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Encyclopedia > Betamax
Media type: Video recording media
Encoding: Magnetic tape
Developed by: Sony
Usage: Video storage

Sony's Betamax is the 12.7 millimeter (0.5 in) home videocassette tape recording format introduced on April 16, 1975 (in market on May 10) and derived from the earlier, professional 19.1 millimeter (0.75 in) U-matic video cassette format. Like the video home recording system VHS introduced by JVC in 1976, it had no guard band, and used azimuth recording to reduce cross-talk. The "Betamax" name came from a double meaning: beta being the Japanese word used to describe the way signals were recorded onto the tape, and from the fact that when the tape ran through the transport it looked like the Greek letter "Beta" (β). The suffix -max came from "maximum" to suggest greatness.[1] Sanyo marketed a version as Betacord, but this was also referred casually to as "Beta." In addition to Sony and Sanyo, Beta format video recorders were also sold by Toshiba, Pioneer, Aiwa and NEC, and the Zenith Electronics Corporation and WEGA Corporations contracted with Sony to produce VCRs for their product lines. Department stores like Sears, in the US and Canada, and Quelle in Germany sold Beta format VCRs under their house brands as did the RadioShack chain of electronic stores. Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... Video is the technology of capturing, recording, processing, transmitting, and reconstructing moving pictures, typically using celluloid film, electronic signals, or digital media, primarily for viewing on television or as video clips on computer monitors. ... Look up encoding in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Compact audio cassette Magnetic tape is a non-volatile storage medium consisting of a magnetic coating on a thin plastic strip. ... Sony Corporation ) is a Japanese multinational corporation and one of the worlds largest media conglomerates with revenue of $66. ... Sony Corporation ) is a Japanese multinational corporation and one of the worlds largest media conglomerates with revenue of $66. ... A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter), symbol mm is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... An inch (plural: inches; symbol or abbreviation: in or, sometimes, ″ - a double prime) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... The video cassette recorder (or VCR, less popularly video tape recorder) is a type of video tape recorder that uses removable cassettes containing magnetic tape to record audio and video from a television broadcast so it can be played back later. ... is the 106th day of the year (107th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 130th day of the year (131st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Sony U-matic VTR BVU-800 A U-matic tape U-matic is the name of a videocassette format developed by Sony in 1969. ... Look up format in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Top view VHS cassette with US Quarter for scale Bottom view of VHS cassette with magnetic tape exposed The Video Home System, better known by its acronym VHS, is a recording and playing standard for video cassette recorders (VCRs), developed by JVC (ironically, with some of its critical technology under... Victor Company of Japan, Limited ) (TYO: 6792 ), usually referred to as JVC, is an international consumer and professional electronics corporation based in Yokohama, Japan which was founded in 1927. ... A guard band is a small part of the radio spectrum in between radio bands, for the purpose of preventing interference. ... Azimuth recording is the use of a variation in angle between two recording heads that are recording data so close together on magnetic tape that crosstalk] would otherwise likely occur. ... Look up crosstalk in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Beta (upper case Î’, lower case β) is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Sanyo Electric Co. ... Toshiba Corporations headquarters (Center) in Hamamatsucho, Tokyo Toshiba Corporation sales by division for year ending March 31, 2005 Toshiba Corporation ) (TYO: 6502 ) is a Japanese multinational conglomerate manufacturing company, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. ... Old Pioneer Logo (Until 1998) Pioneer Corporation ) (TYO: 6773 ) is a Japanese multinational corporation that specializes in digital entertainment products, based in Tokyo, Japan. ... Aiwa was a Japanese consumer electronics company, founded in 1951. ... NEC Corporation (Jp. ... Zenith Electronics Corporation is a manufacturer of televisions in the USA. It was the inventor of the modern remote control, and it introduced HDTV in North America. ... WEGA (pronounced vega) was a pioneering German radio manufacturer, manufacturing some of Germanys earliest radio sets. ... Sony Corporation ) is a Japanese multinational corporation and one of the worlds largest media conglomerates with revenue of $66. ... Sears, Roebuck and Company is an American mid-range chain of international department stores, founded by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck in the late 19th century. ... This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ... The exterior of a typical free-standing RadioShack store. ...

Sony introduced the Betamax home video system in 1975 with the LV-1901 Trinitron/Betamax console. It was the most popular video format in 1983, gaining almost a third of the UK video recorder market, while Sanyo's VTC5000 was the top selling UK video recorder. By 1985, however, the market had turned sharply towards VHS. Sanyo Electric Co. ...

The world's first camcorders were Sony's Betamovie Betamax recorders. 8mm Camcorder mini-DV Camcorder A camcorder is a portable electronic device (generally a digital camera) for recording images and audio onto a storage device. ...

