Japan 'to stop making VCR machines'

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VHS on beachImage source, Thinkstock
Image caption,
VCRs were used to play and record onto VHS cassettes

The last videocassette recorder (VCR) in Japan will be produced by the end of the month, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

Funai Electric has been producing VHS-playing VCRs for 33 years, most recently in China for Sanyo.

But last year it sold just 750,000 units, down from a peak of 15 million a year, and has been finding it difficult to source the necessary parts.

VCRs were introduced in the 1970s but were superseded by DVD technology.

Last year, Sony announced it would stop selling Betamax video cassettes - a rival to the VHS. VCRs were required to play or record such tapes.

It was 12 years ago that UK High Street retailer Dixons decided to phase out the sale of VCRs due to the popularity of DVD players.

'Niche market'

Some vintage technologies - such as vinyl - have enjoyed a renaissance.

However, Tania Loeffler, an analyst at IHS Technology, does not think the same nostalgia will ever be felt for VCR-playable formats.

"I don't see VCR becoming like vinyl, where a lot of people appreciated the warmness of how something sounds on vinyl," she told the BBC.

"The quality on VHS is not something I think anyone would want to go back to."

However, she added that a niche market for accessing VHS content, perhaps for archival purposes, would probably mourn the loss of VCRs if they became unavailable.