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(Break)   This might be old, but do you remember the Betamax vs VHS war? There is much irony compared to today, and my lawn was just cut, so get off it   (break.com) divider line 60
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2807 clicks; posted to Geek » on 19 Jun 2014 at 1:05 AM (9 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-18 11:52:18 PM
the stone age called and wants a word...
 
2014-06-19 12:19:56 AM
The lightest one was close to 30 pds.
 
2014-06-19 12:31:35 AM
The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS, and thus, folks had not just a recorder of all those made for TV movies, but could watch all the dirty, nasty, sticky and perverse stuff that they had on tapes in dingy little stores, or you could order from the back of magazines.

Porn swung the market, and anyone who thinks it was the engineering, or weight, or any of the other reasons, they're just deluding themselves...
 
2014-06-19 12:52:11 AM
Local news crews used BETA into the late 90s.
 
2014-06-19 01:03:39 AM

hubiestubert: The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS, and thus, folks had not just a recorder of all those made for TV movies, but could watch all the dirty, nasty, sticky and perverse stuff that they had on tapes in dingy little stores, or you could order from the back of magazines.

Porn swung the market, and anyone who thinks it was the engineering, or weight, or any of the other reasons, they're just deluding themselves...


I have to disagree about porn. I had friends who had a Betamax well into the 90s solely because they had an extensive porn collection in that format.
 
2014-06-19 01:34:16 AM

hubiestubert: The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS, and thus, folks had not just a recorder of all those made for TV movies, but could watch all the dirty, nasty, sticky and perverse stuff that they had on tapes in dingy little stores, or you could order from the back of magazines.

Porn swung the market, and anyone who thinks it was the engineering, or weight, or any of the other reasons, they're just deluding themselves...


Actually, no. That's just an apocryphal story pushed by the same guys who insist on stuff like "70% of the internet traffic is for porn" (which isn't even close to being true). It gives some sleazy juice to a rather boring story.

Engineer Guy from the video hit the nail on the head.
 
2014-06-19 01:37:10 AM

TommyymmoT: Local news crews used BETA into the late 90s.


Not BetaMAX tho. After VHS started taking the lead in the consumer market, Sony then targeted the pros. Since Beta tapes were smaller and had higher quality, they were a better deal for someone who made their own material like reporters rather than just consume. Sony then created the BetaCAM format for TV stations.
 
2014-06-19 01:37:50 AM
Even before 1979's Betamax, there was Cartrivision in 1972:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXEiJ1e6Iqk

Sears even had a video rental business for films on cassette (sorry, no porn). Special cartridges that could not be rewound at home so you could only watch the film on it's first pass, and the local Sears store had a special machine for rewinding.

Freaky thing about the Catrivision system was that the video head was fixed to the circuit board, so the entire circuit board would have to spin at high speeds as the tape passed over it.
 
2014-06-19 01:43:54 AM
Vaguely  i recall  but just vaguely.
 
2014-06-19 01:44:35 AM
hubiestubert: The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS, and thus, folks had...
 <b>rocky_howard</b>
<i> Actually, no. That's just an apocryphal story pushed by same guys who say 70% of internet traffic is for porn.. </i>

Ok. Sure. Games didn't push 3D graphics cards or CPUs either. That was totally driven by needing to run Excel and Word faster and trying to make medical imaging better. Right?

Next time you visit us in the SouthWest, I have a bridge to sell you.

//Pron isn't why developers of "Atomic Web Browser" put in "specific browser spoofing" and is a #1 consistent download for iTunes, either. ProTip: Open website to video feed page, then select, "open in safari."

////Also, Pron wasn't 4 out of 6 of the CDs of the 90's BBS's with a 6 CD changer on them for warez....
 
2014-06-19 01:49:49 AM

nemisonic: Ok. Sure. Games didn't push 3D graphics cards or CPUs either. That was totally driven by needing to run Excel and Word faster and trying to make medical imaging better. Right?

