Tuesday, June 07, 2011

June 7, 1975

ON THIS DAY, SONY released the first Betamax video recorder, and the video world changed forever, to the glee of the porn industry. According to WIRED,

Revolutionary for its day, the Betamax format was on its way to becoming the industry standard until the appearance of JVC’s VHS a year later. Betamax was probably a bit sharper and crisper, but VHS offered longer-playing ability, which made it possible to record an entire movie on one three-hour tape. The two formats were locked in a struggle that was eventually won by VHS.

It was a titanic struggle, too, keiretsu vs. keiretsu. According to Media College, the teams lined up thusly: On the Betamax side were Sony, Toshiba, Sanyo, NEC, Aiwa, and Pioneer. On the VHS side were JVC, Matsushita (Panasonic), Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Sharp, and Akai. As we know, VHS won, and the last Betamax was made in 2002.


Steve said...

I loved the glory days of Sony. In 83 I bought the first stereo betamx for about $1200 from Whitby Audio. It was I tunes for that age, I could put 2 hours of flawless audio on tape. Then they stopped making movies on Betamax, it was like learning Santa Claus was a myth.

Edstock said...

$1200 = what, $8,000 today? And I paid $25 for a replacement DVD burner for my computer last year.
Reminds me of my first serious computer, back in 86, when XT's cost $3,500+. The cheapest Mac II was around $12-13000 and 386-16 MHz rigs were only $6,000.

Steve said...

@Ed Stock, I remember buying a top of the line Gateway in 1994 for over $4000 US, the next year a better computer could be had for $1000. I just built a modest gamer with a I5 and 6870 for well under a thousand. Of course a month later they come out with Sandy Bridge.

Edstock said...

I'm not complaining, though, Letraset and Mecanorma and the rest sucked. It sucked to use, and it sucked out your bank account. At one time, my studio had maybe $5K worth of the crap, maybe more, blue-binned with pleasure. However, I do miss the journeys to Loomis & Toles.

Cliff said...

The battle was over as soon as the porn industry picked VHS. That was the deathblow to Betamax.

leftdog said...

Cliff is right ... that's how VHS won the early video tape wars.

LOL, I have a good friend who has ALWAYS picked the losing technology. In the 70's when most of us were buying cassette tapes for our music, he bought an 8 track. When video players came in vogue (and most of us chose VHS) he bought Beta. Of note, with all the new TV's to chose from, he picked Plasma.