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The last VCR manufacturer announces end of production

You could be forgiven for being surprised to discover that anyone is still making VCRs, but Funai - the last Japanese manufacturer to do so - has announced it will cease production this year, reports the Nikkei newspaper in Japan.

Funai has been making VCR machines for over 30 years, but having seen sales drop from a peak of 15 million units to 750,000 last year, and facing rising costs for scarcer parts, the company has announced it will be ending production. Funai has latterly focused on selling TVs, notably those bearing the Philips brand name in the US - and to huge success.

VCR players came to market in the early 1970s, led by Japanese brands such as JVC, Panasonic and Sony, with more than half of UK households owning a player by the end of the 1980s.

Panasonic ended VCR production back in 2012, VHS tapes having long been usurped by DVDs and subsequently Blu-rays in disc-lovers' affections. As a result, UK retailers began to phase out VCR machines in the early 2000s.

Sony's Betamax format took on JVC's VHS format in the 1980s, in one of the first big technology format wars. Having lost out, Sony continued to manufacture Betamax machines until 2002 and the tapes right up until 2012. While VHS managed to last a little longer, it too looks to have finally had its day. Full speed ahead, 4K Blu-ray...

MORE: From CRT to VHS, the tech that got left behind

Joe Cox

Joe is Content Director for Specialist Tech at Future and was previously the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across print and online for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung, reported from CES, the Bristol Show and Munich High End for many years, and provided comment for sites such as the BBC and the Guardian. In his spare time he enjoys mixing vinyl and cycling.