Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

The Last Good Thing About VHS Tapes

VHS memeWhen you get into the retro game, you'll meet people who will do anything to justify their devotion to their old favorites. It's subjective; love what you love! You don't have to come with some inalienable reason to justify your retro lust. Sometimes those discussions can be fun and interesting. For example, LP collectors have a whole raft of reasons "explaining" why vinyl is superior and remains relevant today. The CD vs. LP argument will continue unabated forever - fair enough. There are some valid technical points that are worth taking about.

It gets weird when folks feel that same pressure to rationalize their love, and it's for something that doesn't have much going for it. I've met people who try to tell me that cassettes sound better than CDs, or that a well mastered VHS tape looks better than a DVD. Those aren't good arguments to try to make; Vhs cabinet2cassettes are far noisier than CDs, and a VHS tape has about half the resolution of DVD and lots of analog noise in the picture. Nothing is going to change those technical shortcomings. Enthusiasts will never win the argument on technical merit, so they should move the benefits discussion elsewhere.

Like we've always said here on Retro Thing, it's okay to like something just because you like it. Sure, it's great to uncover some hidden and forgotten benefit of something old - we do it here all the time. Recently I've been watching some Laser Discs on a modern high def LED TV. The display is far too precise, and the images look just awful... but the LDs still have a distinct (and admittedly odd) benefit in this modern world that has nothing to do with image quality. They're often mixed in with LPs at the thrift - so I can get a Criterion Collection remastered feature film (which used to cost easily $80+) at ten to the dollar. When DVDs came out and were clearly here to stay (for a while anyway...) my friends with large VHS collections tried to come up with elaborate rationalizations of how their VHS tapes still had an edge somehow. They don't, nor do they need to.

Trek VHS2Back then, I do remember saying that the only remaining benefit of a VHS or cassette tape is that is that it stays at the point you left it. You have to re-cue DVDs and CDs if you leave off in the middle. The jokey meme I've included with this post reminded me of that argument. It's a funny place to draw your line in the sand. So by all means, collect what you want to collect, watch what you want to watch. No one can tell you not to like it. Point with pride at your wall holding thousands of VHS tapes... but understand if I'm busy on moving day.


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