In honour of the 57th anniversary of the first commercial video cassette recorder, YouTube offered “VHS mode” on several of its videos.
On select videos on 15 April, YouTube added a small videotape icon on the bottom right menu, to the left of the closed caption option. Click that and your video would bring you back to the 80s, when adjusting the tracking on your VCR for a clear picture was a common (and infuriating) task.
“Just click to turn back the clock and enjoy the static and fuzzy motion of the VHS era,” YouTube said in a Google+ post.
YouTube did not say how many of its videos received the VHS treatment, or how long the retro mode would be live. It seems to have been a 24 hours tribute act, but fans of the time-warping feature are hoping it becomes a regular part of the YouTube experience.
“You should keep this as an option, not just temporarily,” commented Michael Perrigo.
Some of the videos that received the vintage makeover included this “Do The Cosmonauty” video, as well as Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s recent plea to battle the CISPA cyber-security bill.
YouTube was celebrating the 1956 launch of the Ampex VRX-1000, which was unveiled at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters in Chicago. It was the first practical videotape recorder, but it cost $50,000 (£32,660) so was only available to TV stations.
The first consumer video recorder – the Telcan – made its debut in 1963. But the device, produced by the Nottingham Electronic Valve Company, was only sold in kit form, so a certain level of technical expertise was required to get it to work.
The technology really took off in the 80s, and prompted one of the better-known format wars: VHS vs. Betamax. As we all know, VHS emerged victorious over Sony’s Betamax, helped along in part by the porn industry’s adoption of VHS.
Years later, the adult industry would also weigh in on the DVD format fight: HD DVD vs. Blu-ray, which seemed to end rather abruptly when Warner Bros. put its support behind Blu-ray at CES 2008.Leave a comment on this article