BURBANK-- After years of growing popularity, DVDs have finally
surpassed VHS cassettes as the premier home entertainment medium.
According to figures provided by Video Software Dealers Assn., a
home entertainment trade organization, an estimated 28.2 million DVDs
and 27.3 million VHS cassettes were rented during the week ending
June 15. It marked the first time digital videodisc rentals exceeded
As of Sunday, national rentals for DVDs totaled $96.3 million and
VHS cassette rentals totaled $78.1 million, according to association
Despite the numbers, local experts say this doesn’t mean VHS will
soon join Beta on the extinct list.
“I don’t think a prediction [on videocassettes becoming obsolete]
can be made yet, because DVD players are 50% of the market, where VHS
is 98%,” said Pamela Godfrey, vice president of worldwide publicity
for Burbank-based Warner Bros. “Though the lessening of VHS is still
quite viable at the moment.”
Andrew Mun, a spokesman for Video Software Dealers Assn., said
that not only are customers attracted to the sharper images and
clearer sound quality of DVDs, such added features as filmmakers’
commentaries also appeals to movie buffs. He said that they are less
expensive than VHS cassettes, further boosting their demand.
But, Mun cautioned, don’t expect videocassettes to disappear
“VHS represents a substantial part of the [home entertainment]
business and we don’t think people will throw out their cassettes
just yet,” he said. “There are some titles that are still not
available on DVD. And because of that, VHS still remains attractive.”
Aaron Gasparyan, who manages the Blockbuster Video at 2420 W.
Burbank Blvd., estimates that videocassettes have a shelf life of
about 10 to 15 more years before they become as obsolete as
“The only thing DVDs can’t do is record,” said Gasparyan, whose
store stocks mostly DVDs. “Once [customers] can do that, there will
be no more use for VHS tapes.”