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(Slate)   30 years ago the SCOTUS made a monumental decision, and everyone bought VHS anyway   (slate.com) divider line 71
    More: Silly, Betamax, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court, Trans-Pacific Partnership, VCRs  
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10199 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Jan 2014 at 7:49 PM (34 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-21 11:00:52 PM

Gyrfalcon: Having been alive in those days, I can tell you it was all of these, plus the less finicky, more versatile and forgiving nature of VHS recording equipment. VHS tape was cheaper, played longer, and that was an important trade-off in a time when the home market was for taping TV shows so you could watch them later. That meant that video stores were apt to rent the cheaper VHS machines to the consumer market, because they were easier to replace when they got broken vs. the pricier Beta models. Nobody cared much about superior quality to tape an episode of "Three's Company" or the football game; and Odyssey Records wasn't about to rent anything costly to a bunch of drunken college kids to view "Titty Tape XVIII" on Saturday.

The same was true of the video cameras that made an appearance at the same time, which was also a factor--Betacams were more expensive, despite being smaller; and the tapes were not as long for recording purposes; while the price meant they were less likely to be taken to the kids' soccer games or on camping trips. So put the two together and VHS's cheapness won out over Beta's quality.

A metaphor for America if ever there was one.


I dunno, opting to buy the thing that is easier and less costly to repair versus the thing that has more restrictions on use even if it has better quality doesn't seem like such a bad judgement call.  Really, it sounds like America as a whole weighed the pros and cons and said "I don't really want a slightly better picture that badly, thanks."

It is a bit of a shame since the picture quality is better.  Double the color resolution, if nothing else.  Still, the pros don't outweigh the cons for most uses.
 
2014-01-21 11:17:39 PM

ElLoco: What is that... three or four grand worth of stuff in 1987?

[www.slate.com image 590x421]


Probably.  And note that a cheap honda civic was $6400.
 
2014-01-21 11:17:49 PM

BullBearMS: Marcus Aurelius: lohphat: Betamax died because Sony was greedy about licensing. They never learned their lesson.

I'm looking at you PS3.

They also banned porn.  VHS won the market thanks to porn.

Actually, it was the fact that the original Beta format could only record one hour of content versus two hours for the first version of VHS that killed them.

Then both formats came out with an extended mode that ran the tape at half speed which gave Beta two hours and VHS four hours. After VHS won there was also an eight hour tape format.

Better picture vs. taping the whole football game or the whole soap opera block...



omg. all the dumb shiat I taped as a kid. There were some classics on those VHS tapes and I wrote Olsen twin movies over them.
 
2014-01-21 11:42:13 PM

minuslars: BullBearMS: Marcus Aurelius: lohphat: Betamax died because Sony was greedy about licensing. They never learned their lesson.

I'm looking at you PS3.

They also banned porn.  VHS won the market thanks to porn.

Actually, it was the fact that the original Beta format could only record one hour of content versus two hours for the first version of VHS that killed them.

Then both formats came out with an extended mode that ran the tape at half speed which gave Beta two hours and VHS four hours. After VHS won there was also an eight hour tape format.

Better picture vs. taping the whole football game or the whole soap opera block...


omg. all the dumb shiat I taped as a kid. There were some classics on those VHS tapes and I wrote Olsen twin movies over them.


My younger brother accidentally taped a football game over his wedding.

It took quite a while to live that one down.
 
2014-01-21 11:53:47 PM

BullBearMS: It took quite a while to live that one down.


What, the wedding?
 
2014-01-21 11:53:49 PM
I found out about betamax in the '90s when I found my parents' porn stash and they were all differently shaped from "normal" tapes (I was born in '86 so missed the beta/vhs war).
 
2014-01-22 12:16:38 AM

LavenderWolf: I found out about betamax in the '90s when I found my parents' porn stash and they were all differently shaped from "normal" tapes (I was born in '86 so missed the beta/vhs war).


