VCR retirement

The Retirement of a Legend

It is with much praise and sadness that I announce the retirement of a legend.

Before you freak out about the possibility that something negative happened already in 2017 (and seriously, people, we don’t need to be so edgy!), this wonderful legend gave twenty years to entertaining and archiving for its owner. It is responsible for much of what that owner shares both here and on my blog. While it still worked somewhat, the best years were behind it, and it was time.

I’m talking about my prized VCR.

What did you think I was talking about?

Last Thursday, for the final time, I attempted a tape transfer using my first and only VCR. But the obvious tracking issues, diminished video quality, and the general incompatibility with my television (which I was remedying with a Hauppage PVR to some success) proved that the VCR was, in fact, old and tired.

But just as beautiful as the day I hooked it up, twenty years ago.

This lovely piece of equipment, the Sharp VC-A552, was a Christmas present in 1996. I remember asking for this very specific one. Mind you, this was before the internet was a big deal (and before we had it in my house), so any researching I did solely came from reading Beat Buy sales fliers and walking around electronics stores. I was fourteen years old, and specifically asked for a “Sharp VCR,” since I had a Sharp television at the time (a lovely 13″ set, a Christmas present in 1995). My middle school had these VCRs included in their A/V equipment, and I was fascinated with how it looked, especially that circular set of buttons. Forget 19 Micron Heads, I wanted the Rewind/Fast Forward Knob! And it was more than just a pretty package, it worked nicely too. Even at 14, I knew exactly what I wanted in A/V equipment.

When I got it, I had aspirations of not only watching movies in the comfort of my bedroom (the ones I wanted to watch!), but also of recording EVERYTHING. I set timers, bought VHS tapes, and for ten years, it was a wonderful relationship. I bought my lovely (but not as long-lasting) DVD recorder in 2006, effectively ending my VCR’s recording days, but it got a new lease on life of transferring recordings to blank DVDs. It was actually used fairly regularly until about five years ago, and I think I was just afraid to overuse it.

By the numbers, this VCR outlasted three televisions (including that Sharp TV), two DVD players (including the DVD recorder I semi-retired the VCR for), survived three house moves, and outlived the remote that came with it.

It was a great remote, folks.

Like all good things (and the great first family VCR we had that I unintentionally murdered in 1996), after seeing the obvious decline in quality (I’d noticed it while putting together the various VCR tests I did last year), I felt it was time to finally retire my VCR completely. It was a sad retirement, but one done out of necessity.

But, never you worry about it – my parents gave me their Panasonic VCR (which is twelve years old, and infrequently used), and I now have something to finish all of those ongoing projects I love having a VCR for.

It doesn’t have a Rewind/Fast Forward Knob, but it does rewind at lightning speed.

Which is a little too fast for its own good. And also has a remote that doesn’t work.

Oh well.

Allison is a firm believer of owning items until you run them in the ground. She has run two VCRs and numerous items of clothing into the ground as a result of that theory. If you like reading things in the vein of VCR retirement notices, you should check out her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can also follow her blog on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Allison’s other most recent retirement? Stinky, her first space heater. 

Bonus content time! Allison wrote several VCR test articles (and made videos to accompany them!). Take a look, if you dare!

Video/VCR Test – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

Video/VCR Test #2 – “The Land Before Time”

Video/VCR Test #3 – “The Albert Achievement Awards”

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