My Private Space

My Private Space

Sven Svensson

E-mail: sven6*
Web URL:
Current Beta Machines: Toshiba VM144?, Sanyo Betamax, Sony SuperBeta HiFi GCS-50

There is a room in my basemate that I consider my private space. I consider it my getaway spot. I have almost all things that I collect down there. I have old computers such as Commodore 64, 128; Atari 800, 800XL, 130XE; TI 99/4A, etc. I have old video game consoles such as Atari 2600, Mattel Intellivision II, etc. I have some old 80's albums, mostly New Wave and R&B, such as Shalamar, Ultravox, Duran Duran, Hall & Oates, Cameo, etc. As you could probably figure by now, I'm an 80's nut. I have posters of 80's group, and 80's movies on my wall. And last, but not least, I have one vhs and three betamax machines.

The first machine is a Toshiba VM144T? (I can't remember the model number correctly right now), it has a gear assembly problem. The second beta I have is a Sanyo 3220?, I'm not at my home right now so I can't really tell you the model numbers. The Sanyo is just the usual low end Betamax, nothing fancy features on it. The third betamax I have is the Sony GCS-50, it's an industrial SuperBeta HiFi, it's quite advance, but it doesn't have a tuner or a remote control. I just got this one two days ago [thanks Eduard of FILMCO :) ], so I haven't use it much.

When I watch a show or a movie recorded on BII on my Betamax, I am amazed at the quality of the picture and the sound. Things that are recorded on Beta's BII is better than things that are recorded on VHS' SP. Also, technically speaking, the BII records longer than SP, if we compare it on the each format's standard tapes, L-750 for the Beta, and the 6-hour tape (T-120?) for the VHS. The sound on either hifi or non-hifi betamax's are better than hifi or non-hifi vhs, they're sharper and clearer. I don't know if I have some good tapes or not, but it seems to me that the Betamax tapes last longer than the VHS tapes. I also notice that the color fades on an old VHS tape, while the color looks almost the same as the day it was recorded on a Betamax tape.

As much technically superior the betamax is to the vhs, it is not the technical aspects that makes me like the betamax more than the vhs. It happens to the be the symbolic and retrospective aspect of the betamax. Watching those old betamax tapes of 80's cartoons such as Voltron, Transformers, M.A.S.K, and others gives me back memories of the wonderful 80's (I know people who read this going to hate me for saying that, but I really don't care). I fell like it's 1984 all over again when I watch the A-Team, V, Mike Hammer, and Matt Houston on my betamax. I get more chuckles out of Diff'rent Strokes, The Jeffersons, Cheers, Soap, Benson, & In Living Color than I do from watching Friends, Ellen, The Nanny, and Martin, though I will admit I like Seinfeld, The Simpsons, and South Park. I get a kick watching movies like The Terminator, Blade Runner, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, then these Nicholas Cage 90's action movies.

I especially enjoy 80's teen movies such as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Fast Times on Ridgemont High, St. Elmos Fire and other 80's teen movies such as Porky (all three of them), Joystick, Spring Vacation, Blame It On The Rio, etc. It is more enjoyable to watch it on beta because the betamax gives it a more "80ish" feeling to the movie, since most machines were made at that time. The were more fun to watch then these 90's teen movies that are too much based on "my life sucks, society sucks, my girlfriend thinks I'm suck", etc. And those horror teen movies such as "I Know What You Did Last Summer," and both "Scream" movies. I enjoy watching the 2nd Annual MTV music awards and the 1984 American Music Awards on my betamax, it gives memories of when music was good and MTV actually played music videos! Finally, I enjoy looking at the 80's commercials on betamax, the commercials gives you a good idea of how good the sound is on a betamax. Personally, I think that the clothes and other fashion products on those 80's commercials were better than today's, however I think the hairstyle was god awful back in the 80's.

I'm sorry that I wrote a very long story, I almost got carried away. What I'm trying to say is that the reason why I like my Betamax goes beyound the technical aspects. Most people perfer the beta because of it's technology, but I perfer it because of it's nostalgia and symbolism. The betamax represents a time when there was more than one choice for vcrs, computers, videogames, etc. It represent a decade it which people were more optimistic than now, although people have started to become more optimistic last year. The betamax represents a time of more experimentation and risk-taking. Today, the betamax represents individualism. That is why I perfer the betamax over vhs.

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Submitted Wed Dec 30 14:38:00 1998