As in porn tapes your parents owned or as in porn tapes of your parents? Inquiring minds need to know.
 
2014-01-22 12:24:47 AM

Oldiron_79: LavenderWolf: I found out about betamax in the '90s when I found my parents' porn stash and they were all differently shaped from "normal" tapes (I was born in '86 so missed the beta/vhs war).

As in porn tapes your parents owned or as in porn tapes of your parents? Inquiring minds need to know.


Porn tapes my parents owned.

There was this one video of like 15 lesbians in an apartment with a seemingly endless supply of oils, soaps, and showers. And some of the more tasteful of the sex toys of the early '90s.

I must have spanked it to that one like a hundred times.
 
2014-01-22 12:34:10 AM
Why is the article written in a way that makes it sound so long ago? We are talking about the 80s here.  It was more or less yesterday.  Its a bit too early to be nostalgic about a case we all remember.
 
2014-01-22 12:40:22 AM

Ima4nic8or: Why is the article written in a way that makes it sound so long ago? We are talking about the 80s here.  It was more or less yesterday.  Its a bit too early to be nostalgic about a case we all remember.


The 80s and even early 90s seem further back than they really are because the interwebs changed things so much between the late 90s and now
 
2014-01-22 12:42:27 AM

payattention: Being the old tech nerd that I am, I still have VHS... I still use my VHS... I have a decent size collection of tapes and I see no reason to get rid of them just because they are not 'cool'. Well, that and also I was/am pretty anal about my tapes. They don't sit near magnetic sources, they don't deal with temp extremes, and I still have the second video tape I ever owned. (First was actually a joint purchase with the roomie... we recorded all of the American releases of 'The Young Ones' on it. When we moved apart, he won the toss). I never loan them out after two hard earned lessons. And until I can no longer find something to play them on, I will keep on using them. As I said about cable, "Why are we paying two different sources for the same content?". (cable AND internet). I have lots of movies and stuff on VHS. They work and don't look too bad so why get the DVD version?


I agree.  I still use mine all the time but I don't record on tapes anymore.  I just use it to play pre-recorded movies that I can still get for 50 cents or so.  I still buy them all the time and I don't really care about having pristine quality.  Because of that I will never buy a new dvd.
 
2014-01-22 01:13:07 AM

Ima4nic8or: Why is the article written in a way that makes it sound so long ago? We are talking about the 80s here.  It was more or less yesterday.  Its a bit too early to be nostalgic about a case we all remember.


Are you kidding? Judging by the level of debate in the Politics tab, I'm guessing the age of the average Farker is just over 16.

airplane_mech2: I agree. I still use mine all the time but I don't record on tapes anymore. I just use it to play pre-recorded movies that I can still get for 50 cents or so. I still buy them all the time and I don't really care about having pristine quality. Because of that I will never buy a new dvd.


I used to own a bunch of movies in hard copy, but since home internet has gotten so fast, I find that it takes me less time to just torrent a title than to dig through my library, so I got rid of most of it.
 
2014-01-22 02:26:48 AM
Surprised no one else latched onto the first line: "Those who came of age in the Internet era may not know that they owe their ability to go online to a court decision 30 years ago today about a mechanically intricate analog tape recorder.  "

I think you meant 'go online and buy stuff', Slate 'journalist', judging from the content much much much farther down in the article. Kind of a huge difference.
 
2014-01-22 02:57:55 AM

R.A.Danny: BullBearMS: It took quite a while to live that one down.

What, the wedding?


Hell hath no fury like a bride whose wedding video is now a football game.
 
2014-01-22 08:19:58 AM

PainInTheASP: ElLoco: What is that... three or four grand worth of stuff in 1987?

[www.slate.com image 590x421]

Probably.  In '87 video discs weren't too common. My college roommate got his in '92 and there was only one place in town that rented discs.  Figure at least $750 for that back then, plus the amp looks like it could be Harman/Kardon or McIntosh. Neither were cheap back in the day either.


