Sony to kill off Betamax – I thought it was already dead!

Yesterday evening I was out and missed a program on TV that I’d wanted to watch. I simply powered up iPlayer on my TV and watched the program on catch up TV. That’s nothing out of the ordinary and something that millions of people do every day of the week. Some people don’t even bother buying a TV licence and live their whole life watching catch up TV for free instead of live broadcast.

BetamaxAfter watching catch up TV, it was something of a surprise to read that Sony have announced that from March next year they’ll stop production of Betamax tapes. Betamax pretty much died when VHS came out, if you’re anything like me you probably assumed that Betamax ended decades ago, and Sony themselves say that they stopped producing Betamax recording equipment back in 2002.

I’m constantly amazed at how much the world has changed but it’s even more surprising that there’s still a demand for Betamax products. I don’t even own a video recorder, although I can record TV to hard drive or burn it to DVD if I really wanted to… I never want to!

What does annoy me today is that in a world where we are conditioned to expect everything to be instantly available for online streaming that it’s not. If you sign up for Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, only a small selection of films are available and every month when they add new content they delete older content. If you want to watch an entire box set you’re still better off buying it on DVD as you’ll probably only be able to watch the latest series on demand.

What will happen in the next decade or so? Will people still be buying DVDs and BluRays or will they go the same way as Betamax? Does anyone out there still buy VHS tapes to record TV on or even for video cameras? Certainly if you’re still buying Betamax then eBay is about to become your new best friend as one of the only sources left.