The world's first brand of camcorder, 1983


Image File history File links Sony_bmc100p. ... Image File history File links Sony_bmc100p. ...

The legacy of Betamax

The VHS format's defeat of the Betamax format became a classic marketing case study. Sony's ability to dictate an industry standard backfired when JVC, and parent Matsushita, made the tactical decision to forego Sony's offer of Betamax in favor of JVC's VHS technology. They felt that it would end up like the U-Matic deal, with Sony dominating. By 1984, forty companies utilized the VHS format in comparison with Beta's twelve. Sony finally conceded defeat in 1988 when it too began producing VHS recorders. However, Sony may be said to have had some small consolation as its Video-8 small-format videotape is essentially a scaled-down version of the Betamax. (8mm cassette had the advantage with up to 4 hours length versus VHS-C's 2 hour limit. On the down side, since the 8mm format was incompatible with VHS, 8mm recordings could not be played in home VCRs. Equally important entry-level VHS-C camcorders were priced less than 8 mm units, and thus neither "won" the war. It became a stalemate.) “Next big thing” redirects here. ... Victor Company of Japan, Limited ) (TYO: 6792 ), usually referred to as JVC, is an international consumer and professional electronics corporation based in Yokohama, Japan which was founded in 1927. ... Logo for the Panasonic brand Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. ... Sony U-matic VTR BVU-800 A U-matic tape U-matic is the name of a videocassette format developed by Sony in 1969. ... A Video8 cassette The 8mm video format refers informally to three related videocassette formats for the NTSC and PAL/SECAM television systems. ...

The real reason for the success of VHS is RCA, who asked Matsushita for a 4 hour VHS machine. RCA had earlier discussed this with Sony during Beta's development phase, but Sony's engineers felt that by slowing the tape speed from 4 to 2 cm/sec and narrowing the video track, picture quality would be too poor. Matsushita, despite protests from JVC, delivered Long Play, exactly what RCA wanted. RCA in turn would offer their 4 hour VHS decks at a suggested retail of US$995. RCA's pricing and marketing of their 4 hour mode VHS machine would be crucial. RCA, formerly an acronym for the Radio Corporation of America, is now a trademark owned by Thomson SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Thomson. ...

Betamax offered a slightly higher horizontal resolution (250 lines vs. 240 lines in PAL & NTSC), lower video noise, and less luma-chroma crosstalk than VHS. However, the introduction of B-II speed (2-hour mode) and B-III speed (3-hour mode), to compete with VHS's 2-hour Standard Play and 4-hour Long Play modes, reduced Betamax's horizontal resolution to 240 lines.[2] The extension of VHS to VHS HQ produced 250 lines, so that overall a Betamax/VHS user could expect virtually identical luminance and chrominance resolution (~30 lines across), wherein the actual picture performance depended on other factors, including the condition and quality of the videotape, and the specific video recorder machine model. Look up crosstalk in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

One other major consequence of the Betamax technology's introduction to the U.S. was the lawsuit Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios (1984, the "Betamax case"), with the U.S. Supreme Court determining home videotaping to be legal in the United States, wherein home videotape cassette recorders were a legal technology since they had substantial non-infringing uses. This precedent was later invoked in MGM v. Grokster (2005), where the high court agreed that the same "substantial non-infringing uses" standard applies to authors and vendors of peer-to-peer file sharing software (notably excepting those who "actively induce" copyright infringement through "purposeful, culpable expression and conduct"). Sony Corp v. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... Holding decision pending Court membership Case opinions Laws applied Copyright Act of 1976 MGM Studios, Inc. ... A peer-to-peer (or P2P) computer network is a network that relies on the computing power and bandwidth of the participants in the network rather than concentrating it in a relatively few servers. ...

Three Sony Betamax VCRs built for the American market. Top to Bottom: (1982) SL-2000 portable with TT-2000 tuner/timer 'Base Station', (1984) SL-HF 300 Betamax HiFi unit, (1988) SL-HF 360 SuperBeta HiFi unit.
Three Sony Betamax VCRs built for the American market. Top to Bottom: (1982) SL-2000 portable with TT-2000 tuner/timer 'Base Station', (1984) SL-HF 300 Betamax HiFi unit, (1988) SL-HF 360 SuperBeta HiFi unit.
A rare Japanese market Betamax TV/VCR combo – Model SL-MV1.
A rare Japanese market Betamax TV/VCR combo – Model SL-MV1.
The early form of Betacam tapes are interchangeable with Betamax, though the recordings are not.
The early form of Betacam tapes are interchangeable with Betamax, though the recordings are not.

