After 40 years, Sony retires Betamax


Not the deck chassis. The tape chassis. The HDCam and DBC chassis are more sturdy, but essentially the same physical shape and size.

Here’s a Digibeta:

Here’s a consumer Beta L750:

My only point was the physical similarity of the tape chassis themselves, even though the underlying technology differs greatly from generation to generation. I remember that BetaCamSP tapes fit perfectly well into Digibeta decks, though not vice versa. I imagine one might be able to stuff any of those into an old Betamax consumer deck, but you wouldn’t be able to play or record. Never tried, myself. The HDCam and Digibeta tape stock is kinda spendy.


See? Betamax was, after all, proven better than VHS.

It outlasted by years. YEARS!

Knew it. Thanks, bb.



Random Beta-Memory:

1989: I was a sales trainer. Got sent to Pittsburgh to visit a bunch of Silo appliance stores, and teach the staff how to sell the HeadStart personal computer.

One of the outlets was in the parking lot of a big, kind of quiet mall SW of the city. After the morning training I wandered around the mall. There was a video rental store exclusively devoted to Betamax tapes.

Which makes me wonder: Did BlockBuster ever have a Betamax section?

Oh: When I went to grad school in Pittsburgh in 1997, I visited that mall again. Silo and the Betamax store were gone.


Wait, is that 40 years taking the lost decade into account? Part of Betamax’s odd seeming endurance through time must have to do with fragments of its heyday in the 19A0s occasionally springing back into our current timestream.





I’m pretty sure it did, just as there was some overlap period when it had a VHS section and a DVD section.

I specifically remember a time when our local Wherehouse location, which sold music primarily and sold/rented videotapes and laserdiscs secondarily, decided to get out of its Beta renting biz, and had a huge sell-off of its previously-rented Beta library. I was kicking myself for ages for not cleaning them out of all the good movies. My Beta HiFi deck still works, last time I checked.


In Soviet Florida - Beta Maxes You !!!

(But seriously - thanks for the cool story, made us smile.)

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