VHS vs. betamax. How VHS won the war. Little bit of history... - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:07 AM
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Default VHS vs. betamax. How VHS won the war. Little bit of history...

I was thinking about how VHS won the war over betamax and how this relates to the current format war. I found this little article

Sony's Betamax video standard was introduced in 1975, followed a year later by JVC's VHS. For around a decade the two standards battled for dominance, with VHS eventually emerging as the winner.

The victory was not due to any technical superiority (Betamax is arguably a better format), but to several factors. Exactly how and why VHS won the war has been the subject of intense debate. The commonly-held belief is that the technically superior Betamax was beaten by VHS through slick marketing. In fact the truth is more complex and there were a number of reasons for the outcome.

Sony's founder, Akio Morita, claimed that licensing problems between Sony and other companies slowed the growth of Betamax and allowed VHS to become established. However most commentators have played down this issue and cited other reasons as being more important.

It is certainly true that VHS machines were initially much simpler and cheaper to manufacture, which would obviously be an attraction to companies deciding which standard to back. It has also been reported that Sony inadvertently gave its competitors a helping hand by revealing key aspects of Betamax technology which were then incorporated into VHS.

In any case, manufacturers divided themselves into two camps: On the Betamax side were Sony, Toshiba, Sanyo, NEC, Aiwa, and Pioneer. On the VHS side were JVC, Matsushita (Panasonic), Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Sharp, and Akai.

For consumers, the most immediately obvious difference between the two formats was the recording length. Standard Betamax tapes lasted 60 minutes — not long enough to record a movie. Conversely, the 3-hour VHS tapes were perfect for recording television programmes and movies. Sony did adapt and offer various solutions for longer recording, but it was too late. The issue of recording time is often cited as the most defining factor in the war.

At some point and for some reason the choice of rental movies on VHS became better than Betamax. It is arguable how this situation came to be, but once it happened, there was no turning back. Bitter Betamax owners cringed in their ever-decreasing corner of the video store while VHS owners gloated.

The war was over by the late 1980s, although supporters of Betamax have helped keep the format going in a small niche market. Betamax production in America ended in 1993, and the last Betamax machine in the world was produced in Japan in 2002.

Of course, both Betamax and VHS were eventually made obsolete by digital technology.


I see some analogy here to the current war.

1. Betamax superior over VHS. (blu-ray clamims to be superior over HD DVD)
2. VHS less expensive to produce then Betamax (HD-DVD is less expensive to produce then blu-ray)


there is another link here which talks about this subject

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betamax

After reading both articles I believe that two things will have a great impact on the current war:

1. Marketing (blu-ray has upper hand here now)
2. Price (hd-dvd has upper hand here)

I am glad to see that Toshiba started to advertise its own product. I even seen a TV commercial of Children of Men for HD-DVD on Canadian television.

By the way. I can see why Toshiba is in the opposite camp now. It was in the same camp with Sony in the previous war and it lost a lot money. So, I can understand why they do not trust sony again. Smaller company which was JVC was able to beat market leader Sony. It is funny that Sony kept producing betamax players until 2002 and they lost the war in 80s. If HD DVD wins blu-ray owners will have Sony support sometimes until late 2050s.

I am wondering if any of you who are old enough and remember these old days can add someting interesting here from own prospective. Things like who had upper hand first etc.
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:16 AM
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I'm sorry but you're very naive if you think Toshiba didn't support Blu-ray because they don't trust Sony.

Betamax lost because they didn't bother coming up with a tape that could run longer than 60 minutes. Then they didn't support pornography. These two factors were the biggest reasons Betamax lost.

Currently Blu-ray has the capacity, the studio and the bandwidth advantage. Blu-ray discs are barely more than HD DVD disc to mass produce. As production on a grand scale continues price comes down. Blu-ray discs are being produced more than HD DVD discs for movies and for media, therefore prices should come down more quickly.

Pornography is not even one tenth as important as it was in the early eighties when we had no internet and no other means of seing adult films outside of an adult theatre. VHS bringing porn to the masses was a knockout punch. Obviously that's not the case anymore. Now we have the internet and people don't really need high definition for porn, they want it for movies like The Matrix, Spiderman, Bond, etc.

