At least in law, the VCR has made somewhat of a comeback.
The New York Times had a great discussion July 28 on some of the principles in the Hopper and Aereo litigations. The NYT article questions whether the networks and content providers blew it almost 30 years ago by litigating against home recording and timeshifting to try to crush the Sony Betamax videocassette recording machine. There are now 2 legal battle royales underway against Aereo and Hopper, and Aereo’s and DISH’s fundamental argument is based on the precedent set by the US Supreme Court in its 1984 Betamax decision on VCR technology.
(Sony began buying movie studios in 1990 and now has substantial content provider business. As a result, Sony’s movie studio and other content provider businesses might be hurt by new technologies that rely, in part, on the precedent Sony helped created in the Supreme Court’s Betamax decision.)