In the professional and broadcast video industry, Sony's Betacam, derived from Betamax as a professional format, became one of several standard formats; production houses exchange footage on Betacam videocassettes, and the Betacam system became the most widely used videotape format in the ENG (Electronic News Gathering) industry, replacing the 3/4" U-matic tape format (which was the first practical and cost-effective portable videotape format for broadcast television, signaling the end of 16mm film — and the phrase "film at eleven" often heard on the six-o-clock newscast, before the film had been developed). The professional derivative of VHS, MII (aka Recam), faced off against Betacam and lost. Once Betacam became the de facto standard of the broadcast industry, its position in the professional market mirrored VHS's dominance in the home-video market. On a technical level, Betacam and Betamax are similar in that both share the same videocassette shape, use the same oxide tape formulation with the same coercivity, and both record linear audio tracks on the same location of the videotape. But in the key area of video recording, Betacam and Betamax are completely different. BetaCam tapes are mechanically interchangeable with Betamax, but not electronically. BetaCam moves the tape at 12 cm/sec, with different recording/encoding techniques. Betamax is a color-under system with linear tape speeds ranging from 4 cm/sec to 1.33 cm/sec. Image File history File links Three_betamax_vcrs. ... Image File history File links Three_betamax_vcrs. ... Image File history File links SL-MV1. ... Image File history File links SL-MV1. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (986x317, 76 KB) Summary On the left, a professional Betacam tape, on the right a domestic Beta (Betamax) tape. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (986x317, 76 KB) Summary On the left, a professional Betacam tape, on the right a domestic Beta (Betamax) tape. ... Sony Betacam-SP VTP BVW-65 Betacam and VHS size comparison Betacam SP L (top), Betacam SP S (left), VHS (right) The early form of Betacam tapes are interchangeable with Betamax, though the recordings are not. ... In 1974, Joseph Flaherty, then vice-president at CBS Inc. ... The idiom Film at 11 originates from television newsbroadcasting. ... Note: The MII video tape format is not to be confused with Panasonics M2 videogame console The official logo for the MII videocassette format (courtesy Panasonic) MII is a professional videocassette format developed by Panasonic in 1986 as their answer & competitive product to Sonys Betacam SP format. ... De facto is a Latin expression that means in fact or in practice. It is commonly used as opposed to de jure (meaning by law) when referring to matters of law or governance or technique (such as standards), that are found in the common experience as created or developed without... In material science, the Coercivity of a ferromagnetic material is the intensity of the magnetic field required to reduce the magnetization of that material to zero after the magnetization of the sample has reached saturation. ...

Sony also offered a range of Industrial Betamax products, a Beta I only format for industrial and institutional users. Basically cheaper and smaller than U-Matic. The arrival of the Betacam system reduced the demand for both Industrial Beta and U-Matic equipment.

Betamax also had a significant part to play in the music recording industry when Sony introduced its PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) digital recording system as an encoding box / PCM adaptor that connected to a Betamax recorder. The Sony PCM-F1 adaptor was sold with a companion Betamax VCR SL-2000 as a portable Digital audio recording system. Many recording engineers used this system in the 1980s and 1990s to make their first digital master recordings. Pulse-code modulation (PCM) is a digital representation of an analog signal where the magnitude of the signal is sampled regularly at uniform intervals, then quantized to a series of symbols in a digital (usually binary) code. ... High-quality PCM audio requires a significantly larger bandwidth than a regular FM audio signal. ... Digital audio comprises audio signals stored in a digital format. ...

Initially, Sony was able to tout several Betamax-only features, such as BetaScan, a high speed picture search in either direction, and BetaSkipScan, a technique that allowed the operator to see where he was on the tape by pressing the FF key (or REW, if in that mode) and the transport would switch into the BetaScan mode until the key was released. Sony believed that the M-Load transports used by VHS machines made copying these trick modes impossible. BetaScan was originally called "Videola" until the company that made the Moviola threatened legal action. A Moviola is a device that allows a film editor to view film while editing. ...

Sony would also sell a BetaPak, a small deck designed to be used with a camera. Concerned with the need for several pieces, and cables to connect them, an integrated camera/recorder was designed, which Sony dubbed a "Camcorder". The result was Betamovie. Betamovie used the standard sized cassette, but with a modified transport. The tape was wrapped 300 degrees around a smaller, 44.671 mm diameter head drum, with a single dual-azimuth head to write the video tracks. For playback, the tape would be inserted into a Beta format deck. Due to the different geometry and writing techniques employed, playback within the camcorder was not feasible. SuperBeta and Industrial Betamovie camcorders would also be sold by Sony.

