If you’ve ever wondered, “What happened to VCRs?” you’re not alone. The former living room staple disappeared with little fanfare, leaving little evidence to show it even existed. As the MiniDisc player, floppy disk and fax machine were discovered, the invention and disappearance of technology is a fairly ruthless process. So let’s take a look at the history (and fate) of VCRs and VCR/DVD combos before checking out where you can still get your hands on them.

What is a VCR?

A VCR (or VCR) is a device capable of playing analog video and audio information stored on a VHS tape/cassette through a connected television. This process involves loading a VHS (home video system) tape into the VCR via a mechanical load (and eject) system. Once loaded, a number of recording heads in the VCR read and convert the information stored on the VHS tape into TV-compatible signals that can be watched and listened to. If this all sounds too complicated, think of a VHS as a less advanced but more mechanically complicated DVD and VCR as a DVD player.

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The History (and Death) of the VCR

At the time of the original VCR’s release in 1976, it was state-of-the-art and sought-after technology. Compact (for 1976) inch-thick VHS tapes could be purchased or rented before being enjoyed at leisure by the owner of the VCR. VCRs gave viewers more freedom over which TV shows and movies to watch and when to watch them.

This convenience has led to the rise of the VCR to unparalleled supremacy in the home entertainment industry. Along with this 30-year reign came the rise of the home video store, which saw companies like Blockbuster Video become household names for buying and renting VHS tapes.

However, just before the turn of the millennium, the digital versatile disc (DVD) and DVD player were born. This new technology was far superior, and consumers were quick to react, and DVDs took the lead in 2002. Compared to each other, the advantages of DVD over VHS tape include:

  • Be more physically compact

  • Be more durable/reliable — no moving parts

  • Higher quality digital (not analog) information storage

  • The ability to jump instantly

  • No need to be rewound

  • Have fewer long-term storage issues

Thus, the days of the VCR were numbered. The last movie to be put on VHS was A history of violence in 2006, while the new VCRs officially ceased production in 2016. According to Forbes, the latest VCR was made by a Japanese electronics company called Funai. Luckily, if you still have a pile of VHS tapes in the attic or are just interested in exploring old technology, there’s always a chance to buy a new, used, and refurbished VCR. Additionally, you can find many VCR/DVD combo devices for sale on sites like Amazon.

If you’ve got a bad case of nostalgia and a stack of VCRs in your attic, you’ll find the best VCD/DVD combo players below.

The best VCR/DVD combos you can still buy online

While manufacturers may have discontinued VCR and VCR/DVD combo devices, that doesn’t mean it’s particularly hard to get one. Yes, you can pay a little more if you’re looking for a new, unused device, but if you’re happy with a used or refurbished device, there are plenty of great deals out there. Below are SPY’s top picks for the best new and used devices available.

1. Toshiba SD-V296 DVD/VCR Combo

If you want a brand new device, this Toshiba SD-V296 DVD/VCR combo may be what you’re looking for. The sleek VCR/DVD combo can play VHS, CDs, DVDs and VCDs and offers multiple features including one-touch recording, DVD simultaneous playback and VHS recording and JPEG viewing. The ColorStream Pro also offers some of the highest on-screen color quality ever seen in VHS. Also, if you want to save a few bucks, the combo drive is available in both used and refurbished devices.

VCR combo dvd dvd player toshiba sd v296

VCR combo dvd dvd player toshiba sd v296

Buy: Toshiba SD-V296 DVD/VCR Combo $589.00

2. Panasonic VCR VHS Hi-Fi Stereo Player Recorder

At less than $70, this Panasonic PV-8662 Hi-Fi VCR VHS Stereo Player Recorder is a budget-friendly answer to reviewing your VHS tapes on screen. The four-head device includes several user-friendly features, such as a program index search function and Hawaii-Fi stereo sound. Also, it’s worth noting that eBay is a great place to start your search if you’re looking for the cheapest way to buy a VCR.

