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Home /Entertainment / 3 Fun Facts about Betamax Tapes

3 Fun Facts about Betamax Tapes

By Katy Aguayo

Most of us are old enough to remember a time when video cassette tapes ruled the home entertainment world. It really wasn’t too long ago when renting videotapes at the local Blockbuster was the only way to watch your favorite movies in the comfort of your own home.

Many of us can recall the days when in order to record an important moment you had to get out your clunky camcorder and try to hold it steady as you captured what was going on in front of you.

The video cassette tape was an invention that made it possible to not only enjoy Hollywood’s finest films on the small screen at home, but also to become the stars of our own home movies. 


Out of the different videotape formats, the VHS tape ruled the market and became the staple format quickly. But there was a competitor to the VHS tape that gave it a run for its money for a while, only to lose the battle in the end. This is the Betamax tape. Betamax actually predates VHS by a few years and although it did not come out of the videotape format war as the winner, it still had some perks and some interesting factors. Here’s some fun facts about the videotape format that you may not know as much about:


Betamax tapes were first produced in 1975, whereas the VHS tape came onto the scene in 1977. 

Even though the VHS tape is much better known than the Betamax tape, Betamax was actually produced prior to the VHS tape and was the first commercially successful video tape format. 


Betamax tapes were produced until 2016.

Despite losing the videotape format war and the entry of digital into the entertainment world, Sony continued manufacturing Betamax tapes until 2016. 


Betamax tapes had better picture quality than VHS tapes.

Betamax tapes run at 250 lines while VHS is at 240. This is a very small difference, but in theory Betamax has slightly better picture quality than VHS. Betamax also sports superior sound quality and a stabler image than VHS, but VHS came out on top as the video cassette tape format of choice because of its longer running time and affordability.

Although Betamax tapes are out of production and were not as popular in the end as VHS tapes, lots of folks still have some Betamax tapes out there sitting in a box in an attic or basement. If you have Betamax tapes but aren’t sure what to do with them, send them in to us at KODAK Digitizing and we can transfer the tapes to digital so that you can enjoy their content digitally forever. 

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