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Forget 4K TVs: Most Americans still own a VCR


Everyone is drooling over the new 4K TVs capable of showing ultra-high resolution programming which are on display at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Netflix, Amazon and YouTube will all offer 4K streaming in the future. Vizio just unveiled a 50-inch 4K TV that will sell for the relatively low price of $999. All signs point to this technology jumping from the show room to the living room. The only problem? Americans might need to get rid of their VCRs first.

Yes, the majority of Americans still own a VCR, according to a Gallup poll released during CES. In fact, at 58 percent, more Americans own a VCR than own a desktop computer (57 percent) or tablet (38 percent). 


Since 2005, the rate of VCR ownership has dropped drastically, with only flip phones being abandoned at a higher rate. Still, if you picked two random people off of the street and handed them a "Cocoon" videotape, one of them would be able to play it. 

What in the Steve Guttenberg is going on? You guessed it: Older Americans still haven't ditched their old gadgets. As this age breakdown shows, nearly 74 percent of people over age 65 have a VCR, compared to only 41 percent of those ages 18 to 29. (The poll didn't break down how many of those young people lived with their VCR-owning parents, or which ones owned VCRs ironically to watch old episodes of "Voltron"). 


One piece of hardware cut across all generations: the DVD player, the most commonly owned device in the survey. In another eight years, however, the rise of streaming services like Netflix could make those look as outdated as the VCR currently gathering dust in your attic. 

Keith Wagstaff writes about technology for NBC News. He previously covered technology for TIME's Techland and wrote about politics as a staff writer at You can follow him on Twitter at @kwagstaff and reach him by email at: