VCRs changed the way people watched television and movies in the 1980s. In 1976, Sony launched the BetaMax, a precursor to the VCR, thinking it would only be used for recording television programs.
BetaMax's Legal Issues (03:58)
Universal Studios took Sony to court over the BetaMax, citing that it allowed people to commit copyright infringement. The television networks were worried about the loss of revenue from royalties and advertising. In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court determined video recording was allowed.
Video Home System (03:23)
The VHS launched in 1977. It could record twice as long as the BetaMax and was cheaper. Cassettes for the VHS were expensive, so a rental market was established in the United States and Europe.
Video Rental (04:07)
While film studios tried to ignore new video rental stores, the porn industry took full advantage. The porn industry was the first to realize the profitability of people watching videos in private. Market demand continued despite push back over morality issues.
Video Programming (04:13)
Producers began to see the potential for programs made specifically for the video cassette market. Workout videos were the first big success. Camcorders allowed anyone to make video tapes.
Video Stores (04:19)
The sale of VCRs increased with the widening home video market. The number of video stores significantly increased and they became social spaces.
Horror Videos (04:34)
Home video allowed younger viewers to see horror films, which greatly increased its popularity. Horror directors pushed the limits of gore.
Censorship in Great Britain (05:13)
Many were appalled by violent and gory horror videos. Parliament passed a law banning certain horror films, creating a video trading network for horror fans.
Blockbuster Video (03:05)
Blockbuster, launched in 1987, was the first video store chain. It changed the market by having numerous copies of newly released videos. It created a business partnership between film studios and the VHS market.
Home Video in Communist Markets (09:10)
Any films that were deemed anti-Communist could not be released. Many people began copying tapes and circulating them in Communist nations. The underground market used all the principles of capitalism.
Decline of VHS (02:34)
DVDs in the 1990s and streaming services in the 2000s replaced VHS. Most video rental stores have closed.
Credits: VHS Revolution (00:54)
Credits: VHS Revolution
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