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Sony finally kills Betamax

Sony has announced that it is officially ending the Betamax format from March next year.

The news will likely come as a surprise to anyone with the slightest knowledge of the defining format war of the 1980s.

Betamax has become a running joke as the failed half of an almighty videocassette format scrap that began 40 years ago. VHS eventually emerged as the one and only home-recording format that mattered, largely thanks to the lower cost of VHS recorders (though the Betamax format was superior in quality), and the rest is history.

Or at least, we thought it was. As it turns out, Sony has continued to make and sell Betamax tapes. In fact, it continued to make and sell Betamax recorders right up until 2002.

It’s been a long and protracted death, then, but Sony will finally put the Betamax format out of its misery in March 2016. A news release on the Sony Japan website confirms that shipments will stop at that point.

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As well as Betamax, Sony has revealed that it will be ending production of the Micro MV cassette format, which was used in old-style camcorders.

We’d suggest that format fetishists and ’80s nostalgists should get their orders in quickly.

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