• RIP: Beta
    Yeah, and you thought it was dead ten years ago. It’s actually amazing that Beta held on until now, given that it has had little support aside from Sony for the last fifteen years. Even it’s professional-grade brethen, Betacam, it’s slowly being phased out by Sony, in favor of digital formats. Though Betacam is much more entrenched, still in steady everyday use in production facilities and TV stations around the world. Lately I’ve seen a lot of old Beta videocassettes and even VCRs at garage sales and flea markets — I wonder if it’s going to go the way of the 8 track, as a cheap way to get old movies and TV shows that someone taped back in the 80s?

    I’ve flirted with owning a Beta VCR for years, but the damn things are too bulky and I’ve already got a closet full of old VHS — I just don’t need one more format cluttering up my life. It’s hard bit of self-control for a techno-phile who can see the value in ideas, tech and formats even if they didn’t succeed in the market.

    I’m glad that, like Beta, minidisc is a Sony invention, which gives hope that it will remain supported for a long time to come. Sony just doesn’t abandon fundamentally good tech as easily as most electronics companies.

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