Next time you visit us in the SouthWest, I have a bridge to sell you.


Congratulations on making an irrelevant argument. Of course Games pushed graphic cards and CPUs, other than video editing, gaming is the other main use for high power in a PC and gaming is a bigger market since it's consumer. The point you apparently missed is that games NEEDED the power. There's no correlation as to why porn would need VHS as like the person above us said, it was already available on Beta as well.

So keep repeating false information you read around the web, you're the Fark equivalent of the email chain hoax.


//Pron isn't why developers of "Atomic Web Browser" put in "specific browser spoofing" and is a #1 consistent download for iTunes, either. ProTip: Open website to video feed page, then select, "open in safari."

LOL. Again, what does porn have to do with it? That you can use it for porn doesn't mean it's the driving force for it.

////Also, Pron wasn't 4 out of 6 of the CDs of the 90's BBS's with a 6 CD changer on them for warez....

Clearly your anecdotal stories are solid proof.
 
2014-06-19 01:50:43 AM

nemisonic: hubiestubert: The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS, and thus, folks had...
 <b>rocky_howard</b>
<i> Actually, no. That's just an apocryphal story pushed by same guys who say 70% of internet traffic is for porn.. </i>

Ok. Sure. Games didn't push 3D graphics cards or CPUs either. That was totally driven by needing to run Excel and Word faster and trying to make medical imaging better. Right?

Next time you visit us in the SouthWest, I have a bridge to sell you.

//Pron isn't why developers of "Atomic Web Browser" put in "specific browser spoofing" and is a #1 consistent download for iTunes, either. ProTip: Open website to video feed page, then select, "open in safari."

////Also, Pron wasn't 4 out of 6 of the CDs of the 90's BBS's with a 6 CD changer on them for warez....


don't chastise him too much, he is just dumb
 
2014-06-19 01:54:17 AM

rocky_howard: nemisonic: Ok. Sure. Games didn't push 3D graphics cards or CPUs either. That was totally driven by needing to run Excel and Word faster and trying to make medical imaging better. Right?

Next time you visit us in the SouthWest, I have a bridge to sell you.

Congratulations on making an irrelevant argument. Of course Games pushed graphic cards and CPUs, other than video editing, gaming is the other main use for high power in a PC and gaming is a bigger market since it's consumer. The point you apparently missed is that games NEEDED the power. There's no correlation as to why porn would need VHS as like the person above us said, it was already available on Beta as well.

So keep repeating false information you read around the web, you're the Fark equivalent of the email chain hoax.


//Pron isn't why developers of "Atomic Web Browser" put in "specific browser spoofing" and is a #1 consistent download for iTunes, either. ProTip: Open website to video feed page, then select, "open in safari."

LOL. Again, what does porn have to do with it? That you can use it for porn doesn't mean it's the driving force for it.

////Also, Pron wasn't 4 out of 6 of the CDs of the 90's BBS's with a 6 CD changer on them for warez....

Clearly your anecdotal stories are solid proof.


You do realize the difference in shipping weight between the two formats, right?
 
2014-06-19 01:55:49 AM

chitownmike: You do realize the difference in shipping weight between the two formats, right?


What does that have to do with porn? (specifically porn, since, y'know, that was the "driving force").
 
2014-06-19 01:55:57 AM
More recently, we saw the same battle play out between Blu Ray and HD DVD.

Sony threw everything they had at coming out on top. And, as a consumer, I waited several years after the dust settled to get a Blu Ray Player, only when my DVD player failed and I could score one for $70, as opposed to the $399 price tag they originally had.

A a kid, I remember going to the video store, being thrilled because I found a movie I really wanted to see.....and it was Betamax.

Now my kids now I can download any movie at any time. Spoiled brats.
 
2014-06-19 02:00:51 AM
saw that engineerguy was posting vids for the 1st time in a year last night.

one of the folks from his site also commented that lots of new content was on the way.

