End of VHS production sees surge in sales

By Benedict Brook

VHS tapes and recorders are practically a museum artifact these days, but there's still a desperate need for them. Photo / 123rf
VHS tapes and recorders are practically a museum artifact these days, but there's still a desperate need for them. Photo / 123rf

Years after most people threw out their VHS machines, there has been a surge in sales to a surprising buyer.

The move to snap up the video recorders was made after the last manufacturer halted production.

In Britain, the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) has shelled out for $14,000 to snap up 30 of the venerable machines.

The scramble for VHS' was revealed by one of Scotland's most senior judges, the Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, during a speech to young lawyers about the future use of technology in courts.

Ironically, Scotland will have to look to past technology if it wants to keep prosecuting some cases.

The problem is that some CCTV footage is still recorded on ageing VHS cassettes. Without having the VHS machines in courts, the footage won't necessarily be able to be played back or used as evidence.

This can lead to cases being delayed or even abandoned.

"It is well known that one of the major obstacles to efficiency in our criminal justice system is the difficulty of storing and sharing at an early stage the vast array of evidence pertaining to cases," said Lady Dorrian.

While they had wanted to keep producing the machines, saying there remained customer demand for them, key components for them were increasingly hard to source.

The SCTS ensured it had ownership of the last batch of the machine for sale in the UK.

A SCTS spokesman said: "The SCTS maintains and upgrades its courtroom technology capability on a regular basis.

"The courts receive evidence in a wide range of formats in both civil and criminal cases from a range of parties, including evidence which has been captured on VHS format.

"Often this is from privately owned CCTV systems. The court needs to be able to present evidence in the format in which parties to a case present it, which is usually the format in which it was recorded," reported the Mirror.

VHS recorders were largely replaced by recordable DVD machines and digiboxes. However, the increase in services where content can be viewed, such as Netflix, Stan and ABC iView, has largely rendered even this new technologies increasingly obsolete.

Japanese company Funai Electric made the world's last video cassette recorder in July.

- news.com.au

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