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January 2018 Retro Gaming Article


January 17, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After lots of research, my first VCR was a Betamax, positioning me for my first format war

Sony Betamax video recorder
The quality of the Betamax was far superior to VHS, but the rental market was swayed toward that big clunky format.
You didn't need a sid-by-side comparison to see how much clearer the picture was on a Betamax. I was sold and felt like I was on the cutting edge of technology... in the early 80s. It was great for recording, but then the gap began to grow.

At the video store (long before Blockbuster took over) the Mom & Pop shops often carried both Beta and VHS. But Beta began to fade - fast. The rental scene had been won over by manufacturers and Hollywood. This was the first format war I experienced.

Owner of hundreds of Beta tapes, I wasn't swayed to VHS. I dug in. Beta ruled my world. Finding a fun movie to rent on the weekend became much more difficult, but I loved recording movies off HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax. So, I wasn't too bothered by it until I realized the rise of VHS was inevitable and I had tons of Beta tapes. As I watched Beta lose the format war to VHS, I learned nothing, converted to VHS and promptly began buying all my favorite movies on Laserdisc. Later I discovered Sony didn't cease making beta tapes until March of 2016!

I loved vinyl records from the analog sound to the amazing artwork throughout the packaging. I smartly skipped 8-track tapes and only went the "tape" route when Cassettes were popular. To this day I still own the first CD I purchased - Ozzy's Blizzard Of Oz. Next, I owned a Dennon DVD player two weeks before the first DVD movies were available at retail. When 4K DVDs arrived, I laughed since I hadn't bought a Blue Ray player until Christmas 2017.

I used to be an adventurous early-adopter of technology, but these days I'm content to have random chats with my Echo Dot and reminisce about that amazing Betamax that started it all. Wow, I'm glad I avoided Circuit City's DIVX !

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