That's a video disc player, not a laser disc player.  There is a big difference.
 
2014-01-22 10:19:45 AM

Myria: thrasherrr: A fraction of the price of each CD-R in America goes the the RIAA.

Only CD-Rs made for music. Pure data CD-Rs do not give them anything

Yes, but the difference is only in labeling AFAIK

There are some bits inscribed into the burst cutting area that identify the media for recorders that care, but otherwise they are the same.

It's not stored in the burst cutting area (BCA); it's the absolute time in pregroove (ATIP).  There is a SCSI command you can send to any PC CD writer that returns information stored within the ATIP, and one of the bits is a flag indicating "unrestricted use".  This bit indicates that the MAFIAA protection money has been paid; i.e. it's a music CD-R.

On a PC CD writer, you can burn whatever to either type of disk.  Only standalone music CD recorders give a fark.

/knows a lot about CDs
//has written her own burning program


Forget the discussions of pron video formats...I just needed the last sentence of this.
 
2014-01-22 10:29:36 AM

BullBearMS: R.A.Danny: BullBearMS: It took quite a while to live that one down.

What, the wedding?

Hell hath no fury like a bride whose wedding video is now a football game.


It better not have been the Cowboys.
 
2014-01-22 10:42:08 AM

BullBearMS: Marcus Aurelius: lohphat: Betamax died because Sony was greedy about licensing. They never learned their lesson.

I'm looking at you PS3.

They also banned porn.  VHS won the market thanks to porn.

Actually, it was the fact that the original Beta format could only record one hour of content versus two hours for the first version of VHS that killed them.

Then both formats came out with an extended mode that ran the tape at half speed which gave Beta two hours and VHS four hours. After VHS won there was also an eight hour tape format.

Better picture vs. taping the whole football game or the whole soap opera block...


I do remember users choosing VHS for longer record times and lower price and others choosing beta for better picture quality with record times that were "good enough anyway".  Its was kind of a pain to record 6+ hours on a tape anyway because you'd have to spend some time finding the right spot to start watching.   I bought a lot of beta and vhs tapes for $5+ each back when I was making $2.75/hr.  I did find that the last time (10 years ago maybe) I had access to a working beta machine and watched something recorded off-air in comparison to something recorded on VHS in the same era, the beta was way better many years later than the vhs.  While when both were new, the difference seemed pretty minor.  In particular, the audio on the VHS seemed really washed out 15-20 years later.  I think VHS won out mostly on machine and tape price, but the porn availability probably didn't hurt.  I recently threw away a box of old vhs porn - poor girl had a clitoris in her throat....

Somebody upthread mentioned bluray - I've been wondering if blue palyer prices, particularly for PCs would be cheaper had HD won instead of a technology produced by Sony, home of the needlessly proprietary memory stick.   Perhaps the units would be $20 like DVD-ROM R/W drives instead of $50 to $100.
 
2014-01-22 10:43:44 AM
Now that I think about it, the tapes were closer to $10 in the 80s.  I think $5 was the early 90s price range.
 
2014-01-22 11:41:29 AM

Big_Fat_Liar: Somebody upthread mentioned bluray - I've been wondering if blue palyer prices, particularly for PCs would be cheaper had HD won instead of a technology produced by Sony, home of the needlessly proprietary memory stick.   Perhaps the units would be $20 like DVD-ROM R/W drives instead of $50 to $100.


Blu-ray playing carries an IP burden between $5 and $10 depending on which trolls you accept and which country you ship in.  Compare this to wholesale red laser drive costs of about $12.  Computer player hardware does not bear all of the Blu-ray IP burden, since that hardware does not contain any navigational or codec components.  The main reason PC players have not reached price parity is high price of compact blue lasers due to relatively high laser manufacturing failures.
 
2014-01-22 10:05:32 PM
www.dvdyourmemories.com
 
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