The Death of the VHS Tape

Jaida Topuzoglu, Writer

The VHS tape is a nostalgic icon. Childhood memories of rewinding the tape for hours on end and losing its case will forever be stuck in the minds of teenagers and adults of today. However, as DVD and digital technology slowly became commonplace in many households, the VHS (“Video Home System”) began to decline in relevance. Although the decline has been quick, the increase in value has gone up a lot since the early 2000’s era.

Before we get into the most cost-valued tapes from the past, we have to discuss what and when caused the VHS tape to lose the number one spot on the shelves of entertainment stores everywhere. Personally, my remembrance of watching our old tapes in the VCR (“Videocassette Recorder”) stops right after the DVD craze began in 2005. As soon as the DVD gained popularity, many families traded their old, dusty VCRs in for a brand new DVD player. Favorite media-based entertainment stores such as Blockbuster stopped selling the VHS tapes.

As of 2019, no companies manufacture any new VCR systems, nor do they produce the VHS tapes themselves. However, this doesn’t stop collectors from trying to collect the most valuable and rare tapes from the past. Many of the most expensive tapes come from Disney’s “Black Diamond” collection. These tapes had a large black diamond logo with “Walt Disney Classics” overtop and were released from 1988 to 1993. Currently, out of the “Black Diamond” collection, Beauty and The Beast (1991) holds the highest estimated price of $600. However, many of the Disney classics have been bought for $1000-$2500, if you are lucky.

Alongside these Disney classics, other valuable tapes include The Star Wars Trilogy, (estimated to be worth $100) E.T., (about $230) and The Legend of Hillbilly John, (about $1110) along with many other movies that cannot be found on any other system. For collectors, it’s worth the high prices to fill their collections, even if the tapes were once worth mere dollars.

Although the tapes and the VCR systems have died off, their legacies leave a revolutionary influence on the digital entertainment systems of today. Many adults and teens who have grown up in the era of technological improvement will never forget when the VCR system and VHS tapes were the hot new item on the shelf. Though the impulse to buy a new tape to watch has decreased over time, the nostalgia they hold impacted the next generations’ ideal forms of entertainment.