Last major VHS supplier throws in the towel

[via arstechnica]

Farewell, VHS... and don't let the door hit you on your way out. Though most of us have given up our VHS players by now in favor of something a little less dated, there have been the usual stragglers in the "old 'n' busted video format" department that have kept VHS alive long past its expiration date. But with the last major VHS supplier in the US ditching the format at the end of this year, the sound of the death knell has forced us to reminisce on VHS and other formats we wish would die with it.

VHS, which became wildly popular in the 80s and rode out its popularity well into the 2000s, has been on a very steady decline since the advent of DVD (and now digital downloads and Blu-ray). As a result, most VHS distributors have long ago ditched the format, but not Distribution Video Audio Inc., which prides itself in keeping little tidbits of pop culture alive. But this is one trend that is finally going to the grave after the 2008 holiday season is over, despite steady sales over the last several years.

"It's dead, this is it, this is the last Christmas, without a doubt," Distribution Video Audio co-owner Ryan Kugler told the L.A. Times. "I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and I'm done. Anything left in the warehouse we'll just give away or throw away."

The last Hollywood-produced VHS movie was released sometime in 2006, which was already well into DVD release territory. Kugler points out, however, that even though major retailers (like Walmart and Best Buy) were phasing out their VHS selection, bargain basement stores like the Dollar Tree and mom-and-pops were still buying inventory from him. He says he also sold to public libraries, military bases, and cruise ships, although those venues are looking for DVDs now too. As it turns out, Distribution Video Audio now sets up discount DVD displays for big-box retailers, although Kugler warns that DVD's days are numbered as well. "The DVD will be obsolete in three or four years, no doubt about it. Everything will be Blu-ray," he said.

With VHS's death about to become a reality, the Ars staff got to thinking about what other formats we'd like to see buried before the end of this decade. I, for one, wish car makers would stop even offering to put cassette players into vehicles—the only function those things are good these days is acting as a cheap intermediary between an iPod and a stereo system. Several other staff members chimed in with the QuickTime .mov and the dusty old .gif when it comes to file formats. What are some of yours?

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