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Panasonic pulls the plug on production of VHS videocassette recorder

Thirty-five years after it released its first VCR, Panasonic is ending production of the VHS-format videocassette recorder. While it stopped producing VCRs for the domestic market only at the end of last year, the company does still manufacture VCRs at factories in China and Slovakia to meet a demand that still exists in some markets, a spokesman said.

Panasonic was one of the first Japanese manufacturers to introduce the product, which started selling in Japan in 1977. The first VCR was introduced a year earlier by Victor Company of Japan (a majority-owned subsidiary of Panasonic that has since merged with audio-maker Kenwood to form JVC Kenwood Holdings).

JVC Kenwood stopped its own VCR production in 2006 and it has since stopped selling VCRs entirely. Other major manufacturers such as Sharp have already withdrawn from domestic sales of VCRs.
The VHS-tape VCR became a global standard for home-use videocassette recorders by winning the video format battle against Sony's Betamax technologies.

Even after DVD recorders became popular, Panasonic has been selling a machine which is equipped with both DVD and videocassette recorder functions to meet the need to copy footage recorded on VHS videotapes to DVDs.

Some industry analysts were surprised that the VCR was still produced given that the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association was no longer keeping track of domestic shipments, while it still monitors similarly outdated products such as car cassette stereos.

Story filed 13.02.12

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