Poll – What was your first? Beta, VHS, other?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by cgw, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. cgw

    cgw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Upstate NY
    Here is the one (of 5) for the CED.
    It is how I found out about the CED (vs. laser disc).

  2. cgw

    cgw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Upstate NY
    I got my first VCR 84-85ish. I don't think my parents got one until the late 90's. They may have gone straight to DVD. (Typical for them - they did not have a color TV or a dryer until the 80's)
    My mom has been buying hallmark christmas movie DVDs - but that is a whole other topic.
  3. Whizz Kid

    Whizz Kid Forum Resident

    My first player was the Sony SL-5000 in early 1982... major life event / big investment... almost $1200. at the time, cannot imagine what we were thinking. That thing was built like a tank and weighed a ton... and it did almost nothing as far as features go... although it was the first front-loader on the market. At the same time, it was like owning a bit of magic.

    Trying to remember why we chose to go Betamax... and I think it was just that friends and family already had it and we wanted to swap tapes. My bro-in-law was one of those Beta snobs... I actually took some pleasure in him eventually being proven wrong. I never was a big movie renter... so the format going away didn’t really affect me for a long time.

    I still have another Sony (stereo) player and a box full of tapes... mostly music stuff... not sure what I’ll ever do with it.
    I’m sure I’d find the lo-rez picture quality to be pretty much unwatchable.

    I had this player stored away in its original box until just a few years ago... basically worthless, I took it to the recycler.

    The SL-5000... wired remote control not shown. :laugh:

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
  4. drpep

    drpep Whizzing and pasting and pooting through the day

    Corning, New York
    VHS. Still have it, don’t use it. Bought the day before Live Aid. $400+. Panasonic.
  5. Pete Norman

    Pete Norman Forum Resident

    Had 4 Sony Betamax at one time or another during the 80's...better pictures and better copies until super VHS appeared in the mid 90's..
  6. James Slattery

    James Slattery Forum Resident

    Long Island
    But it didn't record, so what good was it?
  7. James Slattery

    James Slattery Forum Resident

    Long Island
    The great thing about those early machines with the piano keys was that when they started putting macrovision on the pre-recorded tapes, those machines would bust through any copyguard. The copyguard tripped up the enhancer circuitry and those VCRs didn't have any enhancer circuitry.
    unclefred and gitters like this.
  8. geetar_await

    geetar_await Forum Resident

    first was VHS might've been one of those Bell & Howells. state of the art iirc, had stereo hi-fi. i heard Betamax was better but never owned one.
  9. VHS, probably bought around 1985.
  10. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    It offered better video and audio quality that video tape formats. If I remember correctly, VHS and Beta offered about 240 lines of resolution, while laserdisc offered 425 lines of resolution. NTSC television had 525 lines of resolution.
    Scooterpiety likes this.
  11. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    I was more interested in watching movies than recording anything off TV.
  12. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    I have that very same machine, I bought it at a yard sale for $5 around 1996. It still worked the last time I fired it up about 8 years ago.
    As I said earlier, I started out with an RCA Videodisc player not long after they came out in 1981. The following year I decided I wanted a VCR but really couldn't afford one, so I got one at a local rent to own place for $25 down. It was some off-brand I can't remember. When I read the terms I realized I would end up paying twice the sale price, so I returned it a month later.
    I finally bought one in 1985, an RCA top-loader display unit on closeout for $250. I gave it to my Mom when I bought a new RCA stereo model about 10 years later
    Steve-Boston likes this.
  13. Hadean75

    Hadean75 Forum Moonlighter


    We had a VHS players and tapes for years before slowly moving over to DVDs and then Blu-Ray (depending on availability).

    We lost the VHS stuff in a hurricane and never replaced it. We still have DVDs and Blu-Rays, but we have also started using streaming services more.

