Enable Tape Mode: Watch YouTube Become a Really Bad VCR Player

Ever been watching a HD YouTube video and wondered what it would look like in crappy VHS quality? Me neither. But someone at YouTube did, and now we have a new YouTube Easter egg. Enable tape mode has been added to honor the birthday of the first VCR.

As YouTube explains on their Google+ page:

Not too long ago, the video tape was the media of choice for living rooms around the world. In celebration of the 57th birthday of the first commercial video cassette recorder, check out a fun VHS mode for the YouTube player to relive the magic feel of vintage video tapes. On select videos, you’ll find a VHS button in the bottom right of the player–just click to turn back the clock and enjoy the static and fuzzy motion of the VHS era.

The first VCR was introduced in 1956 – the Ampex VRX-1000 – but at a cost $50,000, only large TV stations could afford it. Mainstream adoption began in the 1970s, with VCRs peaking in the 1980s and ’90s before being usurped by DVD and other digital recorders in the early 2000s.

So if for some reason you’re nostalgic for those staticky, wavy, bent pictures of VHS days gone by, simply head to YouTube (the Enable tape mode option doesn’t work for embedded videos), pop on a video, and click the little icon that looks like a VCR tape (to the left of the Change quality option) to watch this:


Become this:


Even the pause button makes the picture go haywire, just like you’re watching it on a really bad VCR player:


And while you’re checking out YouTube’s VHS mode, you can also check out their most recent Harlem Shake Easter egg.

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