WTF is wrong with people who don't submit the actual video and force us to use Break?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddYZITaxlTQ
 
2014-06-19 02:05:25 AM

marcre3363: More recently, we saw the same battle play out between Blu Ray and HD DVD.

Sony threw everything they had at coming out on top. And, as a consumer, I waited several years after the dust settled to get a Blu Ray Player, only when my DVD player failed and I could score one for $70, as opposed to the $399 price tag they originally had.

A a kid, I remember going to the video store, being thrilled because I found a movie I really wanted to see.....and it was Betamax.

Now my kids now I can download any movie at any time. Spoiled brats.


Downgrade to dialup see how they like downloading one then.
 
2014-06-19 02:07:07 AM

rocky_howard: chitownmike: You do realize the difference in shipping weight between the two formats, right?

What does that have to do with porn? (specifically porn, since, y'know, that was the "driving force").


You do realize that porn was distributed physically before the internet, right?
 
2014-06-19 02:15:11 AM

marcre3363: More recently, we saw the same battle play out between Blu Ray and HD DVD.

Sony threw everything they had at coming out on top. And, as a consumer, I waited several years after the dust settled to get a Blu Ray Player, only when my DVD player failed and I could score one for $70, as opposed to the $399 price tag they originally had.


Blu-ray was Sony learning from its past mistakes.  However - the use of physical media has fallen so quickly that even Sony was surprised by it and is losing money on plants that manufacture the things.  But they are making a ton of money selling the very same content digitally which will soon surpass the Blu-ray disc sales.
 
2014-06-19 02:29:57 AM

BizarreMan: hubiestubert: The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS, and thus, folks had not just a recorder of all those made for TV movies, but could watch all the dirty, nasty, sticky and perverse stuff that they had on tapes in dingy little stores, or you could order from the back of magazines.

Porn swung the market, and anyone who thinks it was the engineering, or weight, or any of the other reasons, they're just deluding themselves...

I have to disagree about porn. I had friends who had a Betamax well into the 90s solely because they had an extensive porn collection in that format.


While Betamax did eventually get porn, at the beginning it did not.  There was a long period of time, several years, when porn was available on VHS and not Betamax, because Sony refused to allow it.  There is no question that this impacted sales of VHS units on some level.  Whether it was enough to singlehandedly create the gap in adoption seen between the two formats, that's highly debatable.
 
2014-06-19 02:39:41 AM
The comments on the page seem to say that one of the factors VHS won because JVC licensed it to multiple vendors and Betamax was Sony only.

Back when all these electronic devices where a major family purchase and not an impulse buy, this probably helped bring the price down.  More vendors meant more models in different price points and store brands meant you could charge it instead of cash at the electronics discounter.  Our family's first VCR was a Sears model with a wired remote.  I was not able to convince my Dad to go from $329 to $379 for the wireless remote.
 
2014-06-19 02:51:19 AM

hubiestubert: The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS, and thus, folks had not just a recorder of all those made for TV movies, but could watch all the dirty, nasty, sticky and perverse stuff that they had on tapes in dingy little stores, or you could order from the back of magazines.

Porn swung the market, and anyone who thinks it was the engineering, or weight, or any of the other reasons, they're just deluding themselves...


That's a myth.

Betamax only has 60 minute tapes, and VHS had 120 minute tapes. So one system allowed you to time-record a movie, the other didn't.

Both systems got longer tape lenghts after VHS has won.

---

Come on. No, it wasn't porn.
 
2014-06-19 03:07:18 AM

chitownmike: rocky_howard: chitownmike: You do realize the difference in shipping weight between the two formats, right?

What does that have to do with porn? (specifically porn, since, y'know, that was the "driving force").

You do realize that porn was distributed physically before the internet, right?



Is that what sex was?
 
