why did vhs beat beta max?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There were several reasons... like the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD format war of today, this wasn't decided overnight, or by any single thing.

    The first was recording time. When Sony introduced BetaMax, it recorded one hour of video per tape. JVC came out shortly after with VHS, and it initially supported two hours per tape.

    This keyed into the second win for VHS -- rentals. A single VHS tape could hold a whole movie, while you needed two tapes for Betamax.

    Third was licensing and cost. Sony, as they often have been, were not aggressively licensing the technology, and they wanted a fair bit of money for it. JVC was licensing on the cheap, and also made their cassettes cheap.

    So as rentals started being a factor, VHS started winning. It wasn't overnight... Sony introduced a longer playing mode, 2 hours on the Betamax... then JVC introduced four hours (LP mode) then six hours (SLP or EP mode), and by then, it was history. Anyway, rentals started to become big business, and VHS proved superior here, between licensing and length... more releases on VHS meant more to rent, which could be important for new people buying a player.

    There's some evidence that the ability to rent X-Rated tapes also pushed VHS. This has some foundation.. before videotape, the Pornography Industry was tiny. Rentals, and later cable/satellite, made it the multi-billion-dollar business it is today.

    http://www.law.indiana.edu/fclj/pubs/v49/no1/johns...

    There have been arguments that Betamax had higher quality video, and that is technically correct, but exaggerated. And unimportant. When VCRs came out, virtually no televisions had composite video inputs, you had to hook into via the antenna input, modulated usually on channel 3 or 4 in the USA. That killed the quality of video and sound enough that few were willing to give up time for quality.

    And then the original purpose, time shifting, was becoming an everyday thing for many people.. that's where the longer record times for VHS really won... you didn't care all that much about the quality, you would have missed it if not for that 6 hour time (up to 8 hours on special long tapes).

    There's an argument that VHS was BETTER than Betamax... not on a technical basis, but simply that it delivered the product that users wanted moreso than Beta did. Read here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2003/jan/25/c...

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  • 4 years ago

    Vhs Vs Beta

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  • moriah
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Betamax Vs Vhs

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  • 1 decade ago

    At the time when Sony launched Betamax, they were effectively a small, little known company. Their product, however, was superior in sound and picture quality to VHS, as well as being more reliable.

    However, VHS had the backing of Philips and Matsushita, who were at that time, the big names in home entertainment. They basically flooded the market with relatively cheap VHS recorders, forcing Sony's Betamax out of production.

    A similar event is happening now with Sony's Blu-Ray system, competing against the HD-DVD offerings from everyone else.

    We shall see who wins this time around...

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  • RICH
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Beta had a good quality recording.. However, VHS was capable of 4, 6 and 8 hour recording speeds and tapes!! That kind of put Beta in the back seat, then out the window.!! With choices of SP, SLP, LP, EP, (EP at 360 minutes) it was VHS all the way from there.

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  • 5 years ago

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    RE:

    why did vhs beat beta max?

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  • 1 decade ago

    VHS beat beta max because the big production companies decided to take funding from the big Japanese makers of video recorders.

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  • Olga
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Because Sony learned their lesson well. Sony's Betamax failed because Sony tried to do it all themselves and keep all the money to themselves. This time they partnered with many more companies, both software and hardware manufacturers. No longer was it Sony against the world! Instead it was the Blu-Ray army against the HD-DVD camp. This along with a better marketing campaign and including Blu-Ray in the PS3 (guarantying that millions would have Blu-Ray players in their homes). Incedentally it isn't winning. It won. Toshiba announced that they are closing up shop. Sorry GH, there are no reports of payouts to retailers not to push HD DVD. I am sure that Blu-Ray did buy shelf space but all catergories do that.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Oops deleted that answer... I got it the wrong way around. Phillips developed the tech for JVC while Sony developed Betamax.

    Go with the answer below!

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  • Marc X
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Both Rich and Hazydave have very good, and essentially correct, answers. How do you give a good rating to both?

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