The main manufacturer support is far more heavily weighed in Blu-ray's favour than it ever was for either side in the VHS Beta war, where support was pretty equal.

The reason Sony kept making Beta players is because it was used professional for a long time, yes, into the new millenium. That's how much more technically advanced Beta was at 60 minute speed.

This will not be a case of history repeating itself.
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:18 AM
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Actually, I think history could repeat itself: both formats can exist for quite some time, just like VHS and Betamax (and VHS and DVD) did.
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:52 AM
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This is such a joke - that it is hard to stop laughing. This article is forgetting that Toshiba is only manufactor of HD DVD and that most of studios support blu-ray.

If HD DVD is cheaper why is Happy Feet HD DVD cost $5 more than the Blu-ray version?

Also HD DVD fans have been alway demanding that HD DVD is better than Blu-ray.

What is most important here is studio support, I don't believe Betamax ever had much of it - a lot has change since those days - I believe that more people purchase and rent movies now than when Betamax was out.

If history is repeating itself, its HD DVD that is becoming Betamax - not the Blu-ray.
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmslives View Post
Actually, I think history could repeat itself: both formats can exist for quite some time, just like VHS and Betamax (and VHS and DVD) did.
The biggest thing to remember here is that format adoption takes time. That hasn't changed.
Quote:
For around a decade the two standards battled for dominance
There are no overnight victors, sorry Sony.

Also, where's the mention of porn? Wasn't that the big deciding factor?

Last edited by Ramenator; 03-29-2007 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramenator View Post
The biggest thing to remember here is that format adoption takes time. That hasn't changed.

There are no overnight victors, sorry Sony.

Also, where's the mention of porn? Wasn't that the big deciding factor?
Did you miss dobyblue's post? Here's the bit you passed by:

Quote:
Pornography is not even one tenth as important as it was in the early eighties when we had no internet and no other means of seing adult films outside of an adult theatre. VHS bringing porn to the masses was a knockout punch. Obviously that's not the case anymore. Now we have the internet and people don't really need high definition for porn, they want it for movies like The Matrix, Spiderman, Bond, etc.
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hstewarth View Post

If HD DVD is cheaper why is Happy Feet HD DVD cost $5 more than the Blu-ray version?

.

At Walmart and Target - places where casual consumers will shop once they adopt the format - the AVERAGE BD disc is $29.99. The average HD combo: $29.99, and consumers will see they are getting TWO versions of the movie.

The average non HD combo: $19.99.

Even at Best Buy, the average HD disc is $24.99, versus the same or $29.99 for BD.

To conclude, there are plenty of places where HD's prices are better. They just happen to be the places where most people get their movies, too . . .
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hstewarth View Post
This is such a joke - that it is hard to stop laughing. This article is forgetting that Toshiba is only manufactor of HD DVD and that most of studios support blu-ray.

If HD DVD is cheaper why is Happy Feet HD DVD cost $5 more than the Blu-ray version?
Toshiba is not the only manufactor of HD DVD. You well know it.
More studios support Blu Ray as a today. Things will change.

Happy Feet HD DVD is a combo. I would gladly pay the extra $5 knowing that I have two versions that I can even compare and use and also ...even more important...kwoing that the AQ is better than Blu Ray.
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:32 AM
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I think porn is important. It is very big undustry. They say that porn sales more than Hollywood studios . And you usually want to keep your porn, not rent it So i think that it might be a factor here. On one hand they might like bigger disc size of blu-ray. on the other interenet connectivity of hd-dvd players. I think the latter is more important as image quality is the same on both.
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divian View Post

Happy Feet HD DVD is a combo. I would gladly pay the extra $5 knowing that I have two versions that I can even compare and use and also ...even more important...kwoing that the AQ is better than Blu Ray.
Seriously, you folks must be buying your movies somewhere that is ripping you off, because I can grab a combo disc for the same price as a regular BD movie.
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