The Death Of The VCR

admin, 15 March 2012, No comments
Categories: News and Society
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It has recently been announced that VCR’s are obsolete and several electrical chain stores have said that they will no longer stock them. This seemed to happen very suddenly, there is usually a build up to this sort of announcement and we are accustomed to things being gradually phased out. Not this time though, the news just burst upon us and people who have not yet become comfortable with DVD technology are in a panic.

It seemed to me that the VCR had not been around for very long. I could understand this sudden rush on the part of the stores to remove it from their shelves if it was a failed experiment but the VCR has been a monster success. I suppose this is just an example of how the rush towards obsolescence and replacement with new inventions has speeded up.

I don’t have a problem with using a DVD recorder and the discs certainly take up much less storage space than the big old video tapes. It just made me feel suddenly old. No, not quite that, more as if I should be feeling older than I do. Don’t get me wrong, I am not all that ancient (baby boomer if you would care to know), but I have a problem with getting old. The problem is that I never feel any older and the face I see in the mirror sometimes takes me by surprise because in my mind I am still about nineteen. My children are no doubt thankful that my youth remains in my head and is not reflected in my wardrobe or social habits.

When I was a child, the VCR was still waiting around for someone to come along and invent it. Suddenly, it has been invented, been scaled down to a quarter of its original size and is now well on the way to disappearing altogether. The meteoric career of the VCR started me thinking about how many other things which we take for granted did not exist or were too expensive to be owned by the average person when I was a child.

Other generations have experienced massive events and social change. Nothing I have lived through can compare to the two World Wars. There was the invention of the National Health Service, the discovery of penicillin, the industrial revolution, the first aircraft, nylon. If you want to go back further there was the invention of the wheel and discovering how to make fire but I feel as if my generation must have seen a larger number of changes (great and small) than any previous one.

So much has happened within my lifespan: scientific inventions, historical events and cultural changes. Some, like space travel and the internet, are momentous. Some, like motorways, are part blessing and part curse. Some, like the cell phone and everyone owning a fridge, we don’t even notice as being progress because nobody thinks about it. I doubt many people spend time reflecting upon the fact that, a few years ago, the cell phone was the size and weight of a house-brick and needed a long aerial.

The internet has made possible all the mad scientist dreams which inspired the writing of many shelves of fiction. We are now quite blas


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