20 most worthless pieces of junk: #7 -- VCRplus+

VCRThere was a time when I was addicted to soap operas, and the ones I liked were on two different channels. Children of the new millennium won't understand the dilemma here. But for a certain period of time, this presented an impossible challenge. My VCR could be set to record for a certain period of time, but it couldn't change channels in mid-stream. So I could get Days of Our Lives but not Another World, or vice versa, but not both.

What was a young addict to do? Technology saved the day in the form of a little gizmo that attached to my VCR with an infrared device that could be programmed to change the channel at a certain time. Then came VCRs that accepted codes from VCRPlus+ -- printed in your local newspaper -- that could tell your VCR to record particular programs and change the channel for you.

It all sounds so sad now.
Technology often supplants revolutionary products, and the advent of programmable VCRs and then the DVR just about killed any usefulness of these items. They have faded into distant memory, except for a loyal crowd that still uses, yes, analog TV. And another casualty of the transition to digital television broadcasting seems to be VCRPlus+.

That switchover may be the last nail in the coffin of an outdated technology, as VCRs rarely come equipped with VCRPlus+ capabilities anymore, and hardly anyone buys VCRs anymore anyway. Newspapers are dropping the listings one-by-one. A quick scan of the message board at VCRPlus+ reveals the problems -- it's a lot of people searching for where their listings have gone, how to get replacement parts and how to get their machines to work with their new digital TV converters.

The digital TV converters seem to have thrown the biggest wrench in the works, setting people back to the 80s and the problem of changing channels to record on two different stations. This is what one woman said of her dilemma: "You can record several programs on the same channel without being there, but if you want to record on two channels, you must manually change the channel on the converter box before the recording is scheduled. It's a little bit of a bother - but at least we can use the VCR Plus codes! We use one VCR and converter box just for recording and another VCR and converter box for playing and watching videos. They are very inexpensive with the Government coupon, so we bought two. I suggest you buy two of the same brand so you have two remotes, in case one fails or gets lost. You cannot operate the converter box without a remote."

And therein lies the rationale for naming this item a worthless piece of junk...
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