Monday, April 15, 2013

Google celebrates 57th anniversary of VHS with a VHS filter for YouTube videos

Google is known to celebrate important events in its own whimsical way. Today marks the 57th anniversary of the VHS tapes, the format of choice for all video content back in the day. We have moved quite far since then, with video several times the length and quality fitting on a chip the size of a fingernail. But one can always look back and reminiscence over what was the only way to get video playing in our homes.

To celebrate this occasion, Google has added a new VHS button on YouTube videos. This essentially adds a filter on top of your videos that makes the video look blurry and distorted with the typical ghosting and snowing artifacts common to damaged VHS tapes. Some nice touches are the way the video distorts even further when you pause it and occasionally the video will loop vertically on screen.
For those who have never seen a VHS tape, the quality was nowhere as bad as what you see in the filter. It only used to happen when the tape was damaged badly and as is the case with analog sources, there were varying levels of quality, with bad sometime being really bad. Needless to say, no one particularly enjoys that aspect of VHS tapes (or tapes, in general).
To get a glimpse of how bad things would look back in the day, try watching the video here with the VHS option enabled. This option is currently not available for every video and is only for limited time.

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