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View Poll Results: Which Video system did you first have
VHS 15 55.56%
BETAMAX 7 25.93%
V2000 5 18.52%
Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 4th Mar 2024, 12:20 am   #1
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Default Which video system did you prefer?

Going back to when domestic Video cassette recorders were the must have item. The three main choices being VHS Betamax and V2000 ( I am disregarding the earlier formats as they were expensive and not affordable to most people in a domestic environment).
My first VHS was a used 3V00 that I used to record TV and to watch hired tapes. My shop sold and rented mainly VHS machines some new and some I bought second hand from other dealers. I had a few Beta machines obtained from various sources some part exchanges some obtained as mail order returns. I had a few out on rental and also sold a few. We also repaired them on a chargeable basis. I didn't get involved with V2000 beyond a few repairs. As far as sales or rental was concerned I found that Beta wasn't too popular due to the limited range of hire tapes available. V2000 being even worse.
Visionhire rented the V2000 they must have had persuasive salesmen!

I surprising amount of friends I had in the trade however went for Betemax and some even for V2000 . Making me think that if you weren't too bothered about renting films there were better systems than VHS.
Eventually though of course VHS won the day with even Philips going over to VHS.
So out of interest I thought I would ask. What machine did you go for and why? If you first went for a non VHS did you change later on?
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Last edited by slidertogrid; 4th Mar 2024 at 12:26 am.
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Old 4th Mar 2024, 12:46 am   #2
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

My first VCR was a Beta but I should have bought a VHS which I subsequently did. At its standard speed, Beta had a better picture than VHS but record time was way too short for feature length movies. Sony had to slow down tape speed to fit a feature length movie but that sacrificed the
Beta picture quality advantage over VHS. For whatever reasons buyers went with the larger VHS format. I still have my Sony SL-C9 Betamax which for its era had some advanced features.
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Old 4th Mar 2024, 1:06 am   #3
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

I always preferred VHS mainly due to it being easier to repair. The system always seemed more widespread than Beta or V2000 and spares availability again was generally better. Performance wise Beta was better but all things considered VHS was best. My favourite VHS machines were from JVC/Ferguson, Panasonic, Sharp and some Hitachi which all had good quality decks and equally good electronics. I would say the easiest to service were the JVC/Fergusons. Whilst I liked V2000 machines, they seemed excessively complicated and the early machines were quite bulky though attractively styled. My vote therefore goes to VHS.

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Old 4th Mar 2024, 3:56 am   #4
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

Hi Rich

At the risk of being a pedant, the poll asks which system you had first however you then ask for a preference in your thread.

In my case, a top loader, Betamax was first (a faulty, inherited machine that had quickly remedied, dry joints) so I would poll that way however VHS became the preference because of rental availability. Always thought the quality was better on Betamax though.

Aside, I seem to recall that heads wore quickly on Betamax because the tape was always in contact with the head. Did I dream that up?

Cheers, Tim
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Old 4th Mar 2024, 4:49 am   #5
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

Originally Posted by EmleyTim View Post

...Aside, I seem to recall that heads wore quickly on Betamax because the tape was always in contact with the head. Did I dream that up?

Cheers, Tim
Interestingly, at least early Sanyo Betacord models retracted the tape from the head path in fast wind modes.

On the other hand, later VHS models followed Betamax design, leaving the tape fully engaged with the heads in all modes. Possibly this VHS design change was partly a sales strategy to match the faster response to user commands of the 'always loaded' Betamax tape system.

The 'always loaded' system must have wore out tape path components faster, but by how much is an interesting question.
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Old 4th Mar 2024, 5:22 am   #6
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

I felt that V2000 was technically the best system and (having been inside VCRs of all 3 formats) the Philips machines were well designed.

I'll never forgive my father for insisting on buying a VHS machine back in the day....
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Old 4th Mar 2024, 7:28 am   #7
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

Originally Posted by EmleyTim View Post
Hi Rich

Aside, I seem to recall that heads wore quickly on Betamax because the tape was always in contact with the head. Did I dream that up?

Cheers, Tim
Around 1980 one manufacturer, I think Toshiba, the head life of their BetaMax machines was quoted at 1000 hours, if the customer equally split the use between record and playback that would be 500 hours of watching the recordings.
VHS machines seemed to fare better, I think Hitachi quoted 5000 hours but that would be a few years later say 1985.
All from memory so happy to be corrected.

