I love obsoleted formats. I think they are great, to be honest guys. Admittedly, I don’t have any such kit other than a Sanyo VCR (Produced around 2003) and a Sony VCR (Produced in 1991), and about a hundred tapes mainly consisting of TV programmes and films recorded from the television a few years ago.
However, I’ll just give my insight into obsolete formats, from what I know of them. Suppose we have VHS / Video 2000 / Betamax / LaserDisc just to rub it in a bit
Released slightly before the VHS, we had the Betamax invented by Sony and soon the format wars really kicked in between them during the 80s. Although it’s picture and sound quality was slightly better than their VHS, after a gruelling format war between the two formats, the VHS was hailed a winner.
Why was this so? Reason being the “blueprint” if you like to making the VHS system, invented by JVC in 1976, was sold at a very low cost to third party manufacturers who only had to pay a small production fare. As this happened, manufacturers wanting to cash started to really mass produce recorders which drove the prices of them right down.
Betamax VCRs were only produced by Sony, and they didn’t sell out their schematic which meant that Sony could charge whatever the heck they wanted for their recorders. They weren’t as mass produced which meant that Sony could not sell the recorders competatively.
Even though the Beta offered slightly higher resolution, this was so marginal that it became irrelevant. People picked up VHS recorders for two reasons. One - People were starting to pick them up quite cheaply, and as such, tapes were cheaper as well. Two - Beta could only store a maximum of two hours per tape because their shells were smaller, whereas the VHS system could store an ideal length of 4 hours. By the time Beta caught up with tape length, VHS was becoming a clear winner.
But what about Video 2000? Good point. There was no real market because they were pushed out by Beta / VHS - and I think people ( wombler comes to mind ) only bought such system when popularity was beginning to wane in the late 80s.
They might have not been a great format, but since they were pushed out of the market, they were becoming throwaway prices, and apparently had the best tracking system of all three tape formats. However, it worked very similar to a cassette - To get to the second side, you had to flip the cassettes over, VHS nor Beta had this cumbersomeness.
LaserDisc out of all four formats was actually the best in terms of picture / audio quality, whilst not offering the resolution of a DVD, was certainly stable for an analogue format. However, their price of LD players and equally their discs, which were often 4 to 5 times more the VHS counterpart meant they were out of the price range of the average consumber, in particular when they became content with the VCR.
The fact you had to flip em round after an hour was a bit of an inconvience. LD, had the problem with laser disc rot, occured in a shorter time before a VHS would start to degrade. LD players were expensive to produce, and contained poisonous gasses.
Curiously though, despite being the clear winner, it took nearly 30 years to be able to oust the VHS from the market, by which time the vastly superior DVD had a monopoly on sales - The “Golden Age” of DVDs were between 2001 - 2007, and in either case, DVDs are still selling well.
The first film not to be released on VHS was, if I remember right, Casino Royale, a deliberate marketing attempt to shift consumers away from VHS and onto more up to date formats. The last load of videos was sold in 2009.
Now, people are moving onto DVD and Blu-Ray after a similar competition started against Toshiba’s HD-DVD, which the latter lost. The battle was relatively short, however.
DVD’s, however, can still suffer from degrading from poorly produced discs / handling, but it quickly became “The People’s (Digital) Format” as it picked up, if a little slowly, in computers, meaning those producing home videos / AVI Rips could also burn data to the discs from their computers.
The recordable DVD-/+R However became so undercut by so many manufacturers trying to jump on the bandwagon that discs, even quality discs can be bought for peanuts - They were much cheaper to produce than a VHS tape ever was
Any comments guys?