The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

16 June 2005

Sweet vidiocy

I am, of course, a Beta fan, but that won't keep me from appreciating Michele's personal VHS history.

Oh, my first machine? A Sears unit built by Sanyo, with a wired remote, which I bought at the very end of 1981 for a prodigiously-discounted $799.95. (Well, it was $150 off.) I started buying blank tapes in cases of ten for $160, substantial savings over the usual $20 single-tape price. And I signed up for one of those pricey rental plans that was cunningly designed to cost just slightly more than going to the actual movies.

And somehow I don't think there will be comparable nostalgia when DVD gives way to whatever comes next.

Posted at 7:33 AM to Almost Yogurt


I decided to eschew beta and also at the very end of 1981 bought an Akai VHS for the then somewhat discounted but still seems outrageous price of $1,100. It had a wired remote control but the best feature of it was it did more than one program for one day which was pretty much the standard at the time. Being as I watched programs which were on the same day but on different channels this was important.

Posted by: ms7168 at 10:22 AM on 16 June 2005

Hey, I also had one of those Akais (the price sounds right, too)!

Blank tapes were outrageously priced, but I still remember buying "Star Wars" on VHS...for $120! (And when we got it home, we noticed the sticker that read "For Rental Only...Not For Resale")

Posted by: Eric at 9:50 PM on 16 June 2005

My dad broke down and bought a VHS to accompany our TWO Sony Betamax machines when the video rental place in Hobbs (that's Hobbs AMERICA - 20 miles from Lovington) One day, we went in, and there was NO BETA.

We carted one of those Sony Beta VCRs attached to our Sony video camera all around Walt Disney World. Now I get equivalent video on a camcorder that weighs three pounds.

Posted by: Dan at 9:58 PM on 16 June 2005

Beta lives, but not where you think: when the Mainstream Media came calling at Surlywood, the equipment guy had a full-fledged Sony Betacam Professional. There are some differences, but not many.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:00 PM on 16 June 2005

Yeah, those TV guys use the Beta tapes over, and over, and over again. They hold up very well. I'm astounded at the number of pro and "prosumer" formats: MiniDV, DV, DV-CAM, and Panasonic's DVC-PRO. Plus Beta.

Posted by: Dan at 10:55 AM on 17 June 2005