Sunday, January 10, 2010

The VCR Is Not Dead!

Sunday, January 10, 2010
Yesterday, I spent about an hour watching old VCR tapes. It was part of my attempt to cull down my worldly possessions before moving house (again). For some reason, I am particularly good at accumulating useless crud. I watched the old tapes because I had no idea what was on them and needed to know whether they were worth keeping. As I stood there, old VCR chugging over, playing an archaic media form that few people still use, I had a realisation - I really miss VCRs!

This set off a plethora of nostalgic memories. I remembered how I would try to record shows back-to-back on tapes, but no matter how precise I was, I would always get a couple of seconds of previously recorded shows between each episode. Also, the comforting feeling of hitting "Record" before going out and knowing that the show would be waiting for me when I got back. Inversely, the overwhelming frustration when I knew I had hit "Record", but the VCR hadn't taped it. I was one of the few kids whose dad knew how to set the VCR timer and actually have it work (most of the time). G-Code was supposed to make it an easy three-step process, but the reliability of execution was still hit-and-miss. Sigh. The good old days!

This got me thinking about the significance of the VCR. That little box of electronic gizmos symbolised mankind's dominion over television. With the VCR, you could filter out all the unnecessary and unwatchable rubbish that they expected us to sit through. It was possible to watch the absolute cream of the television crop with judicious use of the both the "Record" and "Fast Forward" buttons. Nowadays, without the VCR, we have relinquished control back over to the TV programmers. Sure, there is Foxtel IQ and DVD recorders, but how many people have these devices? Most of us don't record anymore. And it's a real shame too - because there's so much rubbish on TV these days....


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