HiFi audio upgrade

Betamax introduced high fidelity audio to videotape, as Betahifi. For NTSC, Betahifi worked by placing a pair of FM carriers between the chroma (C) and luminance (Y) carriers, a process known as audio frequency modulation. Each head had a specific pair of carriers, in total four individual channels were employed. Head A recorded its hifi carriers at 1.38(L) and 1.68(R) MHz, and the B head employed 1.53 and 1.83 MHz. The result was audio with an 80 dB dynamic range, with less than 0.005% wow and flutter. NTSC is the analog television system in use in the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, and some other countries, mostly in the Americas (see map). ...

Prior to the introduction of Betahifi, Sony shifted the Y carrier up by 400 kHz to make room for the 4 FM carriers that would be needed for Betahifi. All Beta machines incorporated this change, plus the ability to hunt for a lower frequency pre-AFM Y carrier. Sony incorporated an "anti-hunt" circuit, to stop the machine hunting for a Y carrier that wasn't there.

Some Sony NTSC models were marketed as "HiFi Ready" (with a SL-HFR prefix to the model's number instead of the usual SL or SL-HF). These Betamax decks looked like a regular Betamax model, except for a special 28 pin connector on the rear. If the user desired a Betahifi model but lacked the funds at the time, he could purchase an "SL-HFRxx" and at a later date purchase the separate Hi Fi Processor. Sony offered two outboard Betahifi processors, the HFP-100 and HFP-200. They were identical except that the HFP-200 was capable of multi-channel TV sound, with the word "stereocast" printed after the Betahifi logo. This was possible because unlike a VHS HiFi deck, an NTSC Betamax didn't need an extra pair of heads. The HFP-x00 would generate the needed carriers which would be recorded by the attached deck, and during playback the AFM carriers would be passed to the HFP-x00. They also had a small "fine tracking" control on the rear panel for difficult tapes.

For PAL however, the bandwidth between the Chroma and Luminance carriers was not sufficient enough to allow additional FM carriers, so depth multiplexing was employed, where the audio track would be recorded in the same way that the video track was. The lower frequency audio track was written first by a dedicated head, and the video track recorded on top by the video head. The head disk had an extra pair of audio only heads with a different azimuth, positioned slightly ahead of the regular video heads, for this purpose. For other uses, see PAL (disambiguation). ...

Sony was confident that VHS could not achieve the same audio performance feat as Betahifi. However, to the chagrin of Sony, JVC did develop a VHS hi-fi system on the principle of depth multiplexing approximately a year after the first Betahifi VCR, the SL-5200, was introduced by Sony. Despite initial praise as providing "CD sound quality," both Beta Hi-Fi and VHS HiFi suffered from "carrier buzz," where high frequency information bled into the audio carriers, creating momentary "buzzing" and other audio flaws. Both systems also used companding noise-reduction systems, which could create "pumping" artifacts under some conditions. Both formats also suffered from interchange problems, where tapes made on one machines did not always play back well on other machines. When this happened, users were forced to revert to the old linear soundtrack.

New standards – SuperBetamax and Extended Definition Betamax

In 1985 Sony would introduce a new feature, High Band or SuperBeta, by again shifting the Y carrier, this time by 800 kHz. This improved the bandwidth available to the Y sideband, and increased the horizontal resolution from 240 to 290 lines on a regular grade Betamax cassette. Since over-the-antenna and cable signals were only 300-330 lines resolution, SuperBeta could make a nearly-identical copy of live television. However, the chroma resolution still remained relatively poor, limited to just under 0.4 megahertz or approximately 30 lines resolution, whereas live broadcast chroma resolution was over 100 lines. The heads were also narrowed to 29 microns to reduce crosstalk, with a narrower head gap to play back the higher carrier frequency at 5.6 MHz. Later, some models would feature further improvement, in the form of Beta-Is, a high band version of the Beta-I recording mode. There were some incompatibilities between the older Beta decks and SuperBeta, but most could play back a high band tape without major problems. SuperBeta decks had a switch to disable the SuperBeta mode for compatibility purposes. (SuperBeta was only marginally supported, as many licensees had already discontinued their Betamax line.)

In response to SuperBeta, JVC introduced the new Super VHS and S-VHS-Compact standards in 1987. S-VHS was capable of recording 5+ megahertz or up to 420 horizontal lines of resolution, equal to Laserdisc quality. In modern digital terms, that is approximately 560x480 pixels edge-to-edge. However, due to the higher frequencies required to produce more resolution than SuperBeta, the Super VHS mode required a costly, specially formulated high grade tape. S-VHS or Super VHS was an improved, backward-compatible version of the VHS standard for domestic video cassette recorders. ...

