This reply is way off-topic, so you might not want to bother reading it:-)

>Actually, I thought the VHS and Beta thing was an often quoted misconception.
>The market chose VHS over Betamax, not because the market made a mistake,
>but because VHS has features the market wanted (e.g. longer playing time).

As far as I can remember, this was not the case. When my parents bought a
Betamax recorder in the early '80s, VHS tapes were available in up to 3 hour
(E180) lengths while Betamax was available in 3h15min (L750) lengths. Perhaps
long play on VHS was available to the mass market in the US before UK though!

In the early days in the UK, most VCRs were rented due to their high cost and
low reliability. Those that were bought were generally the superior Betmax
format. Ferguson basically flooded the rental market by rebadging JVC VHS
machines. When those who had rented machines decided the time was right to
replace it, reliability had increased, costs had decreased and they had a stash
of VHS tapes lying around. The obvious choice was therefore to replace their
rented VHS machine with a bought one.

>I can't rememeber what was supposed to be superior about betamax
>(maybe it was just SOny marketing hype?).

Picture quality was superior. I can't remember why, but it may have been
relative tape-to-head speed. Also smaller tape size made it more convenient.
(Interestingly, Philips V2000 format was the best at trick play facilities, e.g.
noiseless still pictures, reverse play etc but look what happened to that - and

VHS picture quality just about matched Betamax when the HQ system was brought
out in the late '80s. Nowadays S-VHS and SuperBeta are, I believe, pretty much
the same as far as picture quality goes.

I have quite a few Betamax tapes and recently acquired a Sony SL-C7 Betamax
machine from around 1979. Unfortuntaely the clock/timer module does not work so
I can't make timed recordings, but I have recorded a couple of programmes on it,
and the picture quality is far superior to either my 1988 Philips VHS-HQ
recorder or my 1998 Thomson VHS-HQ recorder.

Anyway, I'm pretty convinced that what I've said here is true. As it is so
wildly off-topic, if you want to continue with this, please use my email