panasonic pv 9450 vhs dvd combo

panasonic pv 9450 vhs dvd combo

Buy: Panasonic VCR VHS Hi-Fi Stereo Player Recorder Prices vary

Buy: Prices for used/refurbished/new VCR players vary

3. Panasonic VCR VHS Player

This Panasonic VCR VHS player is another used option that includes all the key elements needed to enjoy your VHS collection on screen. For a more enjoyable viewing experience, the player automatically adjusts and corrects the digital image and tracking. It also has four heads and front and rear composite AV inputs. The user-friendly button layout makes it a great choice for anyone of almost any age to understand and use. In addition, it is still possible to buy this VHS player as new.

dvd combo vcr panasonic vhs player

dvd combo vcr panasonic vhs player

Buy: Panasonic VCR VHS Player $125.90

4. Sony SLV-D380P DVD/VCR Combo Player

The Sony SLV-D380P DVD/VCR combo player can rewind a T-120 VHS tape in as little as 120 seconds. It also has progressive (480p) output for a DVD player and can handle CD, MP3 and JPEG playback. The combined device is also supplied with the original multi-band TV remote control and batteries. It is equipped with a four-head Hi-Fi stereo and offers a 30-day money back guarantee to provide greater purchase confidence.

what happened to the sony slv vcrs

what happened to the sony slv vcrs

Buy: Sony SLV-D380P DVD/VCR Combo Player $148.99

5. Sony VCR VHS player

In addition to the Sony VCR VHS player, this bundle includes several handy extras to ensure you’re ready to start watching your tapes right away. The multi-piece combo comes with a remote control, HDMI cable, AV cable, AV:USB adapter, AV:HDMI converter, and VHS scanning software. This is a great setup for users looking for a way to transfer their VHS collection to DVDs or create digital video files. Plus, every purchase comes with a 30-day free return policy.

what happened to vcrs sony vcr vhs transfer

what happened to vcrs sony vcr vhs transfer

Buy: Sony VCR VHS Player $179.00

6. FUNAI DV220FX4 DVD/VCR Combo

The UNAI DV220FX4 DVD/VCR combo keeps things simple. Line recording, four heads and progressive scan video give you the right balance of quality and control. The user-friendly layout of buttons under each functional element makes it an easy-to-learn device. The included remote control further adds to that familiar and convenient feel, while video outputs, audio outputs (left and right), Dolby Digital and an S-video output complete the package.

what happened to vcrs funai

what happened to vcrs funai

Buy: FUNAI DV220FX4 DVD/VCR Player $228.99

7. JVC VCR/VHS player

Although it may be second-hand, you can be confident when buying this JVC VCR VHS player. Each device has been inspected, tested, and cleaned by trained personnel and is backed by a 90-day Amazon Renewed Warranty. In addition to the VCR, the box contains a remote control, instruction manual, AV:HDMI converter, HDMI cable, AV:RCA cable and USB capture device with accompanying software. This gives you the key elements you need to create digital files from your existing VHS tapes.

what happened to vcrs jvc vcr vhs transfer

what happened to vcrs jvc vcr vhs transfer

Buy: JVC VCR/VHS Player $378.99

8. Magnavox DVD Recorder/4 Head Hi-Fi VCR

The Magnavox 4-Head Hi-Fi DVD Recorder/VCR is a feature-packed combo player with almost everything a DVD and VCR enthusiast could ask for. It is capable of upscaling to 1080p and includes HDMI output, S-video input/output and Dolby Digital output. Conversion capabilities include DVD to VCR and vice versa, which means it’s a great option if you want to convert VHS tapes to their latest legs. Plus, it can record for up to six hours, giving you plenty of time to do what you need.

magnavox dvd recorder vcr

magnavox dvd recorder vcr

Buy: Magnavox 4-Head Hi-Fi DVD/VCR Recorder $449.99

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