2014-06-19 03:13:43 AM
Another factor was licensing.  Sony wanted too much money to license the technology.  From what I remember, JVC charged very little, possibly nothing at all, for a license.  If Sony had more time as the only option in the market, they might have been able to pull it off.  But once JVC jumped in as well as other VHS manufacturers, Sony should have pulled back on the fee.  Beta was definitely a superior picture, but as said in the video, good enough won out.
 
2014-06-19 03:18:34 AM

gingerjet: marcre3363: More recently, we saw the same battle play out between Blu Ray and HD DVD.

Sony threw everything they had at coming out on top. And, as a consumer, I waited several years after the dust settled to get a Blu Ray Player, only when my DVD player failed and I could score one for $70, as opposed to the $399 price tag they originally had.

Blu-ray was Sony learning from its past mistakes.  However - the use of physical media has fallen so quickly that even Sony was surprised by it and is losing money on plants that manufacture the things.  But they are making a ton of money selling the very same content digitally which will soon surpass the Blu-ray disc sales.


Blu-Ray was also a major selling point of the PS3.  When the PS3 hit the market, BluRay was still brand new and VERY expensive.  For just $100 more you got BluRay and a top end game console.

And yes, physical media is going away.  When people think, "I want to watch that movie", they don't want to have to drive to the store to get it.  They want to fire up an online service and get it right now.  So a lot more impulse shopping in the video world is happening.  With the physical media, the desire to see "that movie" could be gone by the time they get around to going to the store.
 
2014-06-19 03:31:27 AM
Oh yeah.  For the money, my wife at the time wanted me to buy Betamax.  I held out for VHS, and she punished me for years ;)
 
2014-06-19 04:20:05 AM

hubiestubert: The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS,


No. Porn catered to both. This is apocryphal.

The big selling point was really the tape length. You could record full movies on VHS. You couldn't on Beta. Home consumers drove the market.
 
2014-06-19 04:37:52 AM
Weren't porn movies in the early 80's too long to put on 60 minute betamax tapes?
 
2014-06-19 04:51:33 AM

Ishkur: hubiestubert: The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS,

No. Porn catered to both. This is apocryphal.

The big selling point was really the tape length. You could record full movies on VHS. You couldn't on Beta. Home consumers drove the market.


As a kid we had a friend whose parents where early adopter types for all tech gadgets, and they got a Betamax. It seemed really amazing watching a movie any time we liked recorded off TV weeks before...right up until about an hour into the movie when it stopped and he had to flip the tape over to play the rest of the tape, which also meant the timer was useless for anything longer than 1 hour of course.
 
2014-06-19 05:02:47 AM

TommyymmoT: Local news crews used BETA into the late 90s.


Aaaaggghhhh, as someone that's edited on everything from umatic lo-band, thru to digi-beta and then NLE....I realllllly hate it when people say that.

BETAMAX ≠ BETACAM
 
2014-06-19 05:38:51 AM

moel: TommyymmoT: Local news crews used BETA into the late 90s.

Aaaaggghhhh, as someone that's edited on everything from umatic lo-band, thru to digi-beta and then NLE....I realllllly hate it when people say that.

BETAMAX ≠ BETACAM


I didn't catch my mistake until it posted.
The entire thread was saying 'betamax, and that's what was going through my mind when I typed it.

/former CBS employee.
 
GBB [TotalFark]
2014-06-19 06:32:04 AM

hubiestubert: The reason is: porn. Plain and simple. The porn industry adopted the VHS, and thus, folks had not just a recorder of all those made for TV movies, but could watch all the dirty, nasty, sticky and perverse stuff that they had on tapes in dingy little stores, or you could order from the back of magazines.

Porn swung the market, and anyone who thinks it was the engineering, or weight, or any of the other reasons, they're just deluding themselves...


www.wearysloth.com
That's "dildoing" themselves, dummy.
 
2014-06-19 06:33:45 AM
Fair enough.....I will forgive you this time ;)

Otherwise i will come over there...and i will drop many many umatic hi-band recorders on you... (man the kids today don't realise how easy they have it...I remember taking out the portable u-matic recorders, which weren't exactly light...and then the PAG batteries)
 
GBB [TotalFark]
2014-06-19 06:39:51 AM
Sony seems to have a long history of failed physical media formats.
 
