Posts Tagged ‘television’

Betamax_closeThere was a story late in 2015 that Betamax cassette tapes would be discontinued in March 2016. This surprised me. Sony had discontinued making the RECORDERS more than a dozen years earlier.

Betamax was “a videotape format in competition with VHS (introduced in Japan by JVC in October 1976 and in the United States by RCA in August 1977)…”

According to Sony’s own history webpages, the name came from a double meaning: beta being the Japanese word used to describe the way signals were recorded onto the tape, and from the fact that when the tape ran through the transport, it looked like the Greek letter beta (β). The suffix -max, from the word “maximum”, was added to suggest greatness…

Betamax and VHS competed in a fierce format war, which saw VHS come out on top in most markets. The VHS format’s defeat of the Betamax format became a classic marketing case study. Sony’s attempt to dictate an industry standard backfired when JVC made the tactical decision to forgo Sony’s offer of Betamax in favor of developing its own technology…

It is odd, too, because all the experts, and most of the users, considered Betamax a superior product in terms of recording quality.

By 1980, JVC’s VHS format controlled 60% of the North American market. The large economy of scale allowed VHS units to be introduced to the European market at a far lower cost than the rarer Betamax units. In the United Kingdom, Betamax held a 25% market share in 1981, but by 1986, it was down to 7.5% and continued to decline further. By 1984, 40 companies made VHS format equipment in comparison with Beta’s 12. Sony finally conceded defeat in 1988 when it, too, began producing VHS recorders though it still continued to produce Betamax recorders until 2002.

In Japan, Betamax had more success…, but eventually both Betamax and VHS were supplanted by laser-based technology…

One other major consequence of the Betamax technology’s introduction to the U.S. was the lawsuit Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios (1984, the “Betamax case”), with the U.S. Supreme Court determining home videotaping to be legal in the United States, wherein home videotape cassette recorders were a legal technology since they had substantial noninfringing uses.

I never owned a Betamax machine. Seeing two incompatible technologies vying in the marketplace, I bought NEITHER machine until it was clear that VHS was going to win out. My first VHS player I didn’t purchase until c. 1985, one of the late adapters.

OJ-Made-in-AmericaSeriously, I didn’t know it was going to be on, but came across it flipping through the channels. On the heels of the popular The People v. O.J. Simpson, part of the American Crime Story series on the FX network – which I did not see – comes O.J.: Made in America, a sprawling five-part documentary on the cable sports network ESPN.

Many people know about the bizarre low-speed chase of Simpson’s Ford Bronco, Most are aware of the “trial of the century,” an appellation that may very well be correct. At least in the United States, almost EVERYONE had an opinion about the former football player’s guilt or innocence in the murders of his estranged wife Nicole Brown, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

The most mild-mannered person I have ever known was incensed when Simpson was acquitted of the crimes, as was most of white America. Yet many black Americans literally cheered the verdict. This phenomenon is established fact. What the documentary explains Read the rest of this entry »

Orwell
Nation Wishes It Could Just Once Be Reminded Of Preciousness Of Life Without Mass Shooting.

Get Visual: On passing.

Everything Doesn’t Happen For A Reason.

NY Gov. Cuomo signs “unconstitutional, McCarthyite” pro-Israel exec. order punishing BDS boycott movement.

Chuck Miller: The Blackbird: 2006-2016.

John Oliver: Debt Buyers.

Dan Rather on a free press.

Dear Journalists: For the Love of God Read the rest of this entry »

GoodWifeI was intrigued by Ken Levine’s post, When a thing stops being a “thing”. Surely much of it applies to me.

He talked about missing the reality show Survivor. It’s still on the air, in what seems to be its 200th season. “At the time it was innovative, original, and best of all – a ‘thing.’ People talked about it the next day.” And now I too see it on the schedule and remember the great season one, the mediocre season 2, and well, that was about it. Once they started recycling contestants, e.g., Boston Rob, who appeared on some OTHER reality show, I stopped even paying attention.

This is American Idol’s final season. I started watching near the end of the first season, some 15 years ago. I couldn’t even tell you the last nine winners. As Levine noted, “Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood became legitimate stars. Jennifer Hudson (who lost) later won an Academy Award… I suspect the next American Idol will get a gig at Six Flags Magic Mountain.”

Whereas, I don’t even think I ever saw The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn Read the rest of this entry »

Librarian.gang

The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners, with links to many of the written pieces!

The Vlogbrothers — John and Hank Green — summarize the tax proposals of the folks who want to be your next President.

John Green: Here’s to civil discourse and David Kalish: Comparing Facebook to a pee-soaked lamp post.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.

Mississippi Interracial Couple Evicted For Being In An Interracial Marriage. In 2016.

Michigan mechanic refuses to serve people from the ‘ghetto’ — but insists he’s not racist – he was a bit coarser than that. “But Jim S. insists he’s not racist — which is exactly what racists usually say. ‘Race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify,’ Jim S. told Mic. ‘What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.'” In 2016.

Michael Rivest: Thoughts on White Privilege and Colorblindness.

Why You Should Care about Felon Voting Rights.
Read the rest of this entry »

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