VHS tapes are like your crazy ex from high school. They were good to have around, but they had their time, and, you know, it’s better to just leave them in the past. Sometimes it’s better to just let go and forget about the insanity you endured for young love.
VHS tapes opened up our world to new possibilities, but there was just enough of an annoying quality about them that you couldn’t help but wait for something better to come around.
But I digress. In the case of VHS tapes--and their partners, VCRs--there were some quirks that are a bit fun to think about in retrospect, but you also wouldn’t put yourself through the pain again. Nobody liked rewinding tapes after watching, but we did it because we had to. Relationships require this sort of give and take sometimes.
In honor of these antiquated, strange, black, rectangular things called VHS tapes, here are some fun facts about them that you probably never considered before.
- 812 Feet - If you were to pull all of the film out of a normal VHS tape, it would be around 812 feet long. That’s almost three football fields long!
- 24 FPS - VHS tapes playback at around 24 frames per second. For reference, the human brain requires about 16 frames per second to see video-like movement. Anything slower just looks like pictures back to back.
- 132,000+ Frames per VHS Tape - If we do a little bit of math, and assume that the average film is a smidge over 90 minutes long, that means every VHS tape has over 132,000 frames each. That’s a lot of frames!
- The Young Teacher (1976) - The first home movie to be released in the VHS format was a South Korean film called the Young Teacher. It was only available across the pond, but that movie is the first one to create the VHS home video market.
- Titanic - Titanic was almost an impossibly popular movie. And it’s a great movie! What makes Titanic so strange is that, due to its popularity, it was the only movie that was available on VHS at the same time that it was in theaters. Weird!
- 2016 - Pour one out for your homies. 2016 is when the very last VCR was manufactured. I guess not everything goes gentle into that good night.
- The Lion King (32 million+ sold) - The highest selling VHS tape of all time is The Lion King. This incredibly popular Disney cartoon sold over 32 million copies! That’s a lot of Hakuna Matatas!
- Last movie on VHS: A History of Violence - If you’re ever at trivia night, you might run across this question. The last movie to ever be printed on VHS was A History of Violence. This Viggo Mortensen film is pretty good, but I would never have guessed that this was VHS’s swan song!
- $3,500 - Some VHS tapes are unbelievably valuable these days. If you have your eyes set on getting a sealed copy of Star Wars on VHS, it’ll cost you around $3,500. Allegedly, some Black Diamond versions of old Disney VHS tapes have sold for over $20,000!
- 2002 - Everyone knows that DVDs were the new kid on the block that knocked VHS off of its home media throne. But did you know that it wasn’t until 2002 that DVD sales overtook VHS? Now you know.
Even though VHS tapes were incredibly popular at the time, their lifespan was surprisingly short. They only really existed in earnest for around 30 years. But hey, what a 30 years we had, eh?