The BBC reported last week that Sony will cease to make Betamax tape in March 2016, so if anyone still uses the infamous superior but lost video format, now is the time to buy up some stock.
To be honest, I didn’t know it was still being made and apparently, the latest Beta video deck was released in 2002, a good 15yrs after it lost out to the VHS format.
Sony launched the format in 1975, a year before JVC’s rival the VHS cassette – which eventually became the market leader after a long battle between the two brands and their fans.
Although many felt Betamax was the superior format, some cite the longer recording length of VHS tapes and the cheaper manufacturing costs for VHS machines among factors as to why VHS eventually won out.
But there were also other issues at play.
“The reason VHS won out in the UK was that most people chose to rent their video machines in the early days and most of the rental chains were owned by Thorn EMI which made VHS machines under various names,” commented Tony Miles, who used to work in a Sony store.
Betacam, a broadcast quality version of Betamax was used a great deal in the 80s, especially for wedding videographers and journalism. In fact BBC was one of the main users of it.