The VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.
By: Jack Valenti
Jack Valenti, then head of the Motion Picture Association of America, famously warned against the use of VCRs at a congressional hearing in 1982. Hollywood was concerned about a machine that could record television programs without requiring any fees. History shows Valenti couldn’t have been more wrong, as consumers ended up spending billions to buy and rent copies of their favorite movies. By 1986, the $4.4 billion consumers spent buying and renting VHS tapes exceeded the $3.8 billion they spent going to the movies at the theater. On July 21, 2016, Japanese manufacturer Funai Electric, the last maker of VHS-compatible video cassette recorders, announced that they would cease producing the devices at the end of the month due to declining sales. Sony said it would cease production of video tapes in its Betamax format in 2015, 13 years after it stopped making compatible recorders.