Betamax Tapes Going Off The Market: This Post Was Not Written In 1988

You may remember the videotape format wars of the 1980s, where VHS eventually triumphed over Betamax, making that one family on your street who couldn’t borrow videos from everyone else feel very silly. After the format wars ended, Betamax didn’t vanish. Players were still manufactured until 2002, and Sony was still making tapes until very recently.

You can’t wander down to your local Best Buy and pick some up, though sometimes I wonder whether some will ever turn up in our “Raiders of the Lost Walmart” recurring series. Betamax only survived as a niche format in Japan, the same country where VCRs were born.

Sony has reportedly already stopped making the tapes, and they’ll remain on the market until March of next year.

Even though Betamax machines are now collectible oddities in this country, the brand lives on in a 1984 Supreme Court case that keeps coming up in lawsuits over new recording and broadcast technology.

People usually refer to Sony Corp. v. Universal Studios as “the Betamax case,” which was first filed in 1976 and addressed the issue of whether Sony was responsible for copyright infringement committed by Betamax VCR users. The decision saved the entire VCR business, if not the Betamax itself.

​40 years later, Sony finally kills Betamax [Engadget]

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