SAMSUNG VR8559 Hi-Fi VCR

Look at this bad boy. It’s probably older than you are, if you use TikTok.

All right, but seriously. IT’S A FREAKING WORKHORSE. This baby has been chugging along for TWENTY-THREE YEARS. The SAMSUNG VR8559 4-Head Hi-Fi VHS Player was manufactured in 1998. This baby measures 14.3 x 10.5 x 5 inches and weighs in at 6.4 lbs. Find me another piece of tech that holds out this long. Your average DVD or Blu-Ray player gets you maybe 4 years, tops before the loading tray dies or the laser conks out. And don’t even get me started on cell phones! Those pieces of crap stop running the latest version of their OS after like 3 years! The Operating system on this thing? All it cares about is what channels you watch and how to move the stupid tape. Yeah, sure, you could program the clock on it, but who actually does that? And if you DID wanna program it? It was Y2K compliant! That’s right, it was smart enough to do a 4-digit year! Now THAT’S forward thinking!

You’re probably asking “What’s so great about a VCR? That’s what dinosaurs used, right?” Well it turns out that those of us born in the BEFORE days, y’know, back before smartphones were a thing, recorded a lot of crap on these big honkin’ plastic clunkers called cassettes. AND NOTHING ELSE FREAKIN’ READS ‘EM. You can play a CD and a DVD in a UHD Blu-Ray player. Turns out that tech was backwards compatible – something game console companies could learn a thing or two about. But cassettes? Nothing else reads those. Just VCRs. THOSE ARE LOST MEMORIES. Sure, you can play commercial tapes like The Lion King or What About Bob? But it’s the home movies that matter. That stuff ain’t in the cloud. Well, that and the fact that this bad mamma-jamma was TiVo/On-Demand before that existed.

So what’s so great about THIS VCR? Glad you asked! I’m just annoying enough to tell you! So take a quick look at the back of this thing.

Rear View of the Samsung VR8559 4-head hi-fi VHS player

See those red, white, and yellow things? Well, those are called composite cables and back before HDMI was a thing, this was the primary way you hooked crap up to your TV. Hell, if you check your TV, you might even find these connections. If so, that’s bad-ass – your TV is backwards-compatible! Anyway, they made a buncha things that convert these composite connectors into HDMI so you can hook it up to new TVs, Capture Cards, and what have ya. But this baby has INPUTS, too. So you can hook up an older game console and connect it to the antenna/coaxial cable connection on your TV. Even if you don’t have composite connections, you can have composite connections! Eat that, ancient-ass TVs and new TVs that aren’t backwards-compatible!

Imma be real. Most of y’all won’t ever need one of these bad boys. But I’ll tell ya what. I’m glad I had it. Turns out my wife had a crap-ton of home movies on VHS – horseback riding videos, family holidays, you name it. My wife’s mom passed away about 6 years ago, and thanks to this crazy machine I was able to archive that footage in a modern format. How did I pull that off? Because this amazing piece of hardware was built to last.

So what’s the KAUSTIC KAT opinion on this thing?

  • It’s a FREAKING TANK. I have moved 9 times and this thing STILL RUNS.
  • Easy to use, easy to clean, easy to hook up.
  • Video quality? Surprisingly good! I mean, it’s no 1080p, but it looks damn good for its age!
  • 4 heads = better quality playback and recording.

Final word: This is ancient tech, from back before the great “digitizing” of video. If you were born after the advent of smartphones, this won’t matter to you unless you’re a hipster that prizes the warmth of analog video as much as the hiss and pop of vinyl record playback. But if you ever recorded ANYTHING on a VHS Cassette, this is the PERFECT MACHINE to play back those memories. I ain’t lettin’ this thing go any time soon.

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