Is there any brand that better shows the change of the times? Within 5 years in the 1970’s and 80’s Betamax became a icon of advanced technology, and then an icon of failure.
Betamax was released just before VHS video, and was the newest of new concepts in home entertainment. Believe it or not, the idea of being able to watch what you wanted to watch, when you wanted to watch it wasn’t even in the national psyche until the mid 1970’s. Before then, whatever was on TV you watched! No options!
It was a joke in my family that my Dad would always back the wrong horse, and Betamax was the popular example given! Whenever two options presented themselves, my Dad would chose the one that wasn’t as good. WE had a Betamax video player, we bought the first Disney film – Dumbo – available on it. It was AMAZING to be able to watch the same thing over and over and over again (and I did). TO be able to choose! To pause it. I remember being just absolutely gobsmacked that you could pause the image on the TV screen, and even inviting friends over to witness this miracle!
Betamax was such a failure because Sony (who made betamax) pushed so hard to control the market, that JVC decided to make a rival format (VHS) and they went on to outsell Sony. In 1982, 25% of all video’s were Betamax, but by 1988 Sony stopped making it altogether, admitting defeat.