Betamax PALsite The Definitive Betamax Web Resource

- The home of PALsite -

Happy 1st Birthday at ElektraTec

Our thanks go to ElektraTec for funding the web space on which PALsite lives. To commerate the occasion PALsite has distributed the following press release

Can you remember Betamax video recorders? Maybe you have one in your attic, it's sci-fi silver case slowly gathering dust....For some people Sony's ill-fated rival to VHS refused to die and on the Betamax website there's plenty of evidence that these sophisticated machines are still gracing living rooms on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Betamax website - known as 'PALsite' because it concentrates on European models - was started one year ago by enthusiasts Alan Barnett and Martin Evans in London to help support their hobby and encourage ownership by people for whom VHS machines are now ubiquitous. They feel the superior picture quality offered by the Beta format deserves to survive - at least while they can get the parts!

The history of the VHS - Betamax war is now one of legend and taught in marketing courses around t he world. Both formats appeared at about the same time (along with the less favoured Philips V2000) and it was down to the marketing departments at JVC (for VHS) and Sony (for Beta) to win over the public. Sony made much of the superior picture quality of their machines but JVC won by undercutting their rivals and after ten years (1978 - 1988) of furious competition Sony had to admit defeat and begin making their rivals machines. The website has had enquiries from high school students in the United States asking for help with their school projects!

Sony wasn't the only manufacturer to support the format - Sanyo and Toshiba also made Betamax machines - the later models including ahead-of-their-time features like hi-fi stereo sound and automatic tuning. Sony stopped making Beta machines for the UK in 1988 but their last UK model had hi-fi sound, an improved picture quality - Super Beta Pro, and Insert editing - the VHS models of the time were way behind. Kylie Minogue released the I Should Be So Lucky video on Beta, and most films were available in both formats.

Spare parts are getting rarer and most repairers no longer have the expertise to carry our repairs. Luckily the website includes a contact list of suppliers and engineers.

The Betamax website is essential surfing for anyone with one of these machines and well worth a look for anyone with an interest in endangered species. The site at its present home is one year old on 20th May 1998 and has generated over 7000 hits since is started.

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