My first machine was a VHS around the middle 1980’s, BetaMax seemed to be out of favour by then.
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Old 4th Mar 2024, 9:21 am   #8
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

I was a typically impoverished student in the mid 80's and all I could afford was a Sony SL8000 Beta machine - cost me £15 if I recall. Turns out the heads were duff but I learned (the hard way) not to twiddle all the guides! I did get a picture of sorts and latterly I got another machine, also with duff heads. I replaced the heads on that one (eccentricity by eye!) and even borrowed a 'scope from work (had left Poly by then) do do all the setup.

I also had some V2000 machines from the "junk market" in Preston where I was doing electronics at the Poly. While I ended up using the Beta machine for feeding the TV sound through my hi-fi I did use the V200 machines for a while to record TV. Have machines of all formats in my collection now...

I did rent tapes for a bit but I used to forget to take them back and end up paying a lot. Also the quality of some of the more popular tapes left a good deal to be desired - worn out!

I used to buy music video tapes from the "Music and Video Exchange" in London, they had branches on Notting Hill Gate and in Camden Town - we had a place in London at the time due to my father's work. Happy days...!

Last edited by bobbyball; 4th Mar 2024 at 9:37 am. Reason: Hopeless typing!
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Old 4th Mar 2024, 9:45 am   #9
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

Using the latest generation, high quality video tapes the best picture in my opinion was Philips 1700. It had the highest writing speed of all the systems but at the time of its release, video tape technology had a long way to go. BTW, I tried the high quality tape in all the systems with great results but 1700 was the best, almost off air quality. May I suggest adding it to the poll? Then I can vote! It was the first system I had.
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Old 4th Mar 2024, 10:04 am   #10
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

Where do I start?

The first video recorder was a Sanyo VTC 9300 used to record cartoons for our young children. Really, the video quality was only just good enough for cartoons even after tweaking the video expansion? adjustment. However, the machine was bulletproof, the piano keys so stiff only Mum or Dad could choose when the cartoons could be seen.

The machine would have "bit the dust" if it hadn't been used with a video camera to record the children's parties and our wedding had been recorded on the Betamax format. The chilling tale here as the wedding had been recorded in NTSC, long story for another time, but the PAL conversion was awful. Our faces were green!!

Time moved on and a Panasonic NV333 was chosen and what a machine.

The video quality was just right when watched on a 22" TV and the sound OK as well. We used it for time-shifting children and adult TV programmes and the Panasonic just carried on and on working.

Although I have a collection of Sony C7, C30 and still the old Sanyo, I seldom watch the tapes. The family video's are now on DVD and are somewhere only to be dug out when we need to be reminded of what fun we had with our children.

I guess it wasn't the format so much as being able to record our children growing up without the expense and kit required for film.

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Old 4th Mar 2024, 10:50 am   #11
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

Never a priority with us, hence or otherwise the first machine I bought was an already aging early Betamax, Sony SL-8080UB. I think Betamax must have comprehensively lost the format war by then, but we weren't looking to rent any tapes and haven't to this day, so that didn't matter. After that (though it's still with us) we had, first quite a good VHS Sony, which after two or three years began randomly switching between functions - I'd had a similar fault on a Sony cassette deck and fixed that by replacing the main logic IC, but wasn't minded to delve into a VCR - then a cheap instrument from Kwik Save wound up our video recording days.

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Old 4th Mar 2024, 10:50 am   #12
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

As a user rather than a seller or maintainer ( I never got into consumer electronics, the sector was too crowded and the profits were poor for the hassle involved) I only ever had VHS players, a couple of Ferguson ones.

Beta was never attractive because of the restricted range of content released on the platform, and V2000 had the same problem only worse!!

Despite the criticism of VHS players for providing a lower quality picture, for the average consumers it could be said that Beta and V2000 often gave no picture at all - if you couldn't rent the movie you wanted on those formats!!
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Old 4th Mar 2024, 11:27 am   #13
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Default Re: Which video system did you prefer?

The poll results aren't going to be clear because of the confusion between first or favourite in the different titles. There's no way of determining which was being voted, so there's no point going any further. Editing the titles is possible, but loses the intent of votes already cast.

Thread closed.

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