2014-06-19 06:50:45 AM
I have one of these, but I've never been able to find any tapes to try it out. It weighs a ton.

www.labguysworld.com
 
2014-06-19 07:23:11 AM

OgreMagi: Another factor was licensing.  Sony wanted too much money to license the technology.  From what I remember, JVC charged very little, possibly nothing at all, for a license.  If Sony had more time as the only option in the market, they might have been able to pull it off.  But once JVC jumped in as well as other VHS manufacturers, Sony should have pulled back on the fee.  Beta was definitely a superior picture, but as said in the video, good enough won out.


This.  Well-put, OgreMagi.  In the mid-to-late 70's I sold TVs, stereos, etc. at Wallichs Music City in Torrance and Hollywood, and I can corroborate your analysis.  It was Sony's own greed and shortsightedness that killed Betamax.  JVC outplayed them COMPLETELY.
 
2014-06-19 07:25:20 AM

OgreMagi: Another factor was licensing.  Sony wanted too much money to license the technology.  From what I remember, JVC charged very little, possibly nothing at all, for a license.  If Sony had more time as the only option in the market, they might have been able to pull it off.  But once JVC jumped in as well as other VHS manufacturers, Sony should have pulled back on the fee.  Beta was definitely a superior picture, but as said in the video, good enough won out.


Since most of you aren't old enough to remember all of that, I'll go ahead and confirm it.  Betamax machines were more expensive, the tapes were more expensive, and for a long time they only handled an hour per tape.  I think we got our first recorder in 1980 or 81, and it came down to "higher picture quality, lower tape capacity, and higher price" vs. "lower picture quality, higher tape capacity, and lower price."  Since JVC was winning two out of three it wasn't surprising they took an edge in the market.  And by the time Sony had managed to get two hours onto one tape, VHS had managed long play and super long play tapes that could do 4 or 6 hours per tape.

I don't remember most people caring about weight - it's not like mail order was as popular back then as it was now.  But these machines were expensive to begin with, and the Sony premium, just like the memory stick, ended up not being worth it.
 
2014-06-19 08:32:39 AM

Lsherm: OgreMagi: Another factor was licensing.  Sony wanted too much money to license the technology.  From what I remember, JVC charged very little, possibly nothing at all, for a license.  If Sony had more time as the only option in the market, they might have been able to pull it off.  But once JVC jumped in as well as other VHS manufacturers, Sony should have pulled back on the fee.  Beta was definitely a superior picture, but as said in the video, good enough won out.

Since most of you aren't old enough to remember all of that, I'll go ahead and confirm it.  Betamax machines were more expensive, the tapes were more expensive, and for a long time they only handled an hour per tape.  I think we got our first recorder in 1980 or 81, and it came down to "higher picture quality, lower tape capacity, and higher price" vs. "lower picture quality, higher tape capacity, and lower price."  Since JVC was winning two out of three it wasn't surprising they took an edge in the market.  And by the time Sony had managed to get two hours onto one tape, VHS had managed long play and super long play tapes that could do 4 or 6 hours per tape.

I don't remember most people caring about weight - it's not like mail order was as popular back then as it was now.  But these machines were expensive to begin with, and the Sony premium, just like the memory stick, ended up not being worth it.


Don't forget that, like the HD -DVD vs BD war, it was a patent war. Sony charged more for it's beta patents, and was a jealous biatch overall. They had very few (in comparison to VHS) CE manufacturers on their side.

Sony took the lesson to heart a bit, and when Toshiba decided to protect it's patent turf, and guarantee a revenue stream, it pissed off other CE manufacturers. Sony, being a smarter bastich this time around, had created an alliance and licensed patents from multiple CE manufacturers via that alliance. This gave those manufacturers an incentive to have BD win because of the alliance's generous payment setup for patent holders. Of course Sony makes the most, but each CE manufacturer could do the math: they'd make more building BD players.

