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Virtual VCR Brings VHS Quality to YouTube Music Videos

Jean-Christophe Naour's 'VHS' streams music videos from YouTube in an uninterrupted stream filtered through the aesthetics of VHS.

If you'd like your YouTube content to look a bit more old school, then this new project from French interaction designer Jean-Christophe Naour should intrigue you. Called VHS, it's a site that filters curated music videos from the video sharing site through the mock stylings of an old VCR interface, and then broadcasts it onto your laptop, tablet, or Smart TV.

Naour calls it "a visual overdose of creative and original content crossing all genres and times. It is for the late nights, for the parties, in the background at work." The interface with its bright green pixlated font, hazy static between videos, washed out colors, and replica interlaced scanlines from old TVs will be a familar sight to those who grew up renting movies from the local video store.


Screenshot from VHS

"Since a young age I always loved the connection between music and videos, the use of a wide range of styles of video making techniques, including animation, live action, documentaries, and non-narrative approaches such as abstract film. I simply wanted to make a space to collect and share," Naour tells The Creators Project. He curates the content himself, from classics to more obscure stuff—so far the project has around 300 clips, but is continually growing.

As well as a passion for music videos, which range from Madonna to Aphex Twin to Serge Gainsbourg, the project also has a crossover with Naour's current occupation. "This little experiment is in a way an echo from my job," he notes. "As an interaction designer in Samsung Electronics here in Korea, I've been working for quite a while on new interaction concepts for Smart TVs and as time goes by, and as we always push the boundaries of input, display quality, content browsing, features, etc., I wanted to go back to the basics of TV experience." 


Screenshot from VHS

For Naour this meant simplifying the interface so that users didn't have to waste time navigating to find and select content. Instead, VHS provides a randomized, uninterrupted stream where you can skip individual videos by pressing the space bar when you're not into them. "I thought that this would be the perfect subject to build something," he explains. "The old VCR style came naturally to my mind, which was part of the first interfaces on TV back in the 80s." 


Screenshot from VHS

VHS is currently in beta and is optimized to work in Chrome. It works on Windows, OSX, Linux, Android, and Smart TV with iOS coming soon. You can check it out here.

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