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    Why not clear/translucent VHS Tapes?
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    Senior Member roxics's Avatar
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    It occurred to me last night that I've never seen a clear/translucent VHS tape. I did an image search and found this and there weren't a lot of images to pick. Probably because they weren't really around. Why they weren't around is what puzzles me. We went through a phase in our society in the late 90s/early 00s where we had translucent colored everything. You can find audio cassettes like this, 3.5" floppy disks, minidiscs, all kinds of stuff. So what happened with VHS tapes?

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    Interesting. Back then I thought it was neat to see inside tapes, discs etcetera. I probably would have bought some of those. And if they made white, white ones for weddings.


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    Moderator David Jimerson's Avatar
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    Who knows? Probably not worth the cost.
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    I think you ask an unanswerable question. Or maybe it is answerable and the answer to why there wasn't a translucent VHS fad is "because there just wasn't".

    VHS tapes were produced in colored housings. Just not in clear plastic. Or at least not often. Maybe it had something to do with the availability of clear plastic and / or the cost? In the end I think it mostly just a cultural quirk. It just didn't become a "thing" for whatever reason.

    I like your curious mind. I often ponder such imponderables as well. I used to ask such questions out loud around a co-worker years ago and one day he snapped at me something to the effect of: "There are just some things you shouldn't think about, okay?!? There's no point. So stop it.".

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    My best guess is that it would have confused shoppers, who would wonder if it was some new format, incompatible with their VCRs. I'm not saying that everyone would have been confused or even most. But I wouldn't be surprised if companies tried it and then cancelled it, because the clear tapes sold less than the normal black ones.

    I myself would have loved them, but I must admit they look exotic.


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    Senior Member mainstreetprod's Avatar
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    The audio cassettes were clear because in some players you could see the tape moving. Not possible in most VCR's.
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    Senior Member roxics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainstreetprod View Post
    The audio cassettes were clear because in some players you could see the tape moving. Not possible in most VCR's.

    True. Though that doesn't apply to floppy discs and minidiscs and those came in translucent colors as well. So who knows really.


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    Senior Member roxics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by combatentropy View Post
    My best guess is that it would have confused shoppers, who would wonder if it was some new format, incompatible with their VCRs. I'm not saying that everyone would have been confused or even most. But I wouldn't be surprised if companies tried it and then cancelled it, because the clear tapes sold less than the normal black ones.

    I myself would have loved them, but I must admit they look exotic.
    Maybe. That's something I didn't consider. As much as I would like to admit it would be hard for me to believe people would be that clueless, I know at least some would have been. But then you'd think that philosophy would have applied to the other formats that got the clear treatment as well.

    My best guess is that the translucent plastic just cost more, especially when you multiply that by the number of possible colors and the shorter production runs for each. Then add in the amount of plastic needed to be used due to the larger size of the tape compared to other formats that got the same treatment. My girlfriend also suggested to me that VHS was starting to go on its way out at that time due to DVD. Though many people still used VHS, especially for recording. But I believe DVRs like the Tivo were starting to come into fashion around this time. I could be a little early on that last point.


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