In response to Super VHS-C, Sony upgraded its Video8 camcorders to Hi8 quality in 1988. And at home, Sony would again push the envelope with ED or "Extended Definition" Betamax, capable of up to 500 lines of resolution, that equaled DVD quality (480 typical). In order to store the ~6.5 megahertz-wide luma signal, with the peak frequency at 9.3 MHz, Sony used a metal formulation tape from the Betacam (branded "ED-Metal"), and incorporated some improvements to the transport to reduce mechanically induced aberrations in the picture. ED Beta also featured a luminance carrier deviation of 2.5 MHz, as opposed to the 1.2 MHz used in SuperBeta, improving contrast with reduced luminance noise.

Sony introduced two ED decks and a camcorder in the late 1980s. The top end EDV-9300 deck was a very capable editing deck, rivalling much more expensive U-Matic setups for its accuracy and features, but did not have commercial success due to lack of timecode and other pro features. Sony did market ED Beta to "semi-professional" users, or "prosumers". One complaint about the EDC-55 ED CAM was that it needed a lot of light (at least 25 lux), due to the use of two CCDs instead of the typical single CCD imaging device. The ED Beta lineup only recorded in BII/BIII modes, with the ability to playback BI/BIs.

JVC responded to ED Beta by extending its standard with Digital VHS that could record DVD or HDTV quality. Sony's response was to release DV/miniDV in the mid-90s and Digital8 in 1999 (both using the same DV codec). In 2003, JVC and Sony put aside their rivalry, and jointly announced the HDV MPEG2-compliant codec for high-definition recording. D-VHS logo “DVHS” redirects here. ... A MiniDV Camcorder For other uses, see DV (disambiguation). ... Digital-8 (or D8) is a consumer digital videotape format developed by Sony in the late 1990s. ... HDV can also mean Hepatitis D virus. ...

Despite the sharp decline in sales of Betamax recorders in the late 1980s and subsequent halt in production of new recorders by Sony in 2002, both Betamax and SuperBetamax are still being used by a small number of people, most of whom are collectors or hobbyists. New cassettes are still available for purchase at online shops and used recorders are often found at flea markets, thrift stores, or on internet auction sites. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


Size comparison between a Betamax cassette (top) and a VHS cassette (bottom).
Size comparison between a Betamax cassette (top) and a VHS cassette (bottom).

A multitude of technical drawbacks hurt it in its competition with VHS. The main issue with the Betamax format in the early days of the USA market was recording time. The original prototypes shown to Matsushita used a linear tape speed of 40 mm/sec. The technology of the day needed that speed due to the 60 micron heads employed. Sony engineers and management had decided that since one hour was acceptable to the U-Matic's buyers, it was acceptable for Betamax too. So the Betamax format had a smaller, one hour cassette called a K-60. (The designation would later change to L-500.) The cassette was loaded with 150 m of tape (close to 500 feet, which is where the "500" designation came from). Image File history File links Information. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Betavhs2. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Betavhs2. ...

RCA had initially planned a home video format around 1974, to be called "SelectaVision MagTape," but cancelled it after hearing rumors about Sony's Betamax format, and was considering Sony as an OEM for an RCA-branded VCR. RCA had discussions with Sony, but RCA felt the recording time was too short, insisting that they needed at least a 4-hour recording time (reportedly because that was the length of an average televised U.S. football game). Sony engineers knew that the technology available to manufacture video heads wasn't up to the task yet, but halving the tape speed and track width was a possibility. Unfortunately, the picture quality would be degraded severely, and at that time Sony engineers felt the compromise was not worthwhile.

Soon after, RCA met with execs with the Victor Corporation of Japan (JVC), who had created their own video format, christened "VHS" (which stood for "Video Helical Scan" and later "Video Home System"). But JVC also refused to compromise the picture quality of their format by allowing a 4-hour mode. Ironically, their parent corporation, Matsushita, later met with RCA, and agreed to manufacture a 4-hour-capable VHS machine for RCA, much to JVC's chagrin. In response, Sony would introduce an "X2/Beta-II" speed of 20 mm/sec for a "2 hour Betamax." This led to confusion in the market, as some decks only recorded in B-II, and others didn't even play B-1 tapes. Later models would have the capability to handle a thinner tape that ran for 90 minutes in B-II mode, but many decks only recorded in B-II.