    Fun Fact (to me anyways lol):
    When my mother was pregnant with me (in 1987) her doctor put her on bedrest for a time, so to help keep her occupied, my father went out and rented a VHS player and a few movies (the one movie they specifically remember renting is Ghostbusters). Now, I realize that some of you may not be surprised or shocked at renting a VHS player as you were around then, but that revelation blew me away lol. The idea of renting the player as well as the tapes just sounded odd to me lol. When I was a kid, I don't remember not having a VHS player. In fact, I remember watching my dad's Star Trek movie franchise tapes (from The Motion Picture to Generations at that time) and his original trilogy Star Wars movie tapes over and over and over again because I was so fascinated them. I imagine today's kids feel the same way with streaming versus having physical media lol.
  14. Django

    Django Forum Resident

    Dublin, Ireland
    Which did you get first?

    When did you get it?
    My dad bought it for the house around 1990. I was the only one who used it much. I went through the manual learning how to program it. I recorded loads of films, music ect...

    Do you still have a player and media?
    I have 2 VHS players. Still have loads of old brit horrors & other stuff I recorded in the early 90s.
    I can't I use them a lot, but every now and then.
  15. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    it was mind-blowing being able to time shift ones favorite TV shows, movies etc...HBO was a great source for uncut movies years ago...
  16. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    never got into buying prerecorded VHS Tapes...too expensive and I felt something was coming down the line that would be much better...I did not fall into Laser Disc! DVD was it at the time...
  17. Marc 74

    Marc 74 Senior Member

    West Germany,NRW
    My own first one was VHS but the very first format I used for years was my parents Video 2000.
  18. seacliffe301

    seacliffe301 Forum Resident

    My first VCR was purchased in Jan. ‘81, a Sony SLHF-5800 Betamax. It was their flagship VCR, I got one on sale for$999. What a machine. It’s the more feature laden version of that 5400 that’s in that format wars video posted here earlier. Built like a freakin’ tank.
    6 months later, I bought a second matching machine on sale for $599. (If I had only waited).
    Those decks served me well, with never any mechanical or electronic failures of any kind. Truth be told, they were only retired once I embraced Beta Hi-fi. To this day I still own a healthy SLHF-900, for many years another flagship machine.

    Say what you will about Sony’s marketing, they blew it by not allowing the licensing of their product to other manufacturers. As for the VCR wars based on the merits of the quality of their product, Betamax won hands down. I’ve never had a VHS machine that matched picture or sound quality to that of a healthy Sony Betamax. Same can said for build quality.
  19. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Norfolk, UK
    Dad turned up at home one day in summer 1980 with a Ferguson Videostar Deluxe VHS machine. I was about 10 at the time and had no clue about this stuff but I was mind blown that you could record TV and watch it again when you wanted.

    A real tank of a machine and it lasted years. I think my Dad's last VHS machine weighed a tenth of what that did.

    I remember it split the family down the middle a little with how much it cost. As it was a big luxury purchase for the time. I think we were the first family around locally to have one.
  20. johnnyyen

    johnnyyen Senior Member

    Thanks for this. I couldn’t actually remember the detail of the VHS/Betamax struggle for dominance, only that VHS was tipped to win.
  21. Nipper

    Nipper His Master's Voice

    We got Betamax around 83/84.
  22. mace

    mace Forum Resident

    A JVC vhs player bought around 1984. First DVD was a Sony DVP-S3000 bought in 1997. Great unit and still have it.
  23. Thermionic Dude

    Thermionic Dude Forum Resident

    Sears "Betavision" in about 1981. Made in Japan (not sure of the OEM), and still works great! (Of course it hasn't been used regularly since the Reagan administration, but impressive nonetheless.)
  24. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Oregon Coast
    VHS, Beta didn't do well around here, the rental shops were full of vhs and very little betamax. I think that perhaps the first tapes and player I rented was to watch Woodstock and the Jimi Hendrix film.

  25. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery picture member

    I've always been a fan of Sony products, and when VCR's were being introduced, I thought I really wanted a Betamax.

    My parents wanted to surprise me with a gift and were swayed by the fact that a VHS tape could hold a full movie, and could use a slower speed for even more time per tape, so I was gifted with a Motorola VHS recorder.

    I came to appreciate all I could do with the VHS that a friend with Beta could not. I'm sure that the simple fact of speed and length of tape is what ultimately sank the Beta format.

    Oh, I no longer own the original machine, but I do own two semi-working Sony VHS decks, and some original tapes. That collection is whittling down over the years.

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