How to Keep Your VCR Alive

How to Keep Your VCR Alive coverHow to Keep Your VCR Alive
VCR Repair for the Total Klutz

Submitter: During the heyday of VCRs, this looks like it was a handy resource and was checked out frequently. Lots of diagrams & very detailed instructions were likely helpful, especially when VCRs were really expensive. But now that most people don’t have VCRs anymore, this book has sat on the shelf since 2008. And it was definitely overdue to be weeded.

We still have a few children’s VHS tapes in our collection because they are relatively indestructible compared to DVDs. But someday, these will disappear as well and only the library elders & former video store clerks will have memories of work generated by patrons who were unkind about rewinding.

Holly: Library Elders! Good one! This is definitely a weeder. Just because you can keep your VCR alive doesn’t mean there are any tapes left to play in it. (*Note to self: get wedding video put on DVD…)

How to Keep Your VCR Alive back cover

How to Keep Your VCR Alive contents

How to Keep Your VCR Alive controls


  1. Oh, there are plenty of tapes out there in the used market (even laser disc, which never had the same level of market penetration, is still booming in used form). I know I’m not the only one who buys ’em. People often overlook that old tech doesn’t disappear just because new tech is around.
    Not disputing that it’s a good one to weed, though.

  2. Arguably, this is more useful nowadays than it was when it was published. If your VCR breaks, its a lot harder to replace it.

  3. Yeah, I’d keep it. Repair shops charge ridiculous amounts of money to fix these things. You’d be surprised at how many VHS collectors are out there.

    1. True, but couldn’t the same be said for a lot of non-fiction books, especially of the how-to variety? I don’t think “you could get the information on the internet” is a good reason to weed a book if it’s actually being used.

      My first though was also that this book would be pretty handy these days since VCRs are so much older and more likely to wear out or break down and it’s harder to find a replacement. That said, if it hasn’t been checked out in five years, it’s a waste of space no matter how useful it is in theory.

      For the record, I still have a VCR and a shelf of VHS tapes (compared to 7 or 8 shelves of DVDs). My VCR gets used two or three times a year, mostly for old or obscure B-movies that never got a DVD release.

  4. They do still sell VCR/DVD combos new in most places (I’ve even seen them at Walmart), but they’re also nowhere near as well-made as even the cheap VCRs of the 1980s and 1990s were. I’m using an older Sony machine to watch old tapes (as well as dub them to DV25 for digital archiving when I feel like it), and it does OK, though I really need the original remote.

    As for the book, the advice about cleaning and maintaining the insides still mostly applies (even on the combo machines), but I doubt anyone’s going to have a TV old enough to require a 75-300 adapter now. A lot of newer VCRs don’t even have tuners or modulators; you have to use the AV inputs!

  5. I still have a VCR and it works fine (dual w DVD) and I an happy to pick up kids videos for my almost 3-yr old daughter at flea markets etc. so if u are ready to weed perfectly good VHS tapes send em to me.

  6. I totally still use my VCR, some movies that I really enjoyed as a kid have never come out on DVD or Blu-Ray so I like to get them real cheap and let my children enjoy them too.

    Plus I could never get rid of my homemade recordings of all the music videos and interviewers of my favourite band when I was a teen has done over the years.

  7. I probably have more VHS than DVD, and no Blue Ray! Yet. The DVD player part is going, but the VCR is going strong. Some of my favorite movies aren’t on anything but VHS.

    I’d love to know about the part on the machine eating tapes! I would much rather read a book, have a repair manual next to me, than look it up online and have to print out the instructions or bring the computer with me!

  8. I see many people commenting on this book being helpful to them, but they must keep in mind that the submitter says it hasn’t circulated for 5 years. If this book was still getting regular use, I’m sure they would keep it. However, given that DVD players are far more common AND that no one has shown interest in it for years, it is definitely a good weeding candidate.

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