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Sony Pulls Plug On Betamax Line

The Betamax-VHS format war officially ended last week when Sony 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 the 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 manufacturers wish to avoid when bringing competing products, such as DVD-RAM, DVD-RW and DVD+RW, to market.

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