Nostalgics and hipsters alike are weeping today – the last ever Japanese VCR, made in China, will roll off the line at the end of this month.
Funhai Electric began making the machines seven years after the launch of the format in the 1970’s, according to Japanese media. They are now shutting down production this month due to a lack of demand and difficulty finding necessary parts.
As a world leader in TV and entertainment equipment, Japan’s total abandonment of the format is both saddening and well overdue. When Funhai Electric was selling a peak 15 million machines a year it’s unlikely they foresaw internet TV. Though it’s a credit to the format that it survived to see DVDs also dribble into obscurity.
Funhai says they sold just 750,000 units last year. In recent times they have been producing the machines in China for Sanyo.
Last year Sony announced they were halting production of Betamax, the counterpart to VHS. Both formats require a VCR player such as the one made by Funhai Electric.
So what options does a nostalgic VCR-seeker still have?
Magnavox, a subsidiary of the Philips brand for which Funhai makes products, is one of the brands of VCR player still available for bulk order on Alibaba.com at around $10 USD a piece. You could also pick up an aptly-named fake brand version called ‘Bestamax’, which is also still on sale in China.