Advanced Television

Sony kills off Betamax

November 11, 2015

By Chris Forrester

betaSony’s Betamax, recognised by many as the superior recording tape mechanism, is about to be discontinued.

Betamax was formally introduced by Sony in 1975 and its tape formula inherited many of the design characteristics of the higher-end U-matic format. VHS was introduced by Japan’s JVC the following year, and quickly gained popular consumer acceptance in most markets.  By 1980 VHS had won over 60 per cent of the US market.

Sony finally threw in the towel as far as consumer products were concerned in 2002 and had by then been producing its own VHS units since 1988.

However, Sony’s Betacam spin-off product, and DigiBeta, found considerable acceptance amongst ENG and SNG users, and helped by its professional picture search functionality that worked on both fast-forward and fast playback.

Sony hasn’t made Beta-based players or recorders since 2002. Now it says it is ending the production of Betamax tape, including its MicroMV tapes, in Japan (the only country in which the format is still sold) in March 2016.

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