End of an era: Sony to stop mak­ing Be­ta­max tapes

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

TOKYO: Sony an­nounced yes­ter­day the com­pany will stop mak­ing Be­ta­max video tapes, end­ing the sto­ried four-decade his­tory of the prod­uct that had been ousted years ago by the more pop­u­lar VHS for­mat.

“Sony will stop the ship­ment of Be­ta­max video cas­settes and mi­cro MV cas­settes in March 2016,” the com­pany said in a Ja­panese-lan­guage state­ment.

“With this step, all of our firm’s ship­ment will end for record­ing me­dia us­ing the Be­ta­max for­mat and the mi­cro MV cas­sette for­mat,” which is also a Sonypro­duced video stan­dard, it said.

Sony first launched its Be­ta­max prod­ucts in 1975 as a house­hold, mag­netic video for­mat for con­sumers to record ana­logue tele­vi­sion shows. The pop­u­lar­ity of Be­ta­max tapes peaked in 1984 when some 50 mil­lion cas­settes were shipped, ac­cord­ing to Sony. How­ever, the for­mat, ini­tially sup­ported by Toshiba and other elec­tron­ics mak­ers, is most re­mem­bered as the loser of the tense cor­po­rate bat­tle in the 1970s and 1980s over set­ting the de facto house­hold video stan­dard, which was won heartily by the VHS for­mat that was de­vel­oped by another Ja­panese elec­tron­ics maker that now is a part of JVC Ken­wood. VHS gave way to dig­i­tal for­mats, such as DVDs, that have largely been re­placed by on­line stream­ing tech­nol­ogy.

Sony stopped mak­ing Be­ta­max recorders in 2002, but it kept mak­ing tapes for die-hard fans. Sony said it has sold more than 18 mil­lion units of Be­ta­max de­vices world­wide since its launch. Sony added it could stop ship­ping Be­ta­max tapes ear­lier than the sched­uled March end, “de­pend­ing on the de­mand con­di­tions”.

This un­dated im­age pro­vided by Google shows the Tag Heuer Con­nected lux­ury watch. Tag Heuer has part­nered with In­tel and Google to pro­duce the com­put­er­ized wrist­watch billed as the “world’s smartest lux­ury watch.” —AP

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