Porn Of Allegiance; VHS vs Betamax

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Alright, alright, calm down you sophomoric hooligans! This blog is not what you think it is; and for the record, its bad enough I tell you what I’m thinking without you returning the favor.

Today, we toss another “urban myth log” on the fire by going back in time to look at one of the great consumer forks in the road; whether to buy a Sony VCR using the Betamax tape format, or to a competing brand such as the popular North American VCR; Panasonic, utilizing the VHS tape format.

Because we may have varying ages of readers here,who may not understand what was at stake for the companies or individuals involved, let’s make some analogies that may or may not be the exact equivalents. 1. DC power vs. AC power; Edison versus Tesla. 2. Mac vs. PC; Apple versus IBM. 3. IPhone vs. Android. With example number One, although DC power still exists in many applications, AC power is the prime mover of electricity throughout the world. In examples Two and Three, neither side has given the “knock-out punch” yet, but one can see the magnitude of choice at hand.

In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, such a battle waged for format dominance. SPOILERS…..VHS won the war. What was at stake would ultimately be millions upon millions of VHS tapes sold as movies, blank tapes and wedding videos.

The question became; why did the JVC-VHS (Video Home System) win over Sony Betamax. Although both Japanese companies  partnered the invention of the VCR, it was universally accepted that the Betamax had superior picture and sound quality over VHS. What’s not true is the urban myth of Sony’s loss.

The myth states that Sony refused to allow pornographic material to be filmed on its tapes. As a side note, depending who you ask, it is estimated that today, the video Porn industry alone is worth high millions to 3.6 billion, so such a demand by Sony could not be taken lightly. In fact one part is true; Sony did ban pornographers from filming on their product, but ultimately that’s probably not what brought them down.

The Sony VCR on average cost $1200 and the Betamax tape it used could only hold one hour of film in the beginning and later two hours worth of tape.Sometime, one movie would have to be watched on 2 separate tapes. The JVC -VCR cost about $300 and the VHS tape could hold 4 hours of film.

For consumers who had been watching broadcast TV for so long complete with “static, snow, and signs that said  “It’s the NET, not your SET,” the convenience to watch feature films in their living rooms was plenty quality enough; myth, or no myth!

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Porn Of Allegiance; VHS vs Betamax

  1. I think, at one point we had one of each. If I’m not mistaken we may still have one in a box somewhere… on the Mac PC/ Apple IBM thing… I’m forever IBM/PC!! Never that other stuff… it’s directly from the hot place! 😈

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