What? You didn't think any company in any format war gives a fark about consumers, did you? All about revenue streams folks. Even Elon Musk open sourcing the charging patents makes perfect sense.
 
2014-06-19 09:09:42 AM
Pfft. I have all my stuff on U-matic. U probably never heard of it.
 
2014-06-19 09:13:31 AM

Unobtanium: Pfft. I have all my stuff on U-matic. U probably never heard of it.


Some of us have ;) Lo-band pauper, or Hi-band professional ;)
 
2014-06-19 09:14:34 AM
Man, does that knock the dust off the old brain,
Remember my first VHS, had to tune in each channel with a tiny screwdriver to set it up, the remote was wired to the box, and the box was the size of a small suitcase. If I remember right, you had to set the date and time on / off you wanted to record. It still was a marvel at the time.
Kids got it easy with plug and play today.
 
2014-06-19 09:24:33 AM

cig-mkr: Man, does that knock the dust off the old brain,
Remember my first VHS, had to tune in each channel with a tiny screwdriver to set it up, the remote was wired to the box, and the box was the size of a small suitcase. If I remember right, you had to set the date and time on / off you wanted to record. It still was a marvel at the time.
Kids got it easy with plug and play today.


And if your cable system was running old scrambling tech, you could tune in HBO by telling the VCR to tune in channel 4 and a half.
 
2014-06-19 09:40:37 AM

Tom_Slick: cig-mkr: Man, does that knock the dust off the old brain,
Remember my first VHS, had to tune in each channel with a tiny screwdriver to set it up, the remote was wired to the box, and the box was the size of a small suitcase. If I remember right, you had to set the date and time on / off you wanted to record. It still was a marvel at the time.
Kids got it easy with plug and play today.

And if your cable system was running old scrambling tech, you could tune in HBO by telling the VCR to tune in channel 4 and a half.


YES ! forgot all about that, but remembered that there were people that repaired VCRs too.
Ever pull out a cassette and leave half the tape in the machine?
 
2014-06-19 09:40:40 AM

moel: Unobtanium: Pfft. I have all my stuff on U-matic. U probably never heard of it.

Some of us have ;) Lo-band pauper, or Hi-band professional ;)


Semi-pro. Used it in college, paid gig video taping classes for distance learning
 
2014-06-19 09:45:36 AM

Unobtanium: moel: Unobtanium: Pfft. I have all my stuff on U-matic. U probably never heard of it.

Some of us have ;) Lo-band pauper, or Hi-band professional ;)

Semi-pro. Used it in college, paid gig video taping classes for distance learning



Nice, similar thing here....I had severe nostalgia pangs, watching flight of the conchords..when Germaine started rocking what looked extremely similar to the edit controller we had back in the day..
cdnl.complex.com
 
2014-06-19 09:55:39 AM

cig-mkr: Tom_Slick: cig-mkr: Man, does that knock the dust off the old brain,
Remember my first VHS, had to tune in each channel with a tiny screwdriver to set it up, the remote was wired to the box, and the box was the size of a small suitcase. If I remember right, you had to set the date and time on / off you wanted to record. It still was a marvel at the time.
Kids got it easy with plug and play today.

And if your cable system was running old scrambling tech, you could tune in HBO by telling the VCR to tune in channel 4 and a half.

YES ! forgot all about that, but remembered that there were people that repaired VCRs too.
Ever pull out a cassette and leave half the tape in the machine?


Or have the rewind mechanism not auto shut off and rip the tape out of the spool.  Then the rental place would try to charge you $150 for a replacement tape.
 
2014-06-19 10:16:43 AM

OgreMagi: gingerjet: marcre3363: More recently, we saw the same battle play out between Blu Ray and HD DVD.

