Were VHS rewinders snake oil?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by 2trackmind, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. 2trackmind

    2trackmind Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I can see how it would have been useful for video rental stores but I’m still not sold on the benefit for the average Joe. Every VCR has a rewind function. I guess if one is really paranoid about wearing it out from rewinding then a dedicated rewinder serves its purpose.

    Personally, I would have been more worried about putting rental tapes in my VCR because who knew what crud was on the tape paths of the previous renters’ VCRs.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  2. genesim

    genesim Forum Resident

    St. Louis
    But you can't avoid the rental part (at least back then at the prices for buying new!).

    The mechanics savings on the player is key. I never heard that it was better for the VCR tapes other than the fact that a worn out motor could damage a tape I guess...but then again if the player is that bad, playing is going to to do it as well.

    The average joe didn't care (and who seriouisly considers them anway? ;) Aren't they the equivalent of the Netflix drones?), the video collectors liked their players and wanted to save them as long as possible. Makes sense to me. Would you put unneeded stress on a player that had large readers and great scalers or video stabilizer that is expensive just to rewind a tape? Spend the 10 to 20 bucks and have something dedicated. Also for editing, it also makes more sense, because you can have the first tape rewinding and ready for storage since you are done with it, while tape 2+ can have its concentration back to the machine.

    Also I am often trying to be considerate (like the Be Kind Please Rewind moniker) so along with the obvious it is limiting the time that the crappy rental is kept in my machine wearing it down further.
    Regginold31 likes this.
  3. dprokopy

    dprokopy Forum Resident

    Near Seattle, WA
    Why would a VHS manufacturer sell you a device that saves wear and tear on a machine they were also trying to sell you?
    Drifter likes this.
  4. 2trackmind

    2trackmind Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Well, the VHS manufacturers did make head cleaning tapes, so why not?

    hi_watt likes this.
  5. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    Generally, different manufacturers. VCRs were made by big companies, rewinders were usually made by companies you never heard of. But the thing about them slamming the tape was true, and we had some favorite models that would adjust the speed of the rewind motor to slow down as it got near the end of the tape.

    That said, working at an AV store with a video rental department, I became quite adept at taking VHS tape cartridges apart, repairing breaks and splicing clear leader to make two tapes out of one broken one (running a splice over a VHS head was not advised.)
  6. Thrillsville

    Thrillsville Forum Resident

    Port Coquitlam, BC
    Our first two VCRS that we owned sequentially eventually wouldn't rewind at the proper speed after a while. They would fast forward at a normal speed but rewind was excruciatingly slow and you could hear the motor struggling.

    They rewound exponentially - starting off quickly and then gradually keep slowing down the longer the rewind went on. One of them just gave up in the end and didn't reach the beginning of the tape. When they were new they rewound at a constant quick speed to the beginning of the tape.

    When the first one gave up we got another one (different brand) we used it in the same manner thinking it was a defect of the first one. But then that one eventually developed the same problem.

    When we got our next VCR we also got a tape rewinder.
    Regginold31, SandAndGlass and jriems like this.
  7. balzac

    balzac Forum Resident

    I've seen a number of VHS tapes snapped off the reel due to high speed rewinders. Most (if not all) rewinders I recall were cheap units that did indeed rewind *very* fast, but didn't slow down at the end. If you were rewinding an old or cheap videotape, it could literally snap the tape off the reel. I saw this happen several times. And, if it didn't immediately break the tape off the reel, it would snap it back so that it would end up snapping sooner.

    Later-era VCRs actually had a feature built in that would slow down while rewinding once the tape reached near the end.

    So yeah, I'm sure rewinders were great for rental stores. I'm also guessing they occasionally broke tapes in the process, especially older ones that would be found in older, indie stores.

    (Yes, I'm aware a tape can be taken apart and the tape respooled. I did it myself with some scotch tape a few times. But it wasn't easy for a "consumer grade" sort of person to do. Scotch tape didn't hold that well, meaning you always had to make sure to stop rewinding the tape, even in a VCR, just before the beginning. And, it tended to create tracking problems with VCRs since the tape might be not be perfectly lined up when taped to the reel).
  8. metal134

    metal134 Forum Resident

    Canton, OH, USA
    My family had one and I used it all the time/ As others stated, it was much faster and also allowed me to put in another tape right away.
  9. Mirrorblade.1

    Mirrorblade.1 Forum Resident

    I had a lot those it really helped with having vhs.
  10. citizensmurf

    citizensmurf Ain't but the one way.

    Me too. Except the one we had didn't slow down when it got close to the beginning. Several times it snapped the tape off the spindle and I had to do some surgery.
    eric777 likes this.
  11. Grant

    Grant Senior Member

    United States
    This was exactly the reason they existed. That, and to make rewinding tapes faster for inconsiderate customers who returned their unwound tapes to the rental store.
    Instant Dharma likes this.
  12. eric777

    eric777 Astral Projectionist

    Yeah that would be a pain. Ours slowed down. I do remember doing surgery on those as well. We used scotch tape.
  13. Pickoid

    Pickoid Forum Resident

    Little Rock, AR
    The VHS rewinders were fine, but the DVD rewinders had an element of snake oil, IMO.
  14. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Senior Member


    I don't know if this is a real product or a Photoshop job or what, but there you go. :)
    Gumboo, andrewskyDE, BNell and 6 others like this.
  15. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Yo-Yoing where I will...

    Brooklyn New York
    Same purpose that a crapola cassette deck used for rewind only serves: saves wear and tear on the good decks.
    carrick doone likes this.
  16. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Senior Member

    I misread this as "Crayola Cassette Deck" and was trying to figure out what that was. :laugh:
    Simon A and Wally Swift like this.
  17. Texastoyz

    Texastoyz Forum Resident

    Texas, USA
    While rewinding the tape that you just saw, you could be watching the other tape that you rented from the video store. The same video store that would probably tack on some extra fee the next time you rented movies for not returning them back full rewound.
    Drifter likes this.
  18. Texastoyz

    Texastoyz Forum Resident

    Texas, USA
    If the tape snapped, better it snapped in the rewind machine, than in your actual vhs player.
    Simon A and SandAndGlass like this.
  19. clhboa

    clhboa Forum Resident

    My red '57 Chevy died about 10 years ago.
    hi_watt likes this.
  20. FVDnz

    FVDnz Forum Resident

    And such a chore it used to be after all these customers (numerous repeat offenders, lol) never rewound their tapes! All those times we used to leave reminder notes on their accounts, but still, they didn't care! :p
    eric777 likes this.
  21. Drifter

    Drifter AD survivor

    Vancouver, BC, CA
    However, sometimes it would destroy a tape, especially a 160 minute one!

    Not necessarily true.
  22. SonOfAlerik

    SonOfAlerik Forum Resident

    Westland, MI USA
    It's real.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  23. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member

    Simon A, oskaraleman and Gems-A-Bems like this.
  24. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    SandAndGlass and Pinknik like this.
  25. PH416156

    PH416156 Alea Iacta Est


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