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VHS is a somewhat obsolete format that previously dominated the market. It is making a comeback among hobbyists and artists.
There are many forms of VHS that have existed, each having an increase in quality. These evolution in the technology were mostly noticed in Japan, while here in the Western World people were happy enough to simply watch the films they produced. These include the original VHS format, Super VHS, Widescreen VHS, Digital VHS, D-9 (Digital-S), and a failed "D-Theater" brand.
Most American VHS Machines only made it to Super VHS. If your machine is not Super VHS (but normal VHS), you can watch Super VHS tapes at a slight reduction in quality, but you can not record to Super VHS tapes.
A similar history exists for Audio Tape.
If you purchase a machine you may think it better to purchase a newer VCR. This is wrong. By the mid-2000's (in America) VHS was becoming a failing market, being replaced by DVD. Due to this, a large amount of the last generation of VCRs were simply put together very cheaply with an attempt to move stock. If you do prefer a newer machine, order from Japan not from America.
If you purchase a VCR that is defective, it does not take much to repair it. There is an active hobbyist community (mostly of boomers) who specialize in selling repair components. These components are rather cheap. For example, a new head may cost only $35 for the complete system. VCRs are also (mostly) easy to repair.