Production of Video Cassette Recorders, or VCR as they were popularly known and a technology that many youngsters may never even have seen, is finally about to call it a day, at least in Japan. Funai Electric, the only remaining VCR manufacturer in Japan has announced that it would be winding up its operations at the end of August.
Funai Electric, a consumer electronics manufacturer not known to many outside Japan, has been making its own VCRs since 1983 and handling production for other, larger companies, such as Sanyo. Although other companies like Panasonic got out of the market a while back, Funai had been producing VCRs in China for Sanyo, who sold them in the US and other markets. At the height of their production, Funai was making and selling as many as 15 million VCRs per year.
The company cited difficulty in procuring components and contraction of the market — last year it barely sold 750,000 units — as reasons for its decision to stop production. VHS cassettes, however, are likely to stick around for a while yet; they are still easy to find in Japanese stores; but then, Sony only stopped selling Betamax tapes last year even though it ceased production of recorders in 2002.