The first popular consumer VCR on the market. Using half-inch (analog) tape cassettes, Sony introduced Betamax, also known as "Beta," in 1975. The first cassettes held only one hour of video, but the capacity was subsequently increased to two hours in order to hold an entire movie. Sony later introduced Beta Hi-fi, which improved audio quality, and SuperBeta, which offered a better image.
Beta vs. VHS
One year after Beta was introduced, the VHS format came out in a slightly larger cassette that held a full movie from the start. For several years, pre-packaged movies were offered in both Beta and VHS. By the late 1980s, Beta had been almost entirely eclipsed by VHS, although Betamax machines were still manufactured by Sony until 2002.
The Betamax technology was considered to be better quality than VHS, and to this day, "Betamaxed" refers to a superior technology overtaken by an inferior one (see Beta/VHS debacle
). See VHS
, helical scan