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Videocassette recorder

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Early consumer VCR in a museum

Videocassette recorder (VCR) is an electronic device that records and plays videotapes. Most use VHS or Beta cassettes that contain recordings of movies and other programs (such as music videos, exercise videos, and so on). To watch a recording using a VCR, the VCR has to be connected to a television set.

VCRs at first were mainly used to record programs from television broadcasts. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, many people used VCRs to record their favorite television shows to watch them later. This was called time-shifting.

Watching movies

In the mid-1980s, VCRs became a very popular way for people to watch movies and other recorded programs on their home television. Until the 21st century, video rental stores offered a large selection of movies recorded on VHS tapes that customers could rent. In the 1980s, some video rental stores also offered a smaller number of movies recorded on Beta tapes.

DVDs replaced VCRs

In the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, the DVD player replaced the VCR as the most common way to watch movies on a home television. The VCR sales dropped later, causing the VCR to be used less by people. VCRs are still available, but fewer stores offer them, because fewer people want them.