Get a VHS Player

diaboliqueIf you have memories from before the 2000s,  you might remember when “videos” meant “videotapes”, usually in VHS format.  (“Betamax” was the other format, but it was the loser in the videotape format war.)  Despite being replaced by the DVD, there are still huge numbers of movies and other forms of fine video entertainment available on VHS tape.  Today they are available at bargain prices.  You can find them at Goodwill stores and other thrift shops, library book sales, yard sales, and the like.  Ebay and Craigslist also.  Many of these tapes have never been viewed and are still in their original shrink wrap.  Others, though unwrapped, are in perfect or near-perfect condition.  Look at the the plastic cassette and label.  The less worn and handled they look, the more likely the tape is in good-or-better condition and will play perfectly.  If the exterior of the cassette is very worn, scratched, or dirty, then it’s probably seen better days, and there’s a good chance the tape has been played many times and may be worn out to the point of being unwatchable.

Many manufacturers make DVD-VHS combo players that can play both DVDs and VHS tapes.  I find it’s worth having one so I can take advantage of the current buyer’s market in VHS tapes.  They often sell for $1 each or even less.  I can’t count how many movies I have watched and enjoyed on VHS.  In retail stores, there might be a few DVDs that cost $1, but they are old out-of-copyright second- and third-rate movies and television shows of the lowest quality.  Or they might be good movies that are out of copyright, but the DVD has been produced from an inferior copy of the original, maybe a tape that was created for television 30 years ago, badly cropped and edited for commercials.  The VHS tapes of yesteryear, on the other hand, are major motion pictures, Academy-award winners, things a movie-buff would really want to see.  Sure, a DVD will produce a better picture, but there a lots of movies I’m just not willing to spend $15 or more to see.  Pre-recorded VHS tapes are a very affordable alternative to DVDs.

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