfits have preferred the digital formats of VCD’s, DVD’s and the new Blu-Ray.  Today,  DVD is the format of choice and Blu-Ray is still gaining acceptance in the mass consumers.

After three decades of steady if unspectacular service, the spinning wheels of the home-entertainment stalwart are slowing to a halt at retail outlets. On a crisp Friday morning in October, the final truckload of VHS tapes rolled out of a Palm Harbor, Fla., warehouse run by Ryan J. Kugler, the last major supplier of the tapes.

"It’s dead, this is it, this is the last Christmas, without a doubt," said Kugler, 34, a Burbank businessman. "I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and I’m done. Anything left in warehouse we’ll just give away or throw away." 

What a waste?  Well, not really.  VHS is not by any chance the best format for movies.  Some sentimental value for the casettes may have grown but it’s nothing to be missed.  It will be forgotten eventually.

Hopefully, this last shipment will spur a wave of collectors to keep this piece of history in tact and never forgotten.