Touching Betamax

July 22, 2010

I believe that Congress passed a bill in 1992 stating that every article / news story / blog / etc that discusses audiovisual formats (and ‘format wars’ related therein) must, under penalty of law, mention how VHS won out over Betamax. I recently found this video for the song “Betamax” by the Filipino band Sandwich. It reminded me that, for the most part, the human point of view is narrowly focused. Not sure how I could be so short sighted and forget this truism, but there you go.

In the States, VHS won out as the popular format, and Betamax is lamented as the great whatcouldhavebeen of video freex everywhere… everywhere here. However, in other places, Betamax had a much stronger hold and is looked back on as the format of 80s nostalgia. To wit:

(Rough translation of the title lyrics: “Back then there was only Betamax” [i.e., things were much simpler back in the day])

Wala pa nung, indeed, my friends. Wala. pa. nung.

—¬†Joshua Ranger