Did Betamax or Laserdisc come first?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tyler T, Nov 24, 2001.

  1. Tyler T

    Tyler T Stunt Coordinator

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    I've always thought that LD was the first home video "process" invented. I am not completly sure and I would like to know if Betamax (or some analoug tape) came after or before. Oh, and in both ways as when they were invented and released to the public.
     
  2. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    It was BETAMAX first (around 1976, I believe)
    ... then VHS (1977 or so ...)
    ... then the RCA Selectavision CED system ('79 ?)
    ... then LD in the early 80's (was it first called DISCOVISION??)
    or something like that ... [​IMG]
     
  3. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    The Laser Disk appeared in the USA in early 1976 under brand name of Magnavox. One of the cities where they were being sold was Atlanta I believe. In 1976 the Betamax was available as part of a combo TV & VCR console. In 1977 Sony started selling VCRs as a separate component. I bought one of those first VCRs in 1977 for $1400!!
     
  4. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    My parents bought one of those Silver Sony vcrs when they first came out, around $1500. That thing was slim and had features that didn't appear in vcrs until years later! Fond memories!
     
  5. William D Cavender

    William D Cavender Stunt Coordinator

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    To answer your question, Sony Beta was available before the L.D. In the late 60's if you had a Roberts audio tape recorder capable of 15 IPS you also were able to record video. A few years earlier, I believe, Sears marketed a video cartridge tape system.
     
  6. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I remember my parents buying our first VCR in 1980 I believe. I know it was an RCA and it cost $1000.
     
  7. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

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  8. Rutledge

    Rutledge Stunt Coordinator

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    There was also a video tape player by Quasar or Magnavox called the Great Movie Machine or the Great Time Machine or something like that.

    Beta was definitely befoor LD though.

    Sony developed both Beta and VHS. VHS was pushed through by JVC due to its longer playing time.

    Nobody cared that Beta had better picture quality.

    By 1982 Beta was dead. The video store that i worked at only sold 3 betamax machines that year. VHS was king already.

    IN 1982 the machines still had piano key buttons and rotary channel selectors.

    In 1983 Panasonic came out with the affordable PV-1220 2 head top load machine that had solenoid keys and a wired remote. It could be bought for $399.00 on sale.

    Beta hifi came out in 1983-84. We had a 3 head VHS HI FI model that sold for $650.00. It made excellent copies of Cd's.
     
  9. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    The knowledge available on the HTF never fails to astound me! [​IMG]
     
  10. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>Nobody cared that Beta had better picture quality.
     
  11. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Back in those days, people weren't concerned about quality; they were just happy to be able to own or rent a movie that was uncut and commercial-free. Keep in mind that most people didn't have pay channels nor cable, as well.

    As technology increased, more and more people became interested in higher quality over the years.
     
  12. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    The quality difference was negligible. Like 260 lines for Betamax instead of 240 for VHS.
     
  13. Joseph Goodman

    Joseph Goodman Stunt Coordinator

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    The resolution advantage of Betamax over VHS really came into play when you copied from tape-to-tape... with Betamax, you could keep more picture quality across dubbing generations.
     
  14. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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    Not to beat a dead horse..but the Beta/VHS comparison is unfair IF you are comparing recording in BetaII to VHS SP. Thing is...Sony came up with a slower record speed to compete with the VHS record time..so now an L-500 could record 120 minutes. So..to be fair..if you compare Beta to VHS LP (an obsolete record mode these days) Beta wins. Compare Super Beta to VHS..Beta stomps. You compare BetaI to VHS SP..Beta KILLS! And...a step further..BetaIS vaporizes VHS.,,,and is MUCH better than S-VHS.

    I have 3 Betamax's I still use to this day..great format...dead at the start tho.
     
  15. Rob Dwyer

    Rob Dwyer Stunt Coordinator

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  16. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    ONTV was great! I remember those stereo simulcasts! For the longest time I had a copy of Heavy Metal on Beta until my mother recorded some soaps over it. Only took my 20+ years to finally get another copy on home video. ONTV's biggest problem was their lack of encryption. I don't know anybody that paid for it. Even at the technical schools, the finall project was to build an ONTV decoder box. Those were the days of HBO OTA and big unencrypted C band feeds....ahh...
     
  17. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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    Anyone remeber their first simulcast???

    Mine was a concert...syndicated..with Iggy, Alice and some others. Somewhere I still have the audio cassette.
     
  18. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I have a Beta tape recorded before this was called ONTV, it was called MovieVision before that. The tape has the tail end of a porno movie which they'd run for their nightly "Adult Theater" at 11 PM, after the movie it shows a crudely-done text warning about illegal reception, saying basically "we've got people out looking for illegal antennas and we're gonna getcha!"
     
  19. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    Betamax was great, but the initial one-hour recording time was a killer. To record a movie you had to have a second on hand for the switch. If you were lucky, you got a commercial break near the 60-minute point to insert a new tape. If you were recording off HBO, you missed part of the movie.
    The big mistake Sony made was refusal to license their format. Even after we had the Betamax II format (two hours recording), if you wanted a Betamax, you bought it from Sony. JVC licensed the VHS format to everyone. The price of machines plummeted due to competition. VHS machines were everywhere, whereas you had to buy a pricier Sony from a Sony dealer. By the time Sony started licensing the Beta format, VHS had a stranglehold on the market.
    (This same scenario was played out by Apple and Microsoft a few years later.)
    Also, VHS was always able to one-up Beta because they had a little more tape in the cassette. When Beta halved the tape speed to create 2 hours of recording time, VHS halved theirs to give people 4 hours. When Beta went to six hours, VHS went to eight.
    But it was really the lack of licensing that killed Betamax. In other words, greed. To paraphrase Click and Clack, "The greedy man makes the least money."
    BTW, I bought my first VHS machine for $750, on sale from $1250. How could I pass up a deal like that? Somehow my wife failed to appreciate the logic.... [​IMG]
     
  20. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    God, I wish I wasn't 4 years old in 1980
    [​IMG]
     

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