Farewell Betamax

Farewell-BetamaxQuestion: When was the Betamax format released by Sony?

Answer: 1975. – A year later, JVC released their VHS cassette.

Today, the technology giant that is Sony, announced that they will be stopping all production of their Betamax video cassettes in March 2016.

It’s been 40 years since Betamax was launched by Sony a format that many people thought would be the more superior between itself and JVC’s VHS cassette.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t even born when Betamax was launched, let alone when it hit its peak. I often watch repeats of Only Fools and Horses and it’s mentioned in that a few times. I’ve even asked my own parents what it was like using a Betamax and they told me it wasn’t the greatest thing to use.

A year after Sony released Betamax, JVC introduced their VHS cassette tapes. People at the time were said to have divided opinions on which format was best. Many sided with VHS, simply because of the longer recording times that was allowed using a VHS. Three hours it allowed, compared to Betamax’s grand total of one hour.

Because of the above factors, VHS seemed to have won out for best format. This does make you wonder why Sony didn’t try to improve the Betamax cassettes as quickly as possible.

The BBC, as I’m sure other TV companies do, still have Betamax tapes in their archives somewhere. However, in the BBC’s case, they stopped using them by 2000 – which really does solidify how out-dated Betamax had become.

At Education Quizzes, we wonder why Sony decided to keep manufacturing their Betamax tapes for all this time, especially with DVD and Blu-Ray taking over. Not to mention video cameras and more high-tech recording equipment. Other than old ones, you don’t really see VHS tapes being sold either (unless you stumble upon them).

BBC video editor, Pete Doherty, said “I don’t think many people will miss Betamax. I can’t imagine there are many machines left to play them on.”

So after over 40 years, Betamax will finally be put out of its own misery and will come to an end in March 2016.

Do you still have a Betamax lying around somewhere? Do you still use it, if you have one? If you still have a working Betamax machine, why not show your children what it was like using one?

One thought on “Farewell Betamax

  1. I never had betamax because by the time we got a player it was VHS and to be honest does anyone even use VHS. We threw out many VHS tapes a long time ago. I cannot understand why they would carry on making betamax but perhaps there were some die hard users out there.

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