annually on June 7th
VCR Day is a day to celebrate the videocassette recorder. Over time, VCR’s have been used to play back home movies and commercially made films and programs, as well as to record programming off of television. Prototypes and early versions of the VCR were made in the 1950’s, but they cost thousands of dollars and were only used at large television networks. The Telcan, made it England in 1962, was the first home VCR, which cost what would be the equivalent of over $1,600 in 2014 US currency. It could only record for 20 minutes at a time and was exclusively in black and white. Other various VCR’s competed for the market for the rest of the 1960’s and into the 1970’s. In 1972, commercial films were available to play on VCR’s for the first time, and by the mid 1970’s VCR’s began having mass market appeal. At this time there were a few incompatible types of tape cassettes that were competing for the market share, and eventually the two main types to emerge were Sony’s Betamax, sometimes just known as Beta, and JVC’s VHS, which stands for Video Home System. This competition was known as a “format war”. Eventually VHS won out, mainly because of their longer recording time. VHS was the preferred way to play and record video until shortly after 2000, when DVD’s overtook the market and VCR’s ended up in basements, attics, and yard sales.
How to Observe
VCR Day is celebrated by dusting off your old player and tapes and making some microwave popcorn or Jiffy Pop and sitting down to an afternoon of fun. You may have to adjust the tracking to get the picture right, and fast forward through the previews before getting to your feature presentation. Besides watching motion pictures, this may be a good time to gather your family together and watch those old home videos you’ve been too lazy to transfer to another format. Finally, if you feel like being really adventurous, try to record something off of television to watch later.