Ah, Betamax – there have been many times when technological formats that are sort of similar must go head to head, like fairly recently in the case of HD DVD versus the Blu-Ray format. Although of course if you go back a little further there was the competition between Video High Density video discs vs LaserDisc as well as VHS. Furthermore if you are of a certain age you might even recall when it was the VHS format versus Betamax fighting for your hard earned money. I wasn’t aware that 2016 was when Betamax actually stopped being produced – when I found that out it made my head spin a little. That is the truth though – which means it it stayed in the game for 40 years. Not too shabby a legacy I suppose for the “loser” of the videotape format war if you stop and think about it, right?
I was only in contact with a Betamax unit once in my youth – this was in 1982 and my Father decided that we were going to go out to a local video store and rent Star Wars. I want to point out this was during the time when renting a Betamax or even a VCR unit was a bit of an ordeal, first of all you needed to have the membership to the video store which required the usual identification. However you also needed to literally leave a deposit on top of the rental fee – generally a $100 dollar bill or at least a check if you were trusted by the store. As I recall it the entire one day rental of both Star Wars and the Betamax player ended up costing about forty dollars when all was said and done. But having said that we totally were able to watch Star Wars at my grandparent’s house – then I watched it again when we got home… and then again… and again…
Thanks to this video by videoholicreturns – we can watch Ray Glasser give us nearly a ten minute personal tour from 1978 of his impressive Betamax collection. The television and movies in his collection are rather staggering with the likes of Star Trek, King Kong, to the Burns and Allen Show to name just a few. So without further ado let us travel all the way back to 1978 with Ray Glasser and take a moment to enjoy his Betamax collection tour!
In addition you can watch Bill Hammack explain in a couple of minutes why the VHS format won over Betamax – courtesy of this informative but still entertaining YouTube video.