Sony threw everything they had at coming out on top. And, as a consumer, I waited several years after the dust settled to get a Blu Ray Player, only when my DVD player failed and I could score one for $70, as opposed to the $399 price tag they originally had.

Blu-ray was Sony learning from its past mistakes.  However - the use of physical media has fallen so quickly that even Sony was surprised by it and is losing money on plants that manufacture the things.  But they are making a ton of money selling the very same content digitally which will soon surpass the Blu-ray disc sales.

Blu-Ray was also a major selling point of the PS3.  When the PS3 hit the market, BluRay was still brand new and VERY expensive.  For just $100 more you got BluRay and a top end game console.

And yes, physical media is going away.  When people think, "I want to watch that movie", they don't want to have to drive to the store to get it.  They want to fire up an online service and get it right now.  So a lot more impulse shopping in the video world is happening.  With the physical media, the desire to see "that movie" could be gone by the time they get around to going to the store.


Physical media rentals are dying, but there are plenty of reasons to own Blu-Rays:
1. Caps on data plans. Streaming movies or a weekend of binge watching can whip right through your data allowance.
2. Picture quality. Streaming media at 480i can't compete with a gorgeous 1080p Blu-Ray on a 60-inch screen and surround sound.
3. Selection. Streaming services drop films from their catalogs so you can never count on a given show's availability. And like Blockbuster, older and obscure films are neglected so the tastes of the Great Unwashed dominate. I can't get Marat/Sade on Netflix, but I can get all the Family Guy I can handle.
 
2014-06-19 10:23:51 AM
I think it was around 2000, I was in university and moved away from home for a 4 month co-op job. I was going to be working weird shift work (which sucked) and I new I was going to be missing a bunch of TV that I liked. I asked my parents if they had a VCR they could loan me to help me out, and back in a closet somewhere they found an old betamax machine and a few tapes. The thing was basically two pieces (I think one had the tuner and one had the recorder) so that you could put them side by side on the shelf or stack them. It was hilarious, but it worked for those months that I needed it. I am pretty sure it looked something like this:

www.betainfoguide.net
 
2014-06-19 10:43:59 AM
saw a Betamax player a few weeks ago at a Goodwill.  looked to be in really good shape and I think they only wanted like $20 for it.  had to talk myself out of buying it..
 
2014-06-19 10:47:39 AM

Lsherm: OgreMagi: Another factor was licensing.  Sony wanted too much money to license the technology.  From what I remember, JVC charged very little, possibly nothing at all, for a license.  If Sony had more time as the only option in the market, they might have been able to pull it off.  But once JVC jumped in as well as other VHS manufacturers, Sony should have pulled back on the fee.  Beta was definitely a superior picture, but as said in the video, good enough won out.

Since most of you aren't old enough to remember all of that, I'll go ahead and confirm it.  Betamax machines were more expensive, the tapes were more expensive, and for a long time they only handled an hour per tape.  I think we got our first recorder in 1980 or 81, and it came down to "higher picture quality, lower tape capacity, and higher price" vs. "lower picture quality, higher tape capacity, and lower price."  Since JVC was winning two out of three it wasn't surprising they took an edge in the market.  And by the time Sony had managed to get two hours onto one tape, VHS had managed long play and super long play tapes that could do 4 or 6 hours per tape.

I don't remember most people caring about weight - it's not like mail order was as popular back then as it was now.  But these machines were expensive to begin with, and the Sony premium, just like the memory stick, ended up not being worth it.


It's also hilarious to think people actually cared that much about picture quality back then. A lot of the old tube TVs we were using were ten years old, overscanning like crazy, with worn out phosphor that only registered color in dingy tones. Not that we cared, because most of us got our signal through the bunny ear antenna on the top of the unit, and you'd be lucky if you had a single channel come in without interference. Under those circumstances, the picture quality between VHS and Beta was no more than incidental. Most consumers thought a good quality image was one that didn't have static running across the screen. VHS and Beta looked the same to them.

You kids probably think I'm exaggerating. I'm not.
 
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