Sony Finally Sends the Betamax Out to Pasture

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Still love the old Sony Betamax? It's time to stock up on blank tapes while you can.

It’s time to stock up on Betamax tapes.

Sony announced this week that it will stop selling the media for its decades-old video recording technology in March, The Verge reports, citing a Japanese-language news release.

The company’s Japanese store already lists the tapes as being out of production, but new tapes still can be found easily on Amazon Japan, according to The Verge.

Sony stopped making the Betamax recorders themselves in 2002, more than 25 years after they were introduced. A variety of used recorders and tapes can still be found on eBay, though.

Speaking at the International Consumer Electronics Show last year, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai elicited laughter from the audience when he explained the Betamax’s history:

“At Sony, failure is not really an end. It’s a reason. It’s a reason to keep trying. So we show you this. (Laughter.) This is the Betamax. (Laughter.)

“Now, despite Betamax being first to market and, dare I say, offering superior technology than that other format … VHS won the battle for commercial success. …

“But ultimately, [Betamax] found its way as Betacam, a broadcast format with the same form factor as the Betamax and became, as you probably know, especially the people in this room, the de facto standard in broadcast and professional industry. So all was not lost.”

Do you have any Betamax recorders or tapes lying around? If so, what do you plan to do with them after March? Let us know in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

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