Recording time was everything, with Beta eventually managing 5 hours at B-III (13.3 mm/sec) on an ultra-thin L-830 cassette, and VHS eventually achieving 10.6 hours with SLP/EP on a T-210 cassette. Slower tape speeds meant a degradation in picture quality, but the consumer didn't seem to mind. From the consumer perspective, buying a single 8-hour VHS tape for $5 is cheaper than buying two 4-hour Betamax tapes for $10. (It should be noted that in Europe, which uses the PAL television system, recording time was never such an issue. An L-750 runs for 3.25 hours with the PAL system, whereas the equivalent E180 tape would run for just 3 hours, giving Beta a longer running time for most users.) For other uses, see PAL (disambiguation). ...

According James Lardner's 1987 book, "Fast Forward: Hollywood, the Japanese, and the Onslaught of the VCR," Sony had met with Matsushita execs sometime in late 1974/early 1975, to discuss the forthcoming home video market. They had previously co-operated in the development and marketing of the "U" format videocassette, with Sony marketing under the U-Matic brand. Sony laid their cards on the table and brought along a Betamax prototype for Matsushita's engineers to evaluate. Sony at the time was unaware of JVC's work. At a later meeting, Matsushita, with JVC management in attendance, showed Sony a VHS prototype, and advised them it was not too late to embrace VHS "for the good of the industry." Sony management were too close to production (and, one could argue, too proud and arrogant) to compromise, and felt their generosity had been taken advantage of. Thus, the stage was set for a battle between Sony and Matsushita in the arena of home video.

Another amusing (and false) theory is that Sony refused to allow pornographic material on their system. A quick perusal of the Betamax library reveals that adult entertainment was readily available. For example, Playboy Industries released their videos in a dual format, both Betamax and VHS, for most of the 1970s and 80s (and can be confirmed with a quick search through Ebay's adult section, or other used video markets). Second, the adult industry is too small to have any lasting impact on standards selection. According to Forbes.com, adult video income is approximately $1 billion. "The industry is tiny next to broadcast television ($32.3 billion in 1999), cable television ($45.5 billion), the newspaper business ($27.5 billion), Hollywood ($31 billion), even to professional and educational publishing ($14.8 billion). When one really examines the numbers, the porn industry — while a subject of fascination — is every bit as marginal as it seems at first glance."[3]

Popular culture

Betamax was featured in a sinister context in David Cronenberg's 1983 film Videodrome, in which a video signal recorded on Betamax tape is used for mind control. By the late 1980s, however, jokes about the format's unpopularity were appearing in popular culture. David Cronenberg at Cannes 2002 David Paul Cronenberg OC, FRSC (born May 15, 1943[1]) is a Canadian film director and occasional actor. ... Videodrome is a 1983 film directed by David Cronenberg. ... Mind control (or thought control) has the premise that an outside source can control an individuals thinking, behavior or consciousness (either directly or more subtly). ...

  • In the 1990 novel Good Omens, a 17th-century book of prophecies includes the warning "Do Notte Buye Betamacks".[5]
  • The format appeared in some episodes of The Simpsons
    • In a 1992 episode, Snake steals a VCR, but on inspecting it exclaims "Oh no, Beta!"[6]
    • In a 2003 episode, Homer is at the local garbage dump, and walks past a box of betamax tapes that had been left at the dump.[7]
    • The local video-rental store in Springfield has been known as 'VHS Village' with a subtext saying 'formerly Beta Barn'.
  • In an episode of Futurama, Mom says that she won't be around forever and a talking Betamax player says, "Oh shush," in response.[8]
  • In an episode of the television series Cowboy Bebop, two of the main characters, Spike and Jet, must go out in search of a Beta player in an ancient history museum in order to view a mysterious beta cassette tape they received in the mail. Upon returning with a player, they woefully discover that they had found a VHS player, not Betamax.
  • In an episode of Garbage Pail Kids, the character Fraidy Kat, receives a VHS copy of the Good Witch's Workout video and asks "Do you got it in Beta?".[9]
  • As a well-known obsolete storage medium, beta videotapes are sometimes mentioned alongside other things that themselves are — or may become — outdated. For example, in a 2003 episode of The Simpsons, a junkyard contains a pile of Betamax tapes, a pile of laserdiscs, and next to them an empty space with a sign reading "reserved for DVD".[10]
  • In rock climbing, to give guidance as to how to climb a particular route is called "giving beta". This is due to climbers sometimes videotaping other climbers on climbing routes using the Betamax format (when it was still in use), then reviewing the tapes to evaluate techniques to help them climb the same routes in the future.
  • The card game Chrononauts contains an artifact called "Videotape of the creation of the universe" the picture features a Betamax tape with the caption "please don't erase".
  • In Season 3 of That '70s Show, Red buys a Betamax and insists on first taping Roots and then playing it back, rather than letting Kitty just watch it live. The plan falls through when Red discovers he forgot to put the tape into the machine.
  • In the British science fiction programme Doctor Who, Betamax is mentioned twice in the 2005 and 2006 Series. In the episode Father's Day it is mentioned that among other odd-job endeavours Pete Tyler, Rose Tyler's father, uses Betamax tapes. In a later episode, The Idiot's Lantern, the Tenth Doctor uses a Betamax tape to trap the episode's villain — an entity calling herself The Wire — stating that he will tape over it to ensure she does not escape.
  • In a 2004 episode of the animated series Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, George Jetson is suing the People of Earth for causing the polar ice caps to melt and thus causing massive flooding. During the trial proceedings George Jetson's attorney, Harvey Birdman, presents the court with a video tape showing what the Earth looks like after global warming has caused the polar ice caps to melt. The video tape is a Betamax, to which Mentok the Mindtaker, the presiding judge, questions whether anyone in the court has a Betamax player.
  • In episode 2.2 of BBC series The Mighty Boosh, "The Priest and the Beast," Rudi Van DiSarnio (Julian Barratt) and Spider Dijon (Noel Fielding) enounter the Betamax Bandit, who is terrorising a small village.
  • In the 1986 movie The Fly, Gina Davis's character uses a betamax cam to record Seth Brundle's experiments.

