Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Internet Giant YouTube employs a "Tape Mode" for videos to celebrate 57 years of magnetic tape magic!

Yes, indeedy, my fellow Videvores. It seems like the analog fever is spreading like we could have never imagined. Apparently even Google-owned internet giant YouTube is giving some attention to our favorite format in celebration of the 57th anniversary year of the release of the Ampex VRX-1000, the world's very first commercially successful videotape recorder, released in 1956.

Well, gentlemen... It WORKS! Now... how the heck are we gonna get this thing to my living room?

As insane and backwards as it might seem, YouTube is now giving their millions of video-craving visitors a chance to experience some analog age wear and tear while watching their videos… or, at least, what they think the inherent qualities of a VHS tape look like, anyway. The new feature is available for a whole host of videos, mainly the videos that YouTube is involved with or heavily endorses.

It's gonna be purty tough to adjust your tracking with a mouse, dude.

Located at the bottom right of the viewer, you can click a small VHS tape icon and BAM: the video gets all jumpy, bumpy and injected with static, pulling to one side and then rolling the picture over a few times... The question is how much more ironic can this get? The Answer: None. None more ironic. Here’s a quote from YouTube about it all: "Not too long ago, the video tape was the media of choice for living rooms around the world. In celebration of the 57th birthday of the first commercial video cassette recorder, check out a fun VHS mode for the YouTube player to relive the magic feel of vintage video tapes. On select videos, you'll find a VHS button in the bottom right of the player -- just click to turn back the clock and enjoy the static and fuzzy motion of the VHS era." And if you pause it, it does something like this:

This rolling of the picture is actually more entertaining than the video itself. DIG IT.

And, like all things with the world weird web, sometimes it doesn’t work:

What? What's this small red icon? Oh, yeah... this isn't really real... technology is weird.

Overall verdict? It’s a nice try, and a groovy recognition and celebration of the Ampex VRX-1000, though this model wasn’t really used in homes as this virtual event slightly implies. This machine was the most primordial of tape readers, and were only used in television stations and well-off indie stations. At $50,000 a pop, and about the size of an office copy machine, not many folks had these in their home (read: none). So, cheers to you YouTube for recognizing a current crazed interest and taking advantage of it under the guise of celebrating something truly groundbreaking. But, really, what’s the coolest part about this? More and more people will be looking back to VHS and remembering the glory days of the tape… and that’s mad groovy. Josh Schafer

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