VHS VCR Survey Results

AV-1 readers, you are awesome.

In the first of our surveys, we had 130 responses. Some of the responses were not surprising, like the fact that 79% of us have VCRs in up to 75% of our rooms.  That is a lot of VCRs.

Other results were surprising, like the fact that only 34% of us have plans in place to end of life VCRs. Do those of you with plans care to share them with the list?

Would those of you without plans talk more about your circumstances? Is it your position that the VCR will live on indefinitely?

What do you think it means that we are pretty much split 50/50 on whether general counsel or the copyright officer has been involved in analog to digital transition issues?  

Chime in (on the AV-1 list or in comments below) and let us know what you think! (Are you an in-house tech manager or planner who is not yet a member of AV-1? Please join us!)

Question 1: What percentage of classrooms have VHS players?

up to 25% 18 14%
up to 50% 9 7%
up to 75% 30 23%
up to 100% 73 56%


Question 2: Do you know how large of an active collection of VHS tapes your institution has?


Yes 63 48%
No 67 52%

Question 3: Do you have a plan in place to EOL (end-of-life) VHS players?

Yes 44 34%
No 86 66%

Question 4: Is your plan complicated by other uses of the VHS, such as combo units with DVD players, or usage as a cable tuner?


Yes 96 74%
No 34 26%

Question 5: Is/has your copyright officer or general counsel been involved in analog to digital conversion discussions, in order to ensure copyright compliance?

Yes 68 52%
No 64 48%

by Scott Tiner
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

2 thoughts on “VHS VCR Survey Results”

  1. I just found this newsletter *today*.
    I’ve got VHS recorders in about 60 classrooms and my faculty go nuts when they don’t work. I’m now processing everything through a digital scaler, and their 25-year-old junk VHS tapes half the time won’t even play reliably. If I could designate an EOL for VHS, I’d choose “last summer”. I’m using the VCRs as CATV tuners, but that’s not my only option (and CATV is not *required*), and because I have computers in the classrooms, DVD playback is covered.
    We don’t yet have an EOL plan in place, and perhaps the thorniest issue is going to be copyright compliance. A lot of this material on VHS is not available on DVD, and I haven’t yet begun to have that discussion with University counsel…!
    –Dave Althoff, Jr., Capital University, Columbus, Ohio

  2. This problem is becoming a real nasty issue. My university had VCRs in all general classrooms as of 2 years ago, then I pushed to be progressive with a new standard wherein all systems when refreshed are to be fitted with 16×10 projectors and wide format screens. DVD players gave way to Blu Ray players, and only stand alone VCRs would be left in an upgraded room. If the room contained a combo deck it would be removed. This was fine and well until the Professors came calling with 2 decades of media.
    With a bit of research my team and I determined that there are serious legal limitations that we are still trying to wade through. And that for the time being we cannot perform any copying.
    With this understanding i feel that this issue is just as pressing as the loss of the 700mhz spectrum, and the coming HDCP madness.
    My hope is that as technologists we can come together in a forum and collaborate for a solution.
    All the best,
    Joe Sokoloski
    Manager of Learning Technology @ Sacred Heart University

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