Sony to Stop Selling Betamax Video Cassette Tapes in March
posted on by Egan Loo
Sony announced on Tuesday that after four decades, it will stop shipping Betamax (or Beta) and MicroMV video cassette tapes next March. The company explained that it is ending sales in these formats in light of the changing marketplace, due to the end of analog television broadcasts in Japan in 2012, the decreased demand, and other factors.
The Betamax video cassette is a format of recordable magnetic tape media that Sony developed for home video use. The company started manufacturing the players and tapes in 1975. Sony had already stopped producing Betamax video cassette tape recorders in 2002. The format eventually sold 18 million recorders, and cassette sales peaked in 1984 with an annual total of about 50 million.
The MicroMV video cassette is a separate format of recordable magnetic tape media for digital video cameras. Sony also stopped producing MicroMV video cameras in 2005.
Cowboy Bebop, a Sunrise science-fiction television anime set in the year 2071, made an obsolete Betamax cassette a pivotal element in its 18th episode, "Speak Like a Child" (pictured above).