This Sony Betamax video recorder was one of the later machines to be produced, not long before Betamax went the way of the Dodo for home video recording!
It was one of the sleekest and sexiest of the Sony range … a real stunner for 1985!
Our machine is in working order and complete with a slection of Betamax video cassettes.
Betamax was the first successful consumer video format, and at one time it had close to 100% of the market. All of the video machines in use and all of the pre-recorded movies were Betamax. It had a de facto monopoly, and an element of lock-in (because of tape incompatibilities). It lost because, at the time, it could not do what consumers wanted: record a whole movie unattended. And although Betamax playing times were extended, they never caught up with VHS.
Other elements of the oft-repeated Betamax story are also wrong. For example, while Sony was certainly slow to bring in other manufacturers, it had tried to license it to rivals such as JVC before VHS was even launched. Betamax was not generally more expensive: Sony had to slash its original high prices but generally it was competitive. Indeed, after it had lost the market, Betamax machines were often cheaper than VHS ones.
And at the beginning, there was no comparative shortage of Betamax movies to rent: actually, they were all Betamax. (Stan Liebowitz, Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas, has done most research on this, but see urbanlegends.com for a quick guide.)
Even if Betamax had been “technically superior”, it wouldn’t have mattered. VHS users have long had the chance to upgrade to the compatible SuperVHS format with superior picture quality. But rather than demanding better pictures for today’s TV sets, consumers have shown more interest in LP (Long Play) modes that reduce the picture quality to provide longer recording times.
VHS won because “the whole product” did what people wanted at a price they were willing to pay. And when people use the VHS v Beta analogy, they are not indicating a market failure but their own ignorance.
We all remember a time when the big question was Beta or VHS? |link|
Beta Vs. VHS
One year after Beta was introduced, the VHS format came out with a slightly larger cassette that held a full movie from the start. VHS began to overtake Beta almost immediately, but for several years, both formats were widely used, and pre-packaged movies were offered in both Beta and VHS. By the late 1980s, Beta had been almost entirely eclipsed by VHS, although Betamax machines were still manufactured by Sony until 2002.