Say the words “VCR” or “VHS” to a teen or child today and they might give you a blank look. They know little about the tapes, the static that was caused when you’d fast forward or rewind, or having to rewind in general. But today, YouTube is bringing a bit of that VHS and VCR history to something they do know — YouTube.
In celebration of the 57th birthday of the first commercial VCR, Google’s YouTube team has added a special Easter egg to the site for the day. “VHS Mode” or “Tape mode” allows you to add static to your HD YouTube videos. On select videos, there is a small tape icon on the left corner of the player box — select it and not only will some small static appear over the video, but when you pause it will enhance the static.
On April 14, 1956 the Ampex VRX-1000 — the first commercial videotape recorder was demoed at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters Convention. According to CED Magic, the VRX-1000 was renamed the Mark IV and was sold for $50,000. Today you can buy a VCR for as low as $69 though the tapes are rapidly fading from the scene.
And today you can apply the “Tape Mode” to select YouTube videos, including YouTube classics like “Double Rainbow,” and “Otters Holding Hands,” for free. Unfortunately, you can’t watch PSY’s new hit “Gentleman” with the fuzzy layer.
Oh, and don’t forget: be kind, rewind.