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Father Time has claimed another victim as Sony recently revealed plans to cease production of Betamax cassette tapes next year. For most, the news here isn’t that Sony is pulling the plug on Betamax media but that there’s still a plug to pull.
The final Betamax recording equipment rolled off the assembly line in 2002.
Sony introduced its proprietary Betamax format in 1975. A year later, JVC launched the VHS format and by 1980, the latter format controlled 60 percent of the market in North America. Ironically enough, Betamax offered superior quality and was more compact but one major shortcoming early on was the fact that it only offered up to an hour of recording time.
VHS ultimately won the format war and enjoyed an incredibly successful run through the ‘80s and ‘90s. By the mid-2000s, however, DVD surpassed VHS as the medium of choice.
Sony may have lost the cassette tape battle but it would get redemption. In the early 2000s, Sony and Toshiba squared off to determine which format – Blu-ray or HD DVD – would become the successor to the original DVD format. As you know, Blu-ray ultimately prevailed; the final HD DVD to be released arrived in June 2008.
Along with Betamax cassette, Sony also announced it is discontinuing production of its MicroMV cassette tapes. They were first introduced in late 2001 for use in Sony MicroMV Camcorders which the company ceased production of in 2005.