The 90s brought joy to many, this humble writer included. I’ll say it: I loved the 90s. As far as I’m concerned, it was the pinnacle of human progress. You might not believe me, and this perspective is probably due to my wire-rimmed, rose colored glasses, but I’m going to elaborate anyway.
Cartoons were the best they’d ever been and would ever be (SpongeBob excluded from this calculation). Insurance was affordable. Houses were affordable. Things were good.
I do take issue, however, with one aspect of the 90s that I assuredly DO NOT miss. That’s VHS tapes.
These days we have Netflix and video on demand, but back in the 90s, we had to watch VHS tapes. Watching them was a huge process. Usually, you started out the viewing party by taking two to three minutes to rewind the movie. That’s because the previous nerd (read: my big sister) didn’t rewind it after her last viewing. Then, you had to try and fast forward through the previews. Then, once you were finally ready to start watching the movie, you had to refill your Dr. Pepper and popcorn because you just wasted 20 minutes.
Now, why anyone would subject themselves to this misery anymore is beyond me. I suppose certain family videos exist that only grace the celluloid of these black-boxed monsters. These days, VHS tapes are rare, but the means with which to watch them are even rarer. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a VCR. That makes watching VHS tapes basically impossible.
As far as I can tell, you have basically two options to watch your old VHS tapes.
Find a VCR.
That’s right, start trolling your local flea markets and yard sales. Ask Best Buy employees if they have any VCRs in the stock room in the back. They’ll be covered in a two-inch layer of dust. Do what you can to fashion a makeshift VCR out of sticks and binoculars. Go visit your grandmother. Do what you have to. You’ll find a VCR somehow, probably.
Get your VHS tapes digitized.
In a world of convenience and simplicity, this option must be the biggest no brainer in the history of no brainers. Go to legacybox.com, enter your information, and allow Legacybox to digitize your VHS tapes for you. They’ll do the heavy lifting and send you a USB stick with all of your precious home videos on them. Sure, this option doesn’t help you watch your collector’s edition of The Little Mermaid, but Disney Plus already does that anyway.
While the 90s were a great time of process, happiness, and general ease, VHS tapes will forever serve as a scar on the perfection of what could have been the perfect decade. Endless rewinding and fast forwarding ruined any movie nights you thought you were going to have.
I don’t miss VHS tapes. But if you’re looking for the best way to watch them now, just go ahead and get them digitized. It’s the only sensible solution.