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Sony Closes Down Betamax Line

Tokyo – The Betamax-VHS format war officially ended this week when Sony Corp. announced that it will pull the plug on its consumer Betamax product line.

The company cited the huge popularity of DVD players and recorders as the primary reason behind the decision, saying these products had reduced demand for the one-time groundbreaking Betamax products.

Sony shipped a total of 18 million Betamax machines during the products 27-year life cycle, but only 2,800 shipped during Sony’s last fiscal year ended March 31. Another 2,000 are now coming off the assembly line.

Sony did bring Betamax format to market first, but it lost out to Matsushita’s rival VHS system and the format war is often cited as a situation manufactures wish to avoid when bringing competing products, such as DVD-RAM, DVD-RW and DVD+RW, to market.

This move will not effect Sony’s professional Betacam products.