This article is about a genre of comedy. ... Married… with Children was a long-running American sitcom about a dysfunctional family living in Chicago. ... Bell bottoms are trousers that become more wide from the knees downwards. ... Browning (Chevy Chase) is a PI with a bad cold, whos sent to investigate a case by a mysterious client. ... Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990) is a fantasy novel written in collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. ... Simpsons redirects here. ... The Fat and the Furriest is an episode from The Simpsons that aired in the fifteenth season on November 30, 2003. ... Homer Jay Simpson is a fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons voiced by Dan Castellaneta. ... This article is about the television series. ... Mom in her first appearance, wearing her fatsuit and kindly public persona Mom is a fictional character and recurring antagonist on the animated series Futurama, voiced by Tress MacNeille. ... Original run April 3, 1998 – April 23, 1999 No. ... Garbage Pail Kids is an American animated television series which was produced in 1987 and 1988, based on the popular Garbage Pail Kids bubble gum cards, produced and directed by Bob Hathcock and co-written and developed by Flint Dille. ... Many different consumer electronic devices can store data. ... Pioneers LaserDisc Logo The Laserdisc (LD) was the first commercial optical disc storage medium, and was used primarily for the presentation of movies. ... Size comparison: A 12 cm Sony DVD+RW and a 19 cm Dixon Ticonderoga pencil. ... The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (Sometimes shortened as Billy & Mandy or Grim Adventures), created by Maxwell Atoms, is an American animated television series aired on Cartoon Network. ... Information Nickname(s) Twinkletoes Aliases Frederick F. Flintstone Species Human Gender Male Age Mid 30s Occupation Crane Operator Family Ed Flintstone (father), Edna Flintstone (mother), Rocksy Rubble (granddaughter), Chip Rubble (grandson), Bamm-Bamm Rubble (son-in-law) Spouse(s) Wilma Flintstone Children Pebbles Flintstone Portrayed by Alan Reed, Henry... Orders & Suborders Saurischia Sauropodomorpha Theropoda Ornithischia Thyreophora Ornithopoda Marginocephalia Dinosaurs were vertebrate animals that dominated the terrestrial ecosystem for over 160 million years, first appearing approximately 230 million years ago. ... A floppy disk is a data storage device that comprises a circular piece of thin, flexible (hence floppy) magnetic storage medium encased in a square or rectangular plastic wallet. ... Climbers on Valkyrie at the Roaches. ... Beta is climbing jargon that designates information about a climb. ... Chrononauts is a card game played with a specially designed set of 136 cards. ... That 70s Show is an American television sitcom that centers on the lives of a group of teenagers living in Point Place, Wisconsin, a fictional suburb of either Kenosha[1] or Green Bay[2] from May 17, 1976 to December 31, 1979. ... Roots is a 1977 American television miniseries based on Alex Haleys work Roots: The Saga of an American Family, his critically acclaimed genealogical novel. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... For other uses, see Doctor Who (disambiguation). ... Fathers Day is an episode in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast on May 14, 2005. ... Pete Tyler, full name Peter Alan Tyler, is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, played by Shaun Dingwall. ... Rose Tyler is a fictional character played by Billie Piper in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. ... The Idiots Lantern is an episode in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. ... The Tenth Doctor is the name given to the tenth and current incarnation of the fictional character known as the Doctor seen on screen in the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who. ... Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law was a comedic American animated television series created by Williams Street that airs on Cartoon Network during its Adult Swim late night programming block. ... George Jetson, with Star Trek: Voyager character Seven of Nine. ... This article is about modern humans. ... Global mean surface temperatures 1850 to 2006 Mean surface temperature anomalies during the period 1995 to 2004 with respect to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 Global warming is the observed increase in the average temperature of the Earths atmosphere and oceans in recent decades and the projected... The Mighty Boosh is a British cult comedy about two friends who go on magical adventures. ... The Priest and the Beast is the second episode of the second series of The Mighty Boosh. ... The Fly may refer to one of the following: The Fly Films and other media: The Fly (1958 film). ... Virginia Elizabeth Geena Davis (born January 21, 1956) is an Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated American actress and former fashion model. ... Seth Brundle is the lead character in David Cronenbergs 1986 film The Fly. ... Clerks II is the sequel to Kevin Smiths 1994 movie Clerks, and his sixth feature film to be set in the View Askewniverse. ... Dante Hicks (left) and Randal (right) Randal Graves (b. ... A bachelor party (also called a stag party, stag night (UK, Ireland, Canada, and NZ), bulls party (South Africa) or bucks party, bucks night (Australia)) is a party held for a bachelor shortly before he enters marriage, to make the most of his final opportunity to engage in activities a... Kickin It Old Skool is an American comedy film directed by Harvey Glazer and written by Trace Slobotkin. ... The Blue Lagoon may mean: The Blue Lagoon (novel), a novel by Henry De Vere Stacpoole The Blue Lagoon (1923 film), a silent film based on the novel The Blue Lagoon (1949 film), a film based on the novel The Blue Lagoon (1980 film), a remake of the above film...

See also

The videotape format war was a period of an intense format war of rival incompatible models of video cassette recorders in the 1970s and early 1980s. ... Peep Search (or BetaSkipScan) is feature available on many videocassette recorders and most camcorders, whereby the unit can show you what is on the tape during rewind and fast forward operations. ...

Notes and references

  1. ^ "This is a revolution!", Sony History, Sony.net
  2. ^ http://www.videointerchange.com/Video%20History.htm#BetaMax
  3. ^ Dan Ackman, How Big Is Porn?, Forbes, May 25, 2001.
  4. ^ Married... with Children episode 50, "The Harder They Fall", 1989-03-26.
  5. ^ Gaiman, Neil; Terry Pratchett (1996). Good Omens. New York: Ace, 195. ISBN 0-441-00325-7. 
  6. ^ '"The Simpsons, "Itchy and Scratchy, The Movie", 1992-11-03.
  7. ^ '"The Simpsons, "The Fat and the Furriest", 2003-11-30]].
  8. ^ Futurama, "Mother's Day", 2000-05-14.
  9. ^ Garbage Pail Kids (TV series), "The Land of Odd", 1987.
  10. ^ The Simpsons, "The Fat and the Furriest", 2003-11-30.
  11. ^ The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, "Modern Primitives", 2006-01-27.

Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... March 26 is the 85th day of the year (86th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Neil Richard Gaiman () (born November 10, 1960) is an English author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, graphic novels, comics, and films. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ... is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the television series. ... Mothers Day is episode fourteen in season two of Futurama. ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full 2000 Gregorian calendar). ... May 14 is the 134th day of the year (135th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Garbage Pail Kids is an American animated television series which was produced in 1987 and 1988, based on the popular Garbage Pail Kids bubble gum cards, produced and directed by Bob Hathcock and co-written and developed by Flint Dille. ... The Fat and the Furriest is an episode from The Simpsons that aired in the fifteenth season on November 30, 2003. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 334th day of the year (335th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Betamax - Uncyclopedia (348 words)
Betamax is a red super-giant star, one of the physically largest stars known.
The Betamax system, which comprises the planets Pro, Consumer, and Digibeta (launched in 1993), is home to the descendants of the numerous fractions of the Nazi leadership that managed to escape there in the closing months of WWII.
The Moon, destroyed by the Betamax forces prior to the invasion as a demonstration of power, was partially rebuilt in the 80's and 90's.
Betamax: Information from Answers.com (3378 words)
The VHS format's defeat of the Betamax format became a classic marketing case study, now identified with the verbal phrase "to Betamax", wherein a proprietary technology format is overwhelmed in the market by a format allowing multiple, competing, licensed manufacturers.
Originally Betamax only features were BetaScan, a high speed picture search in either direction, and BetaSkipScan, a technique that allowed the operator to see where he was on the tape by pressing the FF key (or REW, if in that mode) and the transport would switch into the BetaScan mode until the key was released.
Betamax is commonly shown on the television series The Simpsons as being the format of choice for the Simpsons family and most likely the rest of the town of Springfield.
  More results at FactBites »



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