How to Buy a VCR on eBay

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How to Buy a VCR on eBay

Buying a VCR today is not as popular as it once was. Starting with the rising popularity of DVDs in the early 2000s and with the subsequent proliferation of digital copies of movies and television shows, consumers began switching to buying digital formats and moved away from VHS tapes. Eventually film studios stopped releasing films on VHS tapes, and it is no longer possible to get newly released films this way. However, the players that viewers once relied on to see these newest releases can still be used to view old favourites on VHS tapes. However the downslide of the VHS at the hands of the DVD has led to a more difficult market for VCR purchases. As a result, many people choose to buy a VCR on eBay from sellers who specialise in used electronics. There is a larger supply available on eBay as opposed to brick and mortar shops which sell newer technologies.

Learning how to find, review, and buy a VCR on eBay helps consumers find the device which is right for their personal needs. Understanding individual VCR features available on VCR players, including combination VCR and DVD options also helps consumers purchase intelligently. Finally, learning how to go through the buying process after choosing an eBay seller helps consumers purchase their next VCR without delay.

VCR Basics

VCR is short for 'videocassette recorder'. The term VCR refers to the actual electromechanical device used to record and playback videocassette tapes, not the tapes themselves. The quick development and decline of the VCR is an example of how rapidly the development of technology changes the success and subsequent failure of any one electronic device.

What VCRs Do

VCRs record and play both audio and video in analogue format. They were first developed in the middle of the 20th century, but only gained prominence toward the end of the 1970s. It was at this point that the so-called 'format wars' between VHS (Video Home System) tapes and Betamax tapes won the majority of the consumer market. Eventually, VHS won out.

Though a staple in most households in the 1980s and 1990s, the VCR has fallen out of use in favour of DVD players as well as Blu-Ray players. Now electronic copies of videos and movies are even sold virtually for play on mobile devices such as iPads. However, many people still own and routinely use VHS tapes of older films, or record programmes to their VHS cassette via a VCR.

VCRs in the Twenty-First Century

Though they were an essential element of the film industry for all of the last two decades of the 20th century, the 2000s ushered in a rapid decline among VCRs and the tapes used in them. The digital format of DVDs offers a superior picture quality preferred by most people. In addition, these laser discs do not require rewinding and are far slimmer than their predecessors.

Though some more obscure titles are released on VHS by online retailers and foreign film studios, use of VCRs is limited to classic films from before the year 2008. Any film format is found on eBay making it a logical stop in the search for VCRs and VHS videos.

Why VCRs Are Not Obsolete

Despite their all-but-extinct nature in the video market, the use and sale of VHS tapes and VCRs is still alive and well in several markets. Many consumers have spent years building up a large library of their favourite movies in VHS format, and these films are still just as viewable today as they were in the 1990s. Even if major retailers have shunned them, many smaller merchants, including a large contingent on eBay, still sell VCRs and VHS tapes every day.

VCR Features to Look For

For buyers like those described above who have a large stash of beloved videocassettes, there are several different options when it comes to the purchase of VCRs. Like VHS tapes, VCRs are no longer made new in stand-alone units. However, small-scale electronics dealers can offer buyers 'new' VCRs, in that they are in their original factory boxes having never been used. These old models are left over from the height of the VCR era and are often available for a fraction of the price of DVD players. In addition, used VCRs are still sold as consumers make room in their entertainment units for newer technologies. Each of these VCR units has its positives and negatives which includes a list of features and options that buyers should consider.

Picture Quality Considerations

In choosing a VCR, the more 'heads' the unit boasts, the better the quality of the picture that the VCR produces. Therefore, a two-head VCR may be less expensive, but it is outperformed by a four-head unit. A four-head VCR also offers a better ability to freeze frames, fast-forward, or playback videos in slow motion. It should be noted that rarely are buyers able to find six-head VCRs.

Sound Quality Considerations

Just as VCRs offer different levels of picture quality, different types of VCRs offer better quality sound than others. Users who plan to hook up their VCRs to home theatre systems need to look for a Hi-Fi Stereo VCRs. These units allow owners to play video using the stereo sound which is most popular among Hollywood movies. This feature allows users to create movie theatre-like surround sound systems. If surround sound is not a priority for some users, then mono sound VCRs are available and, like two-head VCRs, they are generally offered at a lower price.

Super VHS (S-VHS)

Super VHS players, shortened to S-VHS, offer users a higher screen resolution than standard VHS players. This higher resolution means that the picture quality on S-VHS players is much better. The difference is that VCRs with S-VHS provide a screen resolution of 400 lines per inch compared to 200 lines per inch in standard VHS VCRs.

However, it is important to note that in order to benefit from this difference in quality, the television used to view the image must be capable of showing high-resolution videos. This means it must have an S-VHS cable and S-Video option.

Combination VCR/DVD Players

For some buyers, even though they may own many beloved VHS tapes, the lure of DVD is too strong. This is made worse by the fact that individuals can no longer buy new release movies on the VHS format. These buyers may want to consider purchasing combination DVD and VHS players. These units have spaces to insert old VHS tapes as well as slots for DVDs, and may present the best of both worlds.

Choosing to Buy a VCR on eBay

Once you have determined the type of VCR that is most appropriate for your life, television, and home theatre setup, the process of finding a unit is far more complex that is was even a few years ago. Remember, VCRs and VHS tapes are no longer produced by manufacturers, so the only way to get one is through a dealer or an individual who perhaps owns a used or never-opened unit. Thankfully, both of these options are available on eBay.

By typing in your preferred search query within the search bar on any of eBay's web pages, you then see lists of results returned. If there are too many options for you to look at, be sure to filter according to your predetermined search parameters. If you know you only want to spend a few quid, be sure to limit your search accordingly.

The Benefits of Shopping on eBay

Individuals who choose to buy a VCR on eBay also enjoy a number of additional benefits available to all eBay users on every purchase they make. Buyers can shop confidently on eBay because, unlike classified adverts, flea markets, or yard sales, buyers can research the seller and ensure, through feedback from other customers, that the seller offers good customer service and quality products.


Because of the popularity of digital video formats, new VCRs and VHS tapes are no longer made by manufacturers. However, those who still love this format and who may own a ton of VHS tapes from the old days can still buy a VCR on eBay. Before deciding to do this, however, there are several facts which buyers must consider. Important facts include looking into picture quality, sound quality, S-VHS, and VCR/DVD combinations. Which of these options is best for buyers depends on their budgets, priorities, and the capabilities of their other devices such as televisions and sound systems.

Once buyers determine what they need from a VCR, they then need to learn how to buy one on eBay. This means searching for the right unit as well as looking into additional benefits afforded to eBay users, such as purchase protection and shipping options. All of these steps add up to both an increase in the amount of VCR choices available and a decrease in the